Penn State Football

State College standout Tommy Friberg flips from Michigan to Penn State football

A look at James Franklin’s recruiting success at Penn State

Since become the program's head coach in 2014, James Franklin has had plenty of success on the recruiting trail for Penn State.
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Since become the program's head coach in 2014, James Franklin has had plenty of success on the recruiting trail for Penn State.

State College’s Tommy Friberg is staying home.

Friberg, who committed to Michigan as a preferred walk-on quarterback in February, flipped to Penn State as a PWO tight end over the weekend, Little Lions coach Matt Lintal confirmed to the CDT early Saturday morning. (Mike Poorman of was the first to report the story late Friday.)

The decision isn’t totally surprising. Friberg was seen on the sidelines at last weekend’s Blue-White Game and greeted Penn State head coach James Franklin at midfield with a smile on his face. Friberg — a Penn State fan at birth — went to games at Beaver Stadium as a kid and once dreamed of playing for the Nittany Lions.

“Ever since I was little, I was wearing a Penn State jersey,” Friberg told the CDT in February. That’s why his commitment to Michigan in the first place was intriguing to say the least.

After being recruited by Patriot League and Ivy League programs for much of his senior season, bigger schools came calling in January. Akron staff members visited State College, but never offered a scholarship. Ohio State head coach Ryan Day wanted Friberg to visit Columbus in the winter to convince him on a PWO opportunity, but that didn’t interest the quarterback. Franklin and the Nittany Lions offered a PWO on Jan. 15, and Friberg visited campus on Jan. 30.

But Friberg spurned the Nittany Lions. Instead, he went with Jim Harbaugh, Josh Gattis and the Wolverines following an early February visit in Ann Arbor.

“I fell in love with Michigan,” Friberg said at the time. “I loved the feel. I loved the tradition. I love the school itself. It’s really competitive academically. And I could just see myself there.”

When Friberg picked Michigan’s PWO over Penn State’s, former State High teammate Keaton Ellis — an early enrollee with the Nittany Lions — was “bummed.” Now, Friberg will join Ellis and and walk-on lineman Collin De Boef as former Little Lions on Penn State’s 2019 roster.

It’s unclear what role Friberg will play at tight end. Sophomore star Pat Freiermuth is the clear starter in 2019, Nick Bowers is an effective backup when healthy, and Zack Kuntz — the No. 4 tight end in the 2018 recruiting class — is primed to make an impact after redshirting last year.

But whatever Friberg accomplishes at Beaver Stadium, he’ll be doing it two miles from Memorial Stadium — close to home.