Many blue and white fans have gotten caught up in the recent hype around James Franklin’s 2015 recruiting class being ranked #1 in the country, or at least in the top two or three, by different recruiting sources. I admit it turned my head.
While this success should not be downplayed, fans would do well to keep it in perspective. And not get hopes too high for Franklin’s first Penn State team this fall. I say this for several reasons.
- The recruiting class is for 2015. None of these players will be on the field this year.
- It is a recruiting class that has given verbal commitments. None of these will become binding until next February.
- The 2014 team will labor under severe scholarship restrictions which will mean an ever greater depth problem than we saw on the field last year.
- The offensive line and linebacker positions are particularly thin, with largely unknown and unproven players filling the #2 slots on the depth chart.
- Even the top players, QB Christian Hackenberg, the running back trio, tight ends, some D linemen and D backs, will be playing under a new regime, some for the third in their college careers. There will be an adjustment period.
Franklin seems to be a very positive guy, who kept most of Bill O’Brien’s recruits, and inherits the nucleus of a good team. He seems as though he’ll get the guys to play hard each Saturday. But, on some Saturdays, maybe five or six, that may not be good enough this year.
Here’s hoping the scholarship limits continue being lifted at an accelerated pace, and the bowl bans goes away as soon as this year. That will help. But all Nittany Lion faithful should understand the scope of the challenge Franklin faces. He takes over a program in worse shape than the one O’Brien inherited. That program was in shellshock, but still had four full recruiting classes of mostly top notch players.
That’s no so now. Remember: patience is a virtue.Read More