James Franklin has time and time again proven his chops on the recruiting trail. With several key targets on campus this past weekend, we recap how it all went down.
Doug Nester made the trip to Happy Valley, much to the dismay of Ohio State coaches. The previous weekend, the Buckeye commit had officially visited OSU and the coaches surely had hoped he would shut down his recruitment. That was not the case, however. Nester did go through with the official visit and the Penn State coaches reportedly put together a great visit for the blue-chip interior lineman. All that’s left for Nester is an official visit to Virginia Tech this coming weekend. It appears this is more of a PSU-OSU battle (where have we seen this before?), but Virginia Tech is not to be taken lightly. It’s tough to project where he will ultimately end up, but the tide seems to be shifting towards the Nittany Lions with this late visit. In another battle with the Buckeyes, Penn State also hosted Dawand Jones. The 6’8” behemoth made the trip, but it feels like Ohio State has already built such a comfortable lead and it’s not clear if the Lions’ staff did enough to close the gap.
The far more likely option, Penn State must feel good about where it stands with Florida receiver TJ Jones as they look to add another receiver to the class. The main competition for Jones is Indiana as of now, assuming no other schools try to get him to visit this coming weekend. Getting the last official visit and offering a more high-profile opportunity, Jones appears to be Penn State’s to lose. Our own Matt de Bear put in a Crystal Ball to PSU for Jones.
The staff also tried to make some headway along the defensive line. Both Jaquaze Sorrells and Joseph Darkwa were in town for official visits over the weekend. The staff appears to have made Sorrells a priority and with both Franklin and Ja’Juan Seider chipping away, it’s tough to say the Lions are out of it. However, South Carolina was the presumed leader heading into the weekend and it’s unclear if enough was done to close the gap and/or take the lead. Time will tell. As for Darkwa, the German native has announced he will announce his college decision this Friday, February 1st. It has to be a good sign that he is scheduling his decision immediately following the end of his visit and Penn State will have gotten the last visit unless he plans a last-minute trip elsewhere.
Had an amazing time at @PennStateFball this past weekend!— Joseph Appiah Darkwa (@DarkwaAppiah) January 28, 2019
Really felt the love of Happy Valley!
Met some great and hard working people!
Thanks for having us and giving my family and I this amazing experience!
Big shout out to everyone behind the scenes #WeAre pic.twitter.com/ltJWao8x6s
Daequan Hardy took his official visit in hopes of earning a last-second offer from the Nittany Lions. Unfortunately, it’s tough to see the staff taking a flyer on a prospect who would be heading into college south of 160 lbs. Last but not least, Hakeem Beamon finally took his official visit and he was the only commit/signee of Penn State on campus over the weekend.
Taking care of the official visitors wasn't the staff's only duty this weekend. They also handed out several scholarship offers.
Isaiah Raikes, 2020 DT out of Richland, NJ.
Cameron Martinez, 2020 ATH from Muskegon, MI
Xavion Alford, 2020 Safety from Pearland, TX
Ian Stewart, 2020 WR from Rockwood, MI
James Gillespie, 2021 DT from Woodbridge, VA
All Glory To God Excited To Announce That I've Received My 1st Offer From Penn State University Thru @BallCoach34! Thank you @PennStateFball @coachseider for believing in me! #WEARE #WeBuiltDifferent pic.twitter.com/Yqf2g9aO3j— James Gillespie (@JamesGillespieR) January 24, 2019
Joel Williams, 2020 WR from Baton Rouge, LA
Reggie Grimes, 2020 DE from Mount Juliet, TN