A look at James Franklin’s recruiting success at Penn State
Following an eventful week in recruiting that saw eight athletes commit in seven days, the Nittany Lions continued their recruiting hot streak by adding four more this week.
It started with three-star CB Joseph Johnson III, of Richmond, Virginia, choosing the Nittany Lions over Ohio State, North Carolina State and Texas A&M Tuesday evening, followed by three-star Texas wideout Parker Washington about an hour later. On Wednesday, three-star athlete Tyler Warren, of Virginia, marked the 19th member of James Franklin’s 2020 recruiting class.
Bryce Mostella, a three-star DE from East Kentwood, Michigan, made No. 20 on Friday.
Those four join three-star DE Brandon Taylor, four-star DE Amin Vanover, four-star athlete Enzo Jennings, three-star LB Tyler Elsdon, three-star DT Fatorma Mulbah, four-star WR Jaden Dottin, four-star DT Coziah Izzard and three-star JUCO S Ji’Ayir Brown in pledging to the Nittany Lions since June 21.
That’s more than half of the 2020 recruiting class.
This most recent batch of commits is led by Johnson, the 6 foot, 2 inch, 175-pound former N.C. State commit, who 247Sports has ranked as the No. 9 prospect out of Virginia, 32nd at cornerback and 365th overall. He announced his commitment on his high school campus at Life Christian Academy in Colonial Heights, Virginia. He said in a Twitter post after making his announcement that Penn State had been a favorite since the start.
“I really liked them when I went up on my official (visit) but what really pulled me there was the love they were showing,” Johnson told 247Sports’ Brian Dohn. “They were showing so much love. I went up on a visit and it just felt like home. It felt like the right place.”
Johnson joins projected safties Jennings and Brown as the third pledge to Penn State’s secondary.
Washington, a 5 foot, 10 inch, 201-pound prospect out of Richmond, Texas, chose the Nittany Lions over the likes of Wisconsin, Nebraska, Boston College, Duke, Kentucky and Georgia Tech. He announced while attending The Opening Finals in Dallas with a video posted on Twitter. The video shows Washington as he calls Penn State’s new receivers coach Gerad Parker from the field at the Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium to tell him the news.
“This is going to be big, coach, I know it,” he said.
Warren, a 6 foot, 5 inch, 223-pound dual-threat quarterback at Atlee High School in Mechanicsville, Virginia, chose the Nittany Lions about two months after decommitting from Virginia Tech. According to Dohn, the No. 16 product out of Virginia is looking to play tight end on the collegiate level. He chose the Nittany Lions over Michigan, Louisville and South Carolina.
Warren’s commitment was first reported by HanoverCountySports.net.
The final commitment of the week for Penn State came in the most creative fashion. The 6 foot, 6 inch, 235-pound Mostella posted a dramatic video on Twitter Friday afternoon that ends in the No. 14 prospect out of Michigan, per 247Sports, covering himself with blue and white paint and dancing. The video set social media buzzing with more than 117,000 views by Saturday afternoon.
In an interview with his local TV station, Wood TV, Mostella said he wanted to do something different with his commitment announcement, a video of something other than a football drill or highlights.
“My goal was to not have football in it at all. Just to have some character and some extra flavor in there,” he said in the interview.
Mostella picked Penn State over Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State and others.
With the addition of Johnson, Washington, Warren and Mostella, Penn State holds steady at No. 10 in 247’s Division I recruiting rankings for 2020, and third in the Big Ten, behind Michigan and Ohio State.
The recent recruiting surge comes on the heels of a slight skid for the Nittany Lions, that saw decommitments from four-star 2020 cornerback Josh Moten and four-star offensive tackle Aaryn Parks, as well as four-star blocker Grant Toutant, who flipped to Ohio State. Penn State also lost another high-profile commit when longtime four-star linebacker commit Derek Wingo flipped to Florida State on June 22.
With the losses, Penn State had fallen as far as No. 27 in the national recruiting rankings, before putting itself back in the top 10 a week later.