The Penn State Nittany Lions just finished up a very successful recruiting season, the first full one under head coach Bill O'Brien. Despite the NCAA sanctions and negativity surrounding the program, top recruits still chose to come to Happy Valley. This class should set the precedent for future recruits, proving that choosing Penn State is still a good decision.
The Nittany Lions finished with the 24th ranked class according to ESPN. The class includes two players, quarterback Christian Hackenberg and tight end Adam Breneman. who are top recruits at their positions and ranked in the ESPN 150.
As the first recruiting class affected by the scholarship reductions, O'Brien and his staff had to really do their research and carefully target guys who would fit the scheme of what's being done at Penn State.
The fact that O'Brien was able to turn out such a solid class when negative feelings and anger towards the school is still fresh shows that there is hope for the future of the program.
Hackenberg has the potential to be one of the top quarterbacks in college football as he develops. That's only going to bode well for recruiting, as top offensive weapons such as wide receivers will wish to have someone with his talent throwing them the ball.
While the 2013 class isn't filled with stars, it still boasts a lot of quality and brings solid depth that will set the groundwork for success in the future. 4-star recruits Brendan Mahon and Garrett Sickels will be anchors of the offensive and defensive lines for years to come.
3-star athlete Zayd Issah is somewhat of a sleeper who has the potential to turn into a great linebacker.
There will likely be bumps in the road for the Nittany Lions moving forward as the new recruits will need time to develop. There's no doubt that with limited scholarships the talent pool will be more shallow than usual.
However, the reality is that as the years go by, recruiting top talent to Penn State should return to the level it was at before the Sandusky scandal hit.
When 2014, 2015 and even 2016 recruits start thinking about which school to attend, Penn State will continue to be at the top of many lists.
With just three more years of a postseason ban remaining and a solid crop of players for the next few years, fewer and fewer recruits will turn down the chance to be a Nittany Lion.