January 2014: In his introductory press conference, newly hired Penn State head coach James Franklin proclaimed that he would dominate the state. He went on to say that he would dominate the region when it came to recruiting student-athletes to Happy Valley.
June 1792: Kentucky County, which broke off from Virginia, is granted statehood. Just the same as their territorial predecessors, the residents of the new state refer to themselves as citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. They are the fourth such state to use the term in their state Constitution along with the previously mentioned Virginia, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.
James Franklin's dominance in Pennsylvania recruiting has been shown time and time again over the past four years. It has been talked about on this blog at length. But he has also left his mark in some of the other Commonwealths of this nation. Perhaps a new motto is in order.
Blue chip commits since 2014: 9
The last week has been especially bountiful for prospects coming from the Commonwealth which housed the first permanent English settlement in America. In the last week, Penn State has garnered commitments from the No. 1 and No. 2 2019 prospects from Virginia in linebacker Brandon Smith and running back Devyn Ford. They also currently hold the edge for the fourth-ranked recruit from the state, athlete Cam'Ron Kelly, although space is getting tight in the defensive backfield. All this comes one year after grabbing two of Virginia's top three prospects: Ricky Slade and Nana Asiedu. And while not a blue-chipper, the top returning quarterback in the Big Ten, Trace McSorley, also hails from the Old Dominion. The state's top program, Virginia Tech, has taken notice at Penn State's infiltration into the state and will have to hold off the Nittany Lions for athlete Chris Tyree, a top prospect in 2020.
Blue chip commits since 2014: 1
The Bay State is not a high school football hotbed, having produced only two blue-chip recruits in the past five recruiting cycles according to the 247Sports Composite, but the Lions do possess 50 percent of them in 2018 signee Pat Freiermuth. In addition, Penn State earned the services of 2016 No. 1 prospect Danny Dalton and 2014 No. 2
state commonwealth prospect Johnathan Thomas. Franklin has gone to New England when players are there and has proven he can grab the state's most talented when the mood strikes him.
Blue chip commits since 2014: 0
The Bluegrass State has only averaged a little over two blue-chip prospects over the past five years (11 in total), but Penn State has not really ventured into Kentucky when it comes to recruiting (i.e. we're not talking about the Lloyd Tubman situation from 2014). Talent levels have increased recently, though, with 2019 prospects currently committed to Michigan, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, and Alabama.
Will James Franklin take the #DominateTheCommonwealths strategy to heart in the future as the talent pool gets deeper? If he reads the blog, he just might so a new hashtag can accompany The Good Tweet. You know what Kentucky?