A little more than three weeks removed from pulling off a stellar first national signing day in State College, new Penn State head coach James Franklin is already making headway on topping himself in 2015.
Andre Robinson, a 4-star running back from Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg, Pa., took to Twitter on Thursday to announce he is verbally committing to the Nittany Lions:
Robinson's commitment comes just three days after visiting the school for the first time. He chose Penn State over offers from at least six Big Ten schools, highlighted by Ohio State, Michigan State and Northwestern, per 247Sports. Boston College, Louisville and Syracuse were also known to be interested, though Penn State's proximity to Harrisburg put the Lions in a prime spot.
Verbal commitments are non-binding. Robinson can re-open his recruiting at any time between now and the date he sends in his letter of intent, at which point he could change his mind.
Considered the nation's 12th-best running back prospect in the country by 247Sports' composite rankings, Robinson is already the seventh commit Penn State has landed for 2015. He's joined by offensive tackle Ryan Bates (Archbishop Wood, Warminster, Pa.), athlete Kamonte Carter ( and running back Saquon Barkley (Whitehall High, Whitehall, Pa. as the fourth 4-star recruit already committed to the Lions.
Each of Penn State's seven class of 2015 recruits has given his commitment this month. 247Sports' composite rankings, which will be subject to a massive amount of flux over the next 11 months, have Penn State with the 14th-best recruiting class in the nation thus far and first overall in the Big Ten.
With five of those commits coming from the state of Pennsylvania, Franklin is quickly making good on his promise from his introductory press conference.
"Our recruiting philosophy, we are going to dominate the state," Franklin said. "We are going to dominate the state. We are going to dominate the region."
While each of those players make a solid haul for Franklin, who still hasn't yet been on the job for two months, Robinson is obviously the biggest boost on a national scale.
The rising senior is listed at 5'9" and 205 pounds, and is a compact, physical runner who works for his yards. As a junior, he rushed for 2,338 yards and 29 touchdowns, helping lead Bishop McDevitt to the Class AAA championship game. Andrew P. Shay of PennLive.com notes that Robinson rushed only 14 times for 59 yards in that game, which arguably helped seal the deal for rival Archbishop Wood.
Heading into his final high school season, Robinson is the leader of a solid returning squad that should again challenge for the state title. He should also use this year to improve his elusiveness. Robinson tends to run hard and straight into contact, which can be a gift in short-yardage situations but can cost him yards in the open field.
Nevertheless, Robinson's arrival in Happy Valley is too far off to really assess. He'll have competition within his own class from Barkley, but the Lions' program remains in a state of flux. Bill O'Brien's departure combined with the still-looming NCAA sanctions hangs a cloud over the program that Franklin is now tasked with eradicating.
We're months off from seeing the product on the field. But, if the first nearly two months of his tenure is any indication, Franklin is awfully good at selling himself and this program.
All recruit information is via 247Sports.
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