A look at James Franklin’s recruiting success at Penn State
It’s been a week to forget for Penn State’s recruiting efforts.
Four-star 2020 cornerback Josh Moten left the Nittany Lions’ class on Thursday afternoon, re-opening his recruitment one day after four-star offensive tackle Aaryn Parks did the same and four days after four-star blocker Grant Toutant flipped to Ohio State.
Prior to Toutant’s decision, Penn State ranked No. 10 nationally, according to 247 Sports. Now, the Nittany Lions have fallen all the way to No. 20, behind South Carolina, Georgia Tech, NC State, Ole Miss and more.
How has this happened? Well, there’s a common denominator with Toutant, Parks and now Moten: All three feel they committed too early, which is something Franklin has time and time again preached against doing.
Moten, a star at National Christian Academy (Md.) and the No. 31 cornerback in the country, said in a statement that he “pulled the trigger too fast” on deciding his destination. “I didn’t equally give some of the universities that have been recruiting me an equal chance,” the No. 13 player in Maryland added.
Parks offered the same reasoning in a statement on Wednesday, saying he made his decision “off of emotions.” As for Toutant, he was a three-star prospect when he chose Penn State back in November — becoming the first member of the Nittany Lions’ 2020 class. Since then, he earned a fourth star and received offers from Michigan State, Auburn and Ohio State before ultimately flipping to the Buckeyes.
Franklin said in December 2018, “Once you shake my hand, we’re engaged, and there’s no more dating, no more flirting.” But with social media and the recent introduction of official visits in the summer, Franklin’s push to eliminate decommitments is unrealistic in the current recruiting climate.
It’s happening across the country. According to 247 Sports, 37 prospects have decommitted from Power 5 schools in the 2020 cycle already. Oklahoma and LSU experienced four, while Tennessee and Auburn dealt with two.
So the Nittany Lions aren’t alone. It’s just jarring to see three players leave in a five-day span.
“Now everyone is going on official visits and getting love all over the country, and they want to be able to do those things. It’s changed,” Franklin said Wednesday afternoon at the Lasch Building. “There are going to be ups and downs (in recruiting), there’s going to be different storylines that pop up. But like always, we’re going to stay positive, work through it and continue to develop the players we have and recruit to create as much competition on the roster as we possibly can.”