Penn State got a jolt of energy to its recruiting efforts last weekend when the Nittany Lions put on a good show in front of a White Out crowd at Beaver Stadium. While Penn State lost to No. 13 Ohio State, 31-24, in two overtimes, coach James Franklin showcased an elite defense and raucous home environment to over 100 blue-chip high school recruits on the sideline.
Among them were four-star offensive lineman Matthew Burrell, three-star quarterback Tommy Stevens and four-star linebacker Ricky DeBerry. They joined a large number of committed prospects highlighted by Adam McLean and Sterling Jenkins who created a fast bond and contributed to a visit that Burrell told Scout.com was “absolutely outstanding.”
Penn State has endured a number of recent setbacks on the recruiting trail, which created the perception of negative momentum for Franklin and his staff. Brandon Wimbush flipped to Notre Dame. Jordan Whitehead chose Pitt over Penn State and West Virginia. Adam McLean said he intended to take official visits elsewhere.
A home showcase against Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes didn’t completely alleviate those concerns, but it did start to get the ball rolling in the right direction again. The same home environment in a quadruple-overtime win over No. 18 Michigan led to three quick verbal commitments in just 11 days. Can Franklin parlay the OSU game into similar success?
It’s possible, and the news that Burrell, a coveted and versatile lineman, would be announcing his college choice next week could be a sign of optimism for the Nittany Lions. Stevens, an Indiana commit, is also getting the full-court press from Penn State. Could he flip and fill Wimbush’s slot in the 2015 class?
Ross Tucker, Andrew P. Shay and Dustin Hockensmith debated those topics and more in this week’s Penn State recruiting segment on the Keystone Sports Network. Check out audio from the show below and get plenty more on KeystoneSportsNetwork.com and by following @KSNSportsNet on Twitter.