James Franklin went down to Division II for his first transfer portal signing of the offseason and grabbed a D1-caliber player. On Monday, Penn State signed Alan Herron, the seventh highest-rated offensive tackle in the transfer portal by 247 Sports, from DII Shorter University.
Herron played two seasons at Shorter and was highly sought-after in the transfer portal, clearly with his eyes on a chance to play at a Power 5 program. Herron received offers from Miami, Texas Tech, Syracuse, Clemson, and Auburn, among others. He has two seasons of eligibility remaining.
The offensive line was a clear need for the Nittany Lions with the departures of Olu Fashanu, to the NFL, and Caedan Wallace, who was a redshirt senior at right tackle. Franklin has prioritized offensive tackle in his high school recruiting, bringing in five-star tackle J’Ven Williams and four-star tackle Alex Birchmeier in his 2023 class.
This move could be a sign that Franklin doesn’t expect Williams and Birchmeier to be ready to start as true sophomores next season, it could signal that Penn State plans to move either of them into the interior, or just a play for more depth at tackle.
However the offensive line shakes out next season, this addition makes Penn State better at a position of need. In 2023, Fashanu and Wallace only allowed 21 total pressures on Drew Allar, but Allar ranked 62nd in the country in pressure rate at 29.9%.
Franklin still needs to add more talent to his offense, especially a few weapons for new offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki and Drew Allar to work with in 2024, but now it is evident that Franklin has an aggressive mindset this offseason and that’s great news.