Penn State Recruiting: 5 Vanderbilt Commits Nittany Lions Could Target
UPDATE 1/11/14 9:30 a.m.: James Franklin has been hired as Penn State's new head coach.
Though nothing is yet official, all signs point to Penn State hiring Vanderbilt's James Franklin to be the next Nittany Lion head coach.
James Franklin expected to receive contract worth up to $4.5M/year at Penn State, source told @ESPN. Bill O'Brien made $3.82M
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) January 10, 2014
The chances of Franklin being able to hold Penn State's current recruiting class intact are good, due largely to his reputation as a coach and recruiter. Several of the players committed to Penn State, including 4-star quarterback Michael O'Connor, hold offers from Vanderbilt and have relationships with Franklin.
But what happens to Vanderbilt's recruiting class?
Anytime coaching changes are made, it's logical to expect some turnover among the recruits. In this case, Franklin is taking over a job where he will have a few scholarships left to give out before National Signing Day in February.
Will he reach out to some of the kids he recruited at Vandy? The odds are pretty good. It's difficult to create new relationships in less than a month with new recruits, and there's a good chance some of those kids feel strongly about playing college football for James Franklin.
Here's a look at some of the top recruits in Vanderbilt's current class who might fit well if the new Penn State coaching staff reaches out.
All stats and ratings are courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.
DB Kyle Gibson
Regardless of the regime change, athletic defensive backs will still be in high demand around Happy Valley.
At 6'0" with a reported 4.65 40-yard dash, 4-star safety Kyle Gibson will be in high demand all over the country.
Before committing to Vanderbilt, Gibson held offers from Florida State, UCLA and Notre Dame, among about a dozen others, so, if Franklin does decide to pursue him at his new gig, he'll have some competition.
DE Lloyd Tubman
1/12/14 UPDATE: Lloyd Tubman has committed to the Penn State Nittany Lions, saying "It was my bond with Coach Franklin. I believe in his vision. I have trust in him and he has trust in me. I want to play my football under him," per 247Sports.com.
The former staff was comfortable enough with the depth chart at defensive end that they didn't recruit any heavily, and they don't have any committed in the current class.
That could change, however, if and when Franklin takes over at Penn State.
Tubman was once a WKU commit before flipping to Vandy. He could end up at Penn State or Kentucky. He loves James Franklin.— gibby (@jffrythmpsn) January 10, 2014
Lloyd Tubman is a 4-star, 6'5" end from Kentucky who would be a welcome addition to any class, and, if he and Franklin have a good enough relationship, he could be a guy the new head coach reaches out to.
QB/DB Trent Sherfield
Penn State tight on 'ships but Sherfield says he would consider Nittany Lions if they offer RT @Jwalk03er do you think psu becomes an option— Jared Shanker (@JShankerESPN) January 9, 2014
It's not likely he would be recruited as a quarterback to Penn State, which may be a hangup, but he has ideal size to grow into a safety at 6'2", 185 pounds.
Franklin's offense did include some read-option at Vanderbilt, so there's an outside shot that he could be given a look as a change-of-pace quarterback option.
Either way, the fact that he has already admitted interest in the Nittany Lions could be a good indication that he'll get a look.
OT Chance Sorrell
1/12/14 UPDATE: Chance Sorrell has committed to the Penn State Nittany Lions, according to his Twitter account and 247Sports.com.
For PSU nation I am committing to PSU as a left offensive tackle.— Chance Sorrell (@Chanman158811) January 12, 2014
An Ohio native, Chance Sorrell originally held offers from Boston College, Louisville and West Virginia before committing to Franklin and the Commodores.
At 6'6", 263 pounds, Sorrell is in the process of growing from a tight end into a tackle and could develop into an athletic bookend with the right coaching.
Penn State is short on offensive linemen in the current class, and the new staff may be able to sell the 3-star OT/TE on playing closer to home and still getting a quality education.
DB Emmanuel Smith
1/12/14 UPDATE: Emmanuel Smith has been offered by Penn State, according to 247Sports.
Another 4-star safety, Emmanuel Smith is a guy who plays a position of need for the Nittany Lions.
Smith committed to the Commodores last March and never really saw his recruitment take off, although he has stayed in touch with the coaches at Tennessee. It appears that he wants to play close to home in Tennessee, so the long recruiting arm of James Franklin may be tested if he reaches out to Smith.