If the first one is the hardest, Penn State football is off to a better start than expected.
According to 247Sports, Bill O'Brien and his staff landed the first recruit since the NCAA imposed crippling sanctions on the program following the events surrounding the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal.
Linebacker Brennan Franklin of Peoria Centennial High School becomes the 20th commit in Penn State's 2012 class. Better late than never.
Franklin isn't the top-tier prospect that the university is going to need to overcome the looming obstacles, but he's a solid start. The 6'2", 230-pound Arizona native made 104 tackles last season for his school.
While many believed that prospective recruits would be scared off due to the stark sanctions that NCAA president Mark Emmert slapped the program with, Franklin was not deterred. Via CBS Sports, Franklin told 247Sports the following:
Ever since I was a little kid, Penn State has been at top of my list because it was Linebacker U. I understood that from little boy to now. I have an opportunity to go in there and make and impact, and it's a dream of mine.
Penn State is extremely lucky to have built up the tradition and reputation it has. Despite the regime chance, the program was aided in its recruiting quest in large part thanks to the longstanding "Linebacker U" moniker.
The program has banded together in these tough tines, with many players pledging their allegiance to the program despite special rules allowing them to transfer without penalty.
According to the New York Times, O'Brien said, “I felt like it was important to try to get out in front. We took a lot of punches. Penn State has taken a lot of punches over the last six months, and it’s time to punch back."
While the higher-ups that once presided over the university and program are to blame for the atrocities committed, O'Brien and the players are not. They surely know that, but it is surprising to see such an overwhelmingly positive sentiment of this recent news.
Still, no matter what recruit and how many recruits, the Penn State program is surely in for an uphill battle.