Penn State is starting to create new momentum in its 2015 recruiting class with leads on a number of blue-chip recruits and a recent commitment from three-star quarterback Tommy Stevens. The Nittany Lions have now secured 19 verbal commitments to date and lay claim to a class that ranks No. 9 nationally by Scout.com.
Coach James Franklin’s first full class at Penn State is positioned to help in a number of key areas on the roster. Four-star offensive linemen Steven Gonzalez, Sterling Jenkins and Ryan Bates can pay future dividends on a unit that was particularly gutted by sanctions. Running backs Saquon Barkley and Andre Robinson could both be ready to contribute by the time redshirt sophomore Akeel Lynch is set to move on.
Stevens fills a void left when Brandon Wimbush de-committed and flipped to Notre Dame. Franklin flipped Stevens from his commitment to Indiana just days after the Nittany Lions beat the Hoosiers in Bloomington, securing another coveted quarterback commit with dual-threat abilities. Stevens stands at 6-4 and 200 pounds and is a tough, physical runner out of the pocket.
As crucial as it might be for Franklin to keep securing new talent, he’s in a position where protecting his current class is of utmost importance. That effort includes riding out a number of official visits four-star defensive tackle Adam McLean intends to take this winter. McLean has been unionizing force and active recruiter in the class, but he’s taking official visits to Ole Miss, Tennessee and Washington State.
So, which players represent the most crucial additions to the class? Jenkins and his upside? Robinson or Barkley, who can infuse new life into Penn State’s rushing attack? McLean and his place as the lone interior defensive lineman currently in the class?
Andrew P. Shay and Dustin Hockensmith debate those points in this week’s Keystone Sports Network podcast. Check out audio from the show in this post and get plenty more podcasts and analysis on KeystoneSportsNetwork.com and by following @KSNSportsNet on Twitter.