With the 2014 recruiting cycle coming to a close in just a couple of weeks, the Nittany Lions have solid verbal commitments from 4-star Under Armour All-American wide receivers Chris Godwin and De'Andre Thompkins, as well as 3-star Troy Apke. Joining them is the top tight end recruit in the country, Mike Gesicki, who played a mix of tight end and wide receiver in high school.
While that haul alone would stand as one of, if not the best receiver/tight end class in the country, James Franklin may not be done just yet.
According to several reports last weekend, Rutgers commit Saeed Blacknall, a 4-star receiver from New Jersey, was on the Penn State campus for a visit and is considering a flip to the Nittany Lions. Saeed was a Semper Fi All-American and is ranked as the 21st-best receiver prospect in this class by the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
Godwin, Thompkins and Apke are ranked 25th, 33rd and 47th, respectively.
It wouldn't seem wise to take 4 WRs in a class of 23 players...but if those 4 are Thompkins, Godwin, Apke and Blacknall, I guess you do it.— Tim Tolley (@TimTolley_BR) January 20, 2014
Aside from pulling the most impressive group of wideouts in this class, what is James Franklin's goal?
Whether it's his intention or a side effect, he is surrounding Christian Hackenberg with the weapons he needs to reach his potential.
When Franklin was being courted by Penn State, fans were speculating about what kind of offense the new head coach would run if he got the job. It appears that Franklin is taking a page from Coaching 101 and will run the offense that he has the best personnel for. In this case, that offense revolves around his sophomore quarterback.
What better way to run that offense than with big, fast, pro-style receiving threats?
Allen Robinson, Alex Kenney, Brandon Felder and Matt Lehman will be missing from the roster in 2014, so bringing in five new players to fill those spots isn't going to create a logjam on the depth chart.
What it will do is create competition among the receivers and make it that much more easy to recruit future quarterbacks.
Hackenberg was fortunate to have Robinson as a security blanket during his freshman season, and that will be hard to duplicate.
Next year, he will have a younger, more athletic group of targets that he will be able to grow with in the new offense. Once the core players are on the same page and have an understanding of the playbook, that offense could be hard to stop.
Imagine a rotation in 2015 of Geno Lewis, DaeSean Hamilton, Godwin, Thompkins, and Blacknall with Adam Breneman, Jesse James and Mike Gesicki at tight end.
That would be enough to give defenses fits, even without one of the best quarterbacks in the country calling the shots.
For said quarterback, the sky would be the limit.