One of the worst kept secrets in college football was made official today. Pennsylvania native and former Ohio State wide receiver Julian Fleming has been expected to join Penn State for weeks after entering the transfer portal and on Wednesday, he made the commitment official.
Penn State recruited Fleming out of high school when he was the No. 3 wide receiver in the class of 2020. After four years in Columbus, Fleming is returning to his home state to fill a massive void in Penn State’s offense.
At Ohio State, Fleming was overshadowed by players like Garrett Wilson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and Marvin Harrison Jr. to name a few. He finished his four years with 79 catches for 963 yards and seven touchdowns.
Fleming’s best season came in 2022 when he posted 34 catches for 533 yards and seven touchdowns. However, a lot of the experienced wide receiver’s value was in the run game where he was an excellent run-blocker.
That will certainly improve a run game that underachieved in Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen’s sophomore season, but Penn State needs pass-catchers most of all and Fleming will immediately be the best option for Drew Allar.
James Franklin needed to make a splash in the portal this offseason and he delivered his new offensive coordinator, Andy Kotelnicki, a high-pedigree receiver with plenty of talent and big-game experience.
This morning, Dante Cephas, last year’s transfer portal prize at wide receiver, announced he was headed back to the portal after he was benched in the Peach Bowl, and this commitment from Fleming could set off a domino effect that could result in KeAndre Lambert-Smith’s departure from the program.
For the offense to carry Penn State to the College Football Playoff in 2024, Franklin will need to make another addition to the wide receiver room because an Ohio State cast-off won’t be enough for the Nittany Lions to leapfrog the Buckeyes in the Big Ten hierarchy.