Penn State football: Grading James Franklin’s past transfer portal additions by year

The best teams in the country are dominating the transfer portal. James Franklin isn't, is that why Penn State isn't one of the best teams in the country?

Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Dante Cephas (3)
Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Dante Cephas (3) / Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
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Penn State Transfer Portal grade. A. Incoming: 3. Outgoing: 16. 2022

Transfers:

  • Chop Robinson, EDGE (Maryland)
  • Mitchell Tinsley, WR (Western Kentucky)
  • Hunter Nourzad, IOL (Colgate)

In 2022, Franklin was interested in quality over quantity. Coming off a 7-6 season, you would think he would have thrown more darts at the dartboard, but evidently, he was satiated by the talent on his roster. 

Well, we all know what Chop Robinson turned into. He’s likely to be a first-round pick in the 2024 NFL draft because of his physical characteristics, but he only managed four sacks across two seasons. In 2023 Robinson registered 26 quarterback pressures which ranked 158th in the country, but his win rate of 20.8% ranked ninth among all eligible players. 

Tinsley played the most snaps of any Penn State wide receiver in 2022 and brought in 51 of his 78 targets for 577 yards and five touchdowns. His 1.60 yards per route run was down from his 2.44 average at Western Kentucky in 2021, but that drop is understandable considering the competition difference. 

In back-to-back cycles, Franklin was able to add a solid offensive lineman. That bodes well for Alan Herron’s future in 2024. Hunter Nourzad took Wilson’s job at left guard and only gave up 12 pressures in 327 pass-blocking snaps. Nourzad returned in 2023, moved over to center, and was even better protecting Drew Allar. 

This is a situation where Franklin can only be docked for not doing more. The three players he brought in filled important roles in 2022 and in two cases 2023.