"Earlier and earlier" is the trend in college football recruiting. We just witnessed the first early signing day, and this year, prospects will be able to schedule earlier official visits to their top schools.
So it's no surprise that a full 25 percent of Penn State's 2018 recruiting class graduated high school and started their collegiate careers early.
The benefits to the student-athlete are obvious. They get a full semester in the weight room, an opportunity to ease into the grind of college academics and experience a full spring practice cycle. For James Franklin, several of his early-arriving pupils could be in line for playing time, so getting them up to speed is critical for the 2018 season.
With all that in mind, we take a look at the group of new Penn Staters.
It started out innocently enough over the weekend. TE Zack Kuntz, LBs Nick Tarburton and Jesse Luketa, and DBs Trent Gordon and Isaiah Humphries all got one last visit with their families before setting up their dorms and class schedules.
The first of our early enrollees have arrived home in Happy Valley! @CoachWFlaherty will be getting them settled in all weekend. If you see them around campus, give them a ! #WeAre pic.twitter.com/LcLtyTMKBN
— Penn State Football (@PennStateFball) January 6, 2018
— Penn State Football (@PennStateFball) January 7, 2018
The only missing early enrollee was DE/LB Micah Parsons, who was at the Army All-American Game in San Antonio. But Parsons let everyone know he arrived late Sunday.
Finally home!! Thank you Penn State!!! #weare ready to work !
— BLESSEDMVP (@Micah_parsons23) January 7, 2018
Some elder teammates/alums decided not to let the cubs get too comfortable.
Winter Workouts https://t.co/KG5nYxrRTk
— Christian Campbell (@chrisrocck1) January 6, 2018
— LaMont Wade (@Goony_38) January 6, 2018
Undeterred, our young lions decided to show everyone they were starting off on the right foot and serious about their educations. Franklin has been known to call out kids (via Twitter) for not sitting in front of class.
— Zack Kuntz (@zackkuntz_717) January 9, 2018
— TG (@_TRENTG_) January 10, 2018
— Nick Tarburton (@NickTarburton40) January 10, 2018
— Jesse Luketa (@OttawasVeryOwn) January 9, 2018
Of course, Franklin is retweeting all of these.
Live the STANDARD https://t.co/ahvhCqH6f9
— James Franklin (@coachjfranklin) January 9, 2018
But all-time receptions leader and departing senior DaeSean Hamilton knows the truth.
Let them winter workouts start.... they gonna be in the back catching zs
— DaeSean Hamilton (@SkeeterMills__) January 9, 2018