3 Former Penn State Football players react to recent recruitment issues

Running back Blair Thomas of the Penn State Nittany Lions runs down the field during a game at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania.
Running back Blair Thomas of the Penn State Nittany Lions runs down the field during a game at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania. /

Lately, the Penn State football program has had some struggles with their 2020 recruiting class, and former PSU players reacted to the issues.

How worried is the Penn State football fan base after some recent recruitment issues popped up? I’d say a good chunk of the fan base is at least slightly concerned. As players have flipped their decisions and picked other schools while another handful of guys either backed out entirely and went elsewhere, Penn State hasn’t had the most excellent offseason — that’s for sure.

Are the fans who are upset overreacting though? Has Penn State head coach James Franklin truly lost a step? Maybe some reactions from former players can help us find out. Recently, three former players were around participating in a golf outing on Monday. That’s when The York Dispatch’s Rob Rose caught up with three former Nittany Lions to discuss the state of the team.

However, the conversation would be much different than it typically would catching up with former players as Penn State’s recent recruitment problems have caused a bit of a stir. Keep in mind, these three guys played years ago.

Times were much different, and they understand that. Knowing how much the process has changed in today’s game, the older generation is attempting to understand why the verbal commitments don’t carry as much weight as they once had before.

Related Story. Is James Franklin’s aggressive approach backfiring?. light

While we understand what can potentially be the cause of the issue, not a single person has a definitive answer to the question. Therefore, the issue remains a concern not only for the fans but also for the organization and their former players as well.

Is the worry warranted in the eyes of former players?

Former Penn State running back Blair Thomas was the first to offer his opinion on the topic. “It’s concerning, especially when you have a program like we have up at Penn State, we have all the amenities that any kid could have. All the support that they’ll get after their playing career ends.”

“It depends on what the kid’s true motive is. What kind of person he is. Usually, we get a certain type of kid up at Penn State that don’t second guess and knows what the environment is like and wants to be a part of it.” Over the last week, Penn State had three commitments second-guess their decision to choose the Nittany Lions.

Former Penn State wideout Scott Fitzkee doesn’t necessarily see it as the player’s fault, rather its the pressure from prominent universities being too tough to handle for young teenagers nowadays. “Kids are forced at such a young age now to make these big decisions, I am sure Penn State is bummed, but it’s next man up. They’re all going to great schools. It is what it is.”

Next. Isaiah Raikes makes his decision. dark

Thomas and Fitzkee took the reasonable route and saw it from the kid’s point of view, knowing how difficult of a decision picking a school can be. Bruce Clark, on the other hand, doesn’t believe in decommitments. “Once you make a commitment, no matter how strong the draw is, I think you should keep your commitment,” he said when asked about the recent issues.

While Clark focused on the player’s lack of commitment in today’s game, he also didn’t shy away from holding Penn State accountable for the issues though as well. He credited the Nittany Lions for their past success by saying they do a great job of recruiting — but he also hopes the team does a better job of coaching, and actually holding onto the players they bring in.