The first order of business for Penn State's next head coach is making sure the current recruiting class is still fully committed.
On Thursday, it was being reported by multiple sources, including Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports, that Vanderbilt's James Franklin was prepared to accept an offer to become the Nittany Lions' head coach. A formal announcement did not materialize, and Vanderbilt's athletic department has even denied the reports.
Until an official announcement is made regarding any coach, some members of Penn State's 2014 class are in wait-and-see mode. No players have decommitted to date, but there's always a level of uncertainty that comes with not playing for the coach who recruited you.
There are a handful of players Penn State absolutely needs to ink on national signing day. In rating which ones are the most vital to the Nittany Lions' immediate and future success, two factors were considered. Depth and the talent pool at a player's particular position was the biggest factor, followed by how big of a prospect the individual is.
Here are the three verbal commits Penn State can't afford to lose due to a change in regime.