Could Lincoln Riley’s Departure From Oklahoma Benefit Penn State Football?

Penn State Football head coach James Franklin (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Penn State Football head coach James Franklin (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

Penn State Football could stand to benefit, on the recruiting trail and in the transfer portal, from Lincoln Riley’s departure from Oklahoma

The college football world was rocked on Sunday afternoon when it was reported that Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley would be leaving the Sooners for USC.

While James Franklin was more or less already crossed off the list to be the next head coach at USC after signing his extension last week, this news may still spell good news for Penn State.

Although Oklahoma and Penn State are Football are not near each other geographically, they’ve still had their fair share of recruiting battles, usually taking place in the Maryland/Virginia region. This cycle is no different as the Nittany Lions and Sooners each have interest in 4-star linebacker Jaishawn Barham from Maryland.

Barham was on Oklahoma’s campus for an official visit last weekend; he used an official to Penn State back in September for the white out.

With limited space remaining in their 2022 class, Barham would be the cherry on top for Penn State Football.

Now, with Riley gone from Oklahoma, Franklin and his staff have to like their chances even more at landing Barham.

It is noteworthy that Barham’s high school teammate at St. Frances Academy, Derrick Moore, de-committed from Oklahoma Monday morning.

Meanwhile, Another teammate of his, Andre Roye, is a 3-star offensive lineman, and Penn State Football commit.

Current recruits aren’t the only ones that Penn State Football should have their eyes on.

As mentioned, Oklahoma and Penn State have battled it out on the recruiting trail, with the Sooners winning most of them. Now, Franklin has a chance to reverse those losses if there is a mass exodus of players from Norman.

One of the more recent recruiting battles between the two was Kelvin Gilliam back in the 2021 cycle. After being a Penn State target for well over a year, the 4-star defensive lineman chose Oklahoma over Penn State in August of 2020. Another 2021 target who picked Oklahoma over Penn State and others was 4-star wide receiver Jalil Farooq. His decision had to do more with the fact that fellow Maryland area recruit, 5-star quarterback Caleb Williams, chose Oklahoma. If Williams stays, Farooq likely will as well.

There’s also two offensive line targets from 2020 that are currently enrolled at Oklahoma. Aaryn Parks was a one-time Penn State commit before opening his recruitment back up and ultimately picking Oklahoma. He was joined by fellow D.C. area 4-star offensive lineman Anton Harrison in the Sooners 2020 recruiting class. Harrison also held a Penn State offer.

While it’s unclear if any of these former Penn State Football targets will enter the transfer portal, you can expect the Nittany Lions to be interested if any do.

As we saw last offseason, Penn State uses past relationships from the recruiting process to its advantage when it comes to the transfer portal. It’s fair to expect that philosophy to continue this offseason as well.

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