With five decommitments so far and nine transfers to date, Penn State is not the sexiest place to be right now if you're a college football player. The Nittany Lions were laced with crushing sanctions to their program a few weeks ago and face an uphill battle to get back to the proud state they were once in.
With a four-year bowl ban, a $60 million fine and the vacation of over 100 wins, Happy Valley has the feel of Death Valley these days. It will be a tough sell for new head coach Bill O'Brien to convince recruits to come play for him, but as with anything, there is a bright side.
Here are eight reasons why a recruit still might want to sign with Penn State.
There are some people who actually enjoy building things from scratch than maintaining successful practices.
If you're a recruit that would rather join a program with a feeling of restarting and almost being an expansion team, then Penn State would be a place you may want to look at.
Even though some very horrific events took place in this community, the area around Penn State is still a good place to be.
The people there overall have good values and support the football team with great passion.
If you're a recruit that comes to their community during this time to play football, you'd automatically be labeled a hero.
To dive deeper into the good folks of Happy Valley in State College, Pa., Penn State operates as a family and the former players are still very aware of what goes on around the team and program.
As a recruit, signing here here would ensure that you have a second family to support you not only during your four years on the team, but also for life after you stop playing.
Among the most significant sanctions Penn State has had imposed on them is the four-year bowl ban. This also includes all facets of postseason play including the Big Ten title game.
So for the next four years, Penn State will play its regular season and be done. The Nittany Lions won't be competing for any Big Ten titles, Rose Bowls or national championships. Plus, no one expects them to win much because of lack of depth.
You sign with Penn State, you will face no pressure whatsoever for your college career and will be able to play freely.
A Penn State degree is still a very good one and the chance to get your schooling paid for is still a great perk to say the least.
Why not go to Penn State, play some no-pressure football in a good community to help uplift it, the fans and alumni while getting a great education?
Penn State hasn't signed a QB of Hackenberg's caliber in a good while. This guy is an elite prospect and has NFL potential.
He's also said that he is sticking to his Penn State commitment and will undoubtedly become the Nittany Lions' version of Matt Barkley at USC.
A chance to go play with a player and person like Hackenberg is surely a good reason to consider balling at Penn State, sanctions or no sanctions.
Many big-name and highly-touted recruits are not likely to head to Penn State. Then, the scholarship limits will severely hurt the depth of the team.
There are potentially going to be many immediate opportunities for playing time. If you're a recruit that wants to get on the field early and not have to wait long to start, Penn State may be the perfect school for you in the next few years.
At the end of the day, every recruit wants to play in the NFL. It's the biggest stage to compete on as a football player and it's the goal of every player to play in the league.
Some recruits may have other goals, but the NFL is still one of them. Bill O'Brien can help you get there and prepare you for playing in the NFL.
He's going run an NFL style offense, the defense will have NFL schemes implemented in it and he's going to run the program like a NFL team for the most part. If you are serious about preparing for the NFL, you have to seriously consider Penn State.
Edwin Weathersby has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects & writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (now ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.