Recruiting Q&A (08.05.16): Will Past Targets Return to Penn State's Doorstep?

By Nick Polak on August 5, 2016 at 9:00 am
2017 DT Fred Hansard
Isaiah Hole, 247Sports

Before we get into the Q&A, please leave a comment after you've finished reading through all of these, letting me know whether or not you like the Q&A in this format, or if you'd rather see me answer questions on the forum posts where the questions are left. Thanks in advance. Now, let's get to some recruiting talk.

After Franklins decision (and hopefully verbal to PSU), should the expectation be that we won't get any additional commitments until after the season starts, or are there other recruits who may commit? -Drea1020

It's certainly possible, but while most assume that this is the point in the summer where kids start to turn their attention to their high schools teams, there are a handful of kids every year who realize that they'd rather be committed going into their senior seasons, whatever their reasoning may be. For others, their recruitments aren't following specific timelines, so it's possible that someone wakes up one day with full clarity regarding their decision. So while it would seem that Penn State could be stuck in "wait-and-see" mode until recruits start making it back to campus for big regular season games.

Which player from the recent wave of commitments are you most excited about and why?

Is there any possibility PSU picks up a surprise commitment from a top recruit such as Swift or Webb, or are we pretty much out of it for those guys?

Can you recall a recruit with a name better than Mac Hippenhammer? -TheSteelion

1. I think they're all exciting players who have the chance to be special players in Happy Valley, but I'll say Brailyn Franklin. I trust this staff completely when it comes to discovering talent, so players like Franklin who were discovered in the camp setting, will always hold my interest.

2. It's very possible that Swift and Webb commit to Georgia and Georgia or Alabama, respectively, but there's no doubt that they'll be watching Penn State closely in 2016. A more explosive offense and more interesting team overall would go a long way towards grabbing one or both of them.

3. Off the top of my head, the only one that even comes close is 2016 Northwestern commit, Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman. Or maybe Texas A&M receiver Speedy Noil. I was always a fan of that one.

It seems like new coaches often benefit from a recruiting bump (see Maryland and Rutgers this year). Is there a sense among Penn State's current targets that they need to see on-field performance from the coaching staff as currently formulated? Can we get to a top 20 class this year? Am I kidding myself in thinking that if we see Moorhead hang a double-nickle on Pitt that we will see some high level players commit? -D_N_G_

The new coach recruiting bump is very much a real thing, yes. No matter what school you are coaching at, it's very easy to recruit by just talking about what you want your game plan and team to look like, rather than actually having tape to go to (particularly for places like Maryland and Rutgers who haven't played the best football in the world recently).

That being said, I have definitely heard from multiple recruits saying that there are a lot of kids who are curious about the new direction Penn State seems like it's headed in, but want to see it in action first.

Top-20 class is a possibility, but top-25/30 is more likely where we stand right now.

One game against Pitt won't convince a recruit to come to Penn State on its own, but if that game sends the two teams off in different directions for the remainder of their seasons, it may be able to be looked back on and determined as a turning point for many.

Realistically, it seems we're all willing to acknowledge that James Franklin is more of a recruiter-in-chief than hands-on head coach. If we're grading him solely on recruiting, what are the metrics and grading criteria moving forward?  Is a top-10 class achievable? Is a class outside the top-25 unacceptable?  What's the realistic best- and worst-case scenarios, and how should that affect how we evaluate Franklin? -Devon

Personally, I'm not willing to acknowledge that, because I've heard far too many praises of Coach Franklin as an on-field coach, not to mention his success at Vanderbilt, where football goes to die. If he was truly only a recruiter, he wouldn't be at Penn State right now. No school would pay that much money to someone who only has value in one area of the head coaching job. Pulling in top-25 classes every year is an extremely impressive feat for any school, especially one that has spent a good amount of time out of the polls recently. Good recruiting leads to on-field results, which leads to better recruiting and better on-field results, and so on and so on. If Franklin can simply continue what he's doing and continue recruiting talented players, things will work out just fine.

Is there one recruit that may not be on the forefront of PSU recruiting, but you could see ending up picking the Lions when all is said and done? -PSU4Ever

I'm going to go with a bit of a wild card pick here and choose someone that was previously n the forefront of PSU recruiting, but has since receded- Fred Hansard.

After receiving his scholarship offer from Penn State, Hansard tweeted out a picture of it. Previously, Hansard was having a little bit of trouble with his schoolwork to the point where it looked like it may hurt his available selection of schools. It appears as though he's off to a great start to his senior year of high school, though, which could lead him to once again become one of Penn State's primary targets.

Aside from Wade, who do you see as the most important/must get recruit we can land this cycle? -NeverPunt

Instead of a singular player, Penn State needs to grab at least two defensive tackles in the 2017 recruiting class. Whether that ends up being Elijah Conliffe, Hansard, Donovan Jeter, Dayln Wade-Perry or someone else is yet to be seen. However, those guys are certainly a part of the "can't miss" list.

With the recent success that PSU has had with churning out high quality DT's, why the difficulty on the recruiting trail at this position? -PSUinFLA

Sometimes, all you can say is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

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