James Franklin played host to his first junior day at Penn State last weekend, and the list of visitors wasn't short on talent.
Penn State has netted four verbal commitments from the weekend, including three 4-star prospects and two of the top recruits in Pennsylvania.
It could be that Jerome Baker, a 4-star athlete from Ohio, was the real “star” of the show.
New defensive coordinator, Bob Shoop, runs what is basically a 4-2-5 defense at times with a linebacker/safety hybrid player, called the "Star" position—not entirely dissimilar to the role Stephen Obeng-Agyapong played last year.
2014 commit Koa Farmer is likely a candidate for that position.
At 6'1”, 205 pounds, playing linebacker, running back. quarterback, wide receiver and returning kicks, so is Jerome Baker.
Baker would likely be considered solely a linebacker recruit if he were an inch taller, 10 pounds heavier or a step slower. He could grow into the position at the next level, or he could drop back into a safety role.
Or at Penn State, he could do both.
If the new staff wants to get their personnel on the field as soon as possible, they'll either be converting someone who is already on the roster, or they will be forced to give a shot to a newcomer.
That's where Baker comes in.
The second-ranked Ohio prospect didn't hesitate to tell Nick Polak of BlackShoeDiaries.com that he is smitten with what's going on in Happy Valley, saying "I just have a good feeling about Penn State. If I had a list, Penn State would be up near the top. Penn State is a great place, it's a great school."
Still, the Nittany Lions are hardly a lock to land the Cleveland native.
Growing up in Ohio, Baker admits that he grew up a Penn State fan and an Ohio State fan. Somehow.
Baker's take on the border foes from the Big Ten: "From growing up a fan of them, it gives them a little edge. The possibility that I could play for one of them is great."
While it doesn't sound like he's in a hurry to commit anywhere, it does seem as though the Nittany Lions are in great shape right now.
Landing one of the top players from Ohio would be a coup for new head coach James Franklin.
The idea that he could come in and make an immediate impact at a position relatively unique to Penn State could be what gives Penn State the final edge.
All ratings courtesy of 247Sports.com.
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