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James Franklin makes major impact during 4-star target’s campus visit
Florida DB Jordan Miner journeyed to Penn State for the first time Saturday, accompanied by his father, John Miner. The latter detailed their experience in Happy Valley, where Nittany Lions coaches were occupied with an on-campus camp.
Miner, considered a 4-star prospect and top-30 cornerback in 247Sports’ composite 2018 rankings, didn’t compete in the event. However, he and his father did observe Penn State defensive assistants Tim Banks (safeties) and Terry Smith (cornerbacks) serve up some lessons.
“As a parent, I like that they were teachers out there,” John told Land of 10. “They corrected mistakes and built kids up.”
Jordan, a 6-foot-1, 177-pound rising senior at Wiregrass Ranch (Zephyrhills, Fla.) High School, previously explained that he routinely speaks with Smith.
“I talk to Coach Smith at least once a week,” he said. “He sees me playing all over the defense: at cornerback, nickel and some safety. He also sees me playing special teams on kick return and punt return. There’s going to be a solid chance I can come in and play right way.”
Miner included the Nittany Lions on a list of favorites on April 22, despite his lack of a visit to State College. This Penn State trip provided him with an opportunity to verify initial interest.
“I just want to go up there and make sure that the love is real,” he said in May. “Get a whole feel for the campus and see if I could really see myself playing there.”
That mission was accomplished Saturday, according to his father.
“I’ve been on a few of these trips with Jordan and they’re normally about 4-5 hours max,” John said. “But we were actually on campus for 10 hours, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and it was an engaging experience the entire time. They kept things interesting and answered any questions we had. I was very impressed.”
— Uno (@Jordanminer01) June 3, 2017
The Miners examined residence halls and football facilities, along with an important stop at the academic center. Jordan plans to pursue a degree in marketing.
A well-balanced day left John with a positive impression, and coach James Franklin helped separate the experience from other university visits.
“What made it unique for me is Coach Franklin — how engaged he was throughout the day,” John said. “I was surprised, as a head coach, that Coach Franklin gave an entire presentation on the university, unlike other schools where it might be a grad assistant or a recruiting assistant.”
This personal touch added up throughout the day, making it clear that Miner is a priority for Penn State in the 2018 recruiting cycle.
“Coach Franklin kept checking in on us throughout the day,” John said. “No matter where we were, he would pop in. I love the way he handled the process.”
The Miners returned to Florida on Sunday, and Jordan quickly joined his 7-on-7 squad, Team Tampa, for a multi-school tour across the Southeast. Destinations include Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
Aside from this whirlwind road trip, Miner may travel across the country for a visit to Oregon this summer. Several members of the Ducks staff pursued him when they worked at USF under coach Willie Taggart, so there are compelling connections in place.
As for another trip to Penn State, and potentially one of the official visit variety?
John didn’t hesitate there.
“Definitely. For sure,” he said.
Proximity may not be on the Nittany Lions’ side here, but Franklin & Co. is a true contender for the coveted Sunshine State defender.
Nittany Lions offer a pair of 2019 passers
Penn State carries a prized quarterback commit in its 2018 class (more on him in a moment) but this industry demands forward-thinking at each position. The Nittany Lions spent much of the spring piecing together a board of targets for the 2019 cycle, and that process continued this past weekend when two rising junior quarterbacks landed offers.
The first arrived Saturday when Iowa product Max Duggan attended camp in State College. This 6-2, 175-pound prospect expanded his collegiate horizons with the trip and shared some thoughts with Land of 10 colleague Chris Heady on Monday.
“It was the first time I ever went out to the East Coast and I got a tour of campus, got to talk to coaches, a tour of the facilities,” he said. “Their offense fits me and I really liked it. I loved it. I love the coaches out there, I love the family environment, and the city is great. It’s surrounded by Penn State football.”
The offer came courtesy of Franklin, who shared his vision for Penn State players during their conversation.
“He told me everything he expects out of his players and what he expects when you come into his program,” Duggan said. “And he told me it’s not about making it to the NFL, that’s just a bonus. It’s about getting you here to graduate and be the best man you can be.”
Considered the No. 5 pro-style passer in 247Sports’ 2019 rankings, the Lewis Central (Council Bluffs, Iowa) High standout tallied 29 total touchdowns as a sophomore. He claimed a Nebraska offer Monday, adding to a Big Ten offer sheet that also includes Iowa and Minnesota.
Penn State also expanded its early 2019 quarterback search to North Carolina. Charlotte Christian School prospect Garrett Shrader announced the development Sunday:
— Garrett Shrader (@GarrettShrader6) June 4, 2017
Shrader remains unranked by 247Sports, but his size and production have attracted interest from several schools.
The 6-5, 190-pound passer completed 65 percent of attempts for 2,564 yards and 29 touchdowns as a sophomore, per MaxPreps. He added 615 yards and 5 scores on the ground in 12 games.
Penn State follows East Carolina, Louisville, Missouri and Pittsburgh as programs to pull the trigger on an offer.
Another Penn State pledge is headed to The Opening
Nittany Lions QB commit Justin Fields joined exclusive company Monday morning when the 2017 Elite 11 class was unveiled. The 6-3, 221-pound playmaker spent Friday though Sunday competing at the Elite 11 finals in Los Angeles.
Fields, a 5-star recruit listed No. 6 overall and No. 2 among quarterbacks in 247Sports’ 2018 composite rankings, found out his fate via a video released in collaboration with Bleacher Report:
— Bleacher Report CFB (@BR_CFB) June 5, 2017
Fields adds to an Elite 11 fraternity that includes incoming Penn State freshman Sean Clifford and all-time Nittany Lions passing leader Christian Hackenberg. He also punched his ticket to The Opening, an annual prospect showcase held June 28-July 3 in Beaverton, Ore., at Nike’s world headquarters.
Be sure to read our Monday story on Fields’ Elite 11 experience for full analysis and a look at what it means for him moving forward.