James Franklin Dominated the State in 2018 Recruiting

By Matthew Filipovits on December 21, 2017 at 7:40 am
Sep 9, 2017; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin leads his team on the field prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

When James Franklin was introduced as Penn State's head coach, he made waves by saying he intended to "Dominate the State" in terms of recruiting. In his first four cycles, he certainly pulled some great in-state talent to Happy Valley, but his work locking down Pennsylvania in 2018 was simply dominant.

The lone five-star player in Pennsylvania, Micah Parsons, is a Nittany Lion. Of the eight four-star players in the Keystone State, half are Nittany Lions. All in all, five of the top ten players in the state will play for James Franklin.

Parsons is the highest-rated recruit Franklin has ever signed and the second-highest recruit in Penn State history, behind only Derrick Williams. Despite pushes from Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Georgia, Franklin was able to ensure Pennsylvania's top player stayed home.

At that introductory press conference, Franklin also said he considers New Jersey and the DMV area in-state. Guess what? He managed to pull some serious talent from those places, too.

Two of Virginia's top three players, Ricky Slade and Nana Asiedu, officially became Nittany Lions on Wednesday, while the No. 1 recruit in New Jersey, Justin Shorter, also made it official. And Franklin may not be done in the Garden State, with Jayson Oweh still on the team's radar.

Franklin has long been lauded as a fantastic recruiter, but this is the first season he put together a class that turned heads nationwide. Franklin has made Penn State the premier destination for big-time recruits in and around Pennsylvania. He still has some work to do to catch up with Meyer and the Buckeyes nationally, but today marked the new standard of what a Penn State recruiting class should be.