Penn State Football

Penn State Football: James Franklin's Biggest National Signing Day Battles

Tim TolleyContributor IJanuary 29, 2014

Penn State Football: James Franklin's Biggest National Signing Day Battles

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    Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

    The 2014 recruiting cycle is winding down, but the work isn't over yet. 

    After a weekend that saw the Nittany Lions land commitments from Saeed Blacknall and Koa Farmer, James Franklin and his staff hit the road, hoping to secure a few more official visits for this weekend—the last before national signing day.

    Back handspring out of bed ready to ATTACK the day! The sprint to #NSD is rounding turn four! #WeAre...poised to #FinishStrong!

    — Herb Hand (@CoachHand) January 27, 2014

    It appears that no prospects are off-limits, whether they are on the East or West coast, committed or uncommitted.

    Wow what a day! Woke up in NJ flew to Va Beach, Then to Philly, Drove down to Delaware now back to Philly! #WeAre...grinding! #PSUnrivaled

    — Josh Gattis (@Coach_Gattis) January 28, 2014

    With just two scholarships remaining available for the 2014 class, Franklin and the boys are hoping to land the two best prospects they can, even if it takes them all the way to signing day when the letters of intent arrive.


    All star ratings provided by 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

Lamont Simmons, CB

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    Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports


    Lamont Simmons is a 6'2", 180-pound 3-star cornerback from Jacksonville, Fla.


    Current Status



    Why He Could Pick Penn State

    Despite taking official visits to USC and Arkansas in the last two weeks, Lamont Simmons will be in Happy Valley this weekend, according to 247Sports, for his final official visit. Those who follow recruiting closely know how big of an advantage it can be to get the last visit.

    While many think that the Trojans are the favorite, Simmons did not commit while on campus last weekend, meaning he remains unsure.

    The Penn State depth chart combined with James Franklin's selling ability could be just enough to pull the Florida defensive back out of the South and into Beaver Stadium.

Torrence Brown, ATH

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    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images


    Torrence Brown is a 6'4", 228-pound 3-star athlete from Tuscaloosa, Ala.


    Current Status

    Committed to Southern Miss

    USM commit Torrence Brown tells me he "might be" visiting Penn State this weekend. "Not sure yet." Added he's still solidly committed to USM

    — Jason Munz (@munzly) January 28, 2014


    Why He Could Pick Penn State

    While he claims to be "solidly committed" to Southern Miss, Torrence Brown is considering a visit, at the very least. That's always a good sign.

    Brown could play a number of positions at the next level, and the new staff will sell him on playing big-time football in their dynamic defense, if they decide to offer.

Dravon Henry, DB/RB

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    Patrick Smith/Getty Images


    Dravon Henry is a 5'11", 185-pound 4-star athlete from Aliquippa, Pa.


    Current Status

    Committed to West Virginia


    Why He Could Pick Penn State

    Dravon Henry committed to West Virginia before Franklin and the new staff took over at Penn State, and the new Nittany Lion head coach is hoping to make a splash in Pennsylvania recruiting.

    Henry would be the perfect splash.

    James Franklin also told the Faculty Senate that flipping "the No. 1 recruit in Pennsylvania" is on his agenda this week.

    — Anna Orso (@anna_orso) January 28, 2014 

    It's obvious Penn State is in the market for defensive backs, and Henry is one of the best in the region. Penn State would give him a shot at immediate playing time in his home state.

Montae Nicholson, WR/DB

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    Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports


    Montae Nicholson is a 6'3", 200-pound 3-star athlete from Monroeville, Pa.


    Current Status

    Committed to Michigan State


    Why He Could Pick Penn State:

    If Franklin wasn't referring to Dravon Henry when he mentioned flipping the "No. 1 recruit" from Pennsylvania, he almost certainly meant Montae Nicholson.

    Just re-listened to audio: James Franklin told the Faculty Senate he's "embarrassed" that PSU has 0 commitments out of top 10 players in Pa.

    — Anna Orso (@anna_orso) January 28, 2014 

    While the standout from Gateway hopes to play offense in college, Nicholson has a unique chance to come in as a corner and work with his former high school coach, Terry Smith. He could also stay closer to home and make a statement as the guy who started to turn Pennsylvania into a state that Penn State can dominate.


    All star ratings provided by 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

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