How Penn State Football is having recruiting success despite on-field woes

Head coach James Franklin of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Head coach James Franklin of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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Penn State Football, James Franklin
Penn State football head coach James Franklin hugs quarterback Sean Clifford after the Nittany Lions defeated Auburn 28-20 at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in State College. /

Early Relationships

Penn State Football has done a great job lately of identifying talent early and offering recruits early.

The most notable case of this happened last Winter when the Nittany Lions became the first major program to offer Drew Allar. As you probably know by now, Allar was a 3-star at the time he received his offer, he ended the 2022 cycle as the No. 3 player in 247 Sports rankings.

Allar is not the only example of this. Penn State was the first program to offer fellow 5-star Dani Dennis-Sutton back in May 2019. Dennis-Sutton’s long-standing relationship with Penn State was a big reason why he chose the Nittany Lions over the likes of Alabama and Georgia.

Penn State also identified 2022 3-star WR Tyler Johnson as a viable option and may have prevented his recruitment from blowing up by offering him last May and landing his commitment less than a month later.

Relationships from past jobs have also helped James Franklin land recruits. Despite being from Texas, the Nittany Lions were the favorite for 4-star safety Cristian Driver for a long time, because Franklin coached Driver’s father, Donald, when he was with the Green Bay Packers back in 2007.

As long as Franklin and his staff continue to offer recruits early and build strong relationships with them, they will be able to land practically anyone, including 5-stars like Allar, Dennis-Sutton and Nick Singleton.