Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Signature Moments Lions Score Big by Rounding Up 11th-Ranked Class of Recruits for 2015 Penn State

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Signature Moments Lions Score Big by Rounding Up 11th-Ranked Class of Recruits for 2015 Penn State

Article excerpt

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Walking into high schools around the state with the Nittany Lions logo on his chest, Penn State offensive recruiting coordinator/wide receivers coach Josh Gattis heard a few different responses.

"It's amazing. Getting out to some of these high schools and, no offense to the past, but some of these high school coaches hadn't seen anybody from Penn State in years," he said. "You got to get out and recruit the high school coaches because you never know when the kid is going to pop up."

Penn State's 2015 recruiting class features 25 members and is ranked No. 15 in the nation by Rivals and is 11th when all the major recruiting services rankings are averaged. The 11 in-state prospects are the most Penn State has had since 2004 and having all of Penn State's assistant coaches chip in to work on in-state recruiting is part of the staff's on-going plan.

Penn State relies on its summer recruiting camps to get accurate workout numbers on prospects, and members of the coaching staff traveled to satellite camps in Georgia and Florida to continue bolstering future recruiting ties in the south. With a year of relationship-building under their belts, coach James Franklin is pleased with how the pieces are falling into place.

The 2015 class is the first group of prospects his staff was able to recruit fully after taking over 13 months ago, and fans gathered in Penn State's Rec Hall Wednesday night for The Signature Event, where Franklin discussed every member of this recruiting class while their highlights played.

"First thing is to come in and make some really bold statements in your press conference and not give yourself any other choice," Franklin said at the news conference.

"If you make it a priority to keep the best players in this region home, you're going to do that, and I think we can do better going forward. We got four of the top players in the country already committed to us for 2016. So, we're excited. It never really ends."

Penn State has three prospects from the class already on campus, and among them is former Baldwin High School offensive tackle Sterling Jenkins. Addressing the team's need to upgrade the offensive line and continue building depth in the trenches was a focal point in this class. Jenkins, who enrolled as a 307-pound lineman and is already up to 326 pounds, has been joined by Lackawanna College (Scranton, Pa.) transfer Paris Palmer, another offensive tackle.

Finding Palmer, who has two years of eligibility remaining and was ranked as the nation's No. 1 junior-college offensive tackle, helps to fill a vacancy opposite returning starter Andrew Nelson. It also follows through with the staff's philosophy to figure out how to best address needs, even with the junior college route not Franklin's preferred method.

"If we've got to get on a bus and drive six hours to a camp location, we're going to do it," Gattis said. …

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