Recruiting is Key in Preparation for Blue-White Weekend

Story posted April 17, 2015 in Sports, CommRadio by Mike D'Avella

As the Nittany Lions get ready to take the field for the first time in 2015 for the annual Blue-White Game, head coach James Franklin and the rest of the staff will be hosting a hoard of top 2016 and 2017 recruiting prospects.

Although Penn State fans will be focused on what happens on the field, the recruiting staff is much more worried about putting on a show for the abundance of recruits that will be in attendance for Saturday’s game.

Four of Penn State’s five verbal commitments will be on hand for the Blue-White game including pro-style quarterback Jack Zembiec and standout defensive end Shane Simmons. Both recruits are ranked as four stars according to 247sports.com.

Simmons is ranked as the No. 59 player in the nation for the class of 2016, the No.5 weak-side defensive end and the No. 1 player in the state of Maryland for 2016 according to 247sports.com’s composite rankings.

The class rounds out with the fifth best running back in the 2016 recruiting class in Woodland Hills (Pittsburgh, Pa.) product Miles Sanders, the No. 3 center in the class in Connor McGovern and a four-star cornerback prospect in Lavert Hill.

Possibly the most intriguing name in attendance in terms of recruiting is not apart of the 2016 recruiting class.

Hunter Johnson, the No. 9 prospect overall currently for the 2017 class and the No. 1 overall at the pro-style quarterback position, will be one of the visitors Saturday and Franklin and company need to bring their A game.

Johnson has expressed interest in Penn State which is a good sign for recruiting purposes because he has offers from pretty much every relevant football program across the nation. If all goes to play, Johnson could be the eventual successor to Hackenberg.

After success in last year’s event with the commitment of DT Adam McLean, who was a big help with recruiting although flipping his commitment to conference rival Maryland with a few months to spare, Franklin hopes to receive a commitment or two in the coming months from some of the recruits in the class of 2016.

McKeesport, Pa. linebacker/safety Khaleke Hudson will be present representing the 2016 class.

According to 247sports.com, two three-star athletes in Demetric Vance and Patrick Johnson will be taking the trip to University Park, Pa. for the festivities this weekend.

Naseir Upshur, the No. 5 tight end in the 2016 class out of Imhotep Institute in Philadelphia, Pa. is also slated to visit for the game along with his teammate, three-star defensive end Shaka Toney.

Although it is uncertain whether or not Pennsylvania’s top recruit, offensive tackle prospect Michal Menet, will make the trek up for the spring game; he recently named Penn State as one of his top two teams along with Duke. Many experts expect Menet to eventually choose Penn State.

Menet is ranked as a four-star recruit and the No. 45 player in the nation for the 2016 class according to 247sports.com’s composite rankings.

With the recent struggles in depth at the offensive line positions, Menet is a must-get recruit for Penn State in this years recruiting class.

Only time will resolve all of the looming question marks that the Lions have carried into the spring. As Franklin and company continue to dominate the state of Pennsylvania in recruiting, the future looks bright for Penn State’s football program. The Blue-White game is sure to offer impressive glimpses of future Penn State stars.

The Blue-White Game will kick off at 4 p.m. from Beaver Stadium. ComRadio’s complete coverage begins at 1 p.m. with The Tailgate Show live from outside the All Sports Museum. Be sure to stay tuned for the Football Pregame Show to hear more recruiting news from Blue White Illustrated’s Ryan Snyder.

Mike D’Avella is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email mfd156@psu.edu