It appears James Franklin is fallible after all.
Penn State was locked in a tight recruiting battle with Michigan for the services of Grant Newsome, a 4-star offensive tackle from Lawrenceville, New Jersey. And although Franklin has been on fire during his first full cycle with PSU, Newsome announced Wednesday that he would play for the Wolverines.
Here is the wholehearted way Newsome announced the news:
Thank you everyone pic.twitter.com/N0nwQRgLeY— Grant Newsome (@grant_newsome) June 11, 2014
The sincerity of Newsome's message was refreshing. Beyond his football skills—which we'll get to in a moment—he seems like the type of player and kid any program would be lucky to have.
Even Greg Pickel, who covers Penn State recruiting for Scout.com, had to tip his cap to the way Newsome announced his decision:
Take notes, recruits: the way @grant_newsome just announced his decision might as well become the standard. So should his recruitment.— Greg Pickel (@GregPickel) June 11, 2014
(And it definitely didn't hurt that Newsome thanked him):
@GregPickel Thank you man. I really appreciate it.— Grant Newsome (@grant_newsome) June 11, 2014
Newsome is the No. 198 overall player and No. 19 offensive tackle in the 247Sports Composite. At 6'6", 290 pounds, he has the frame and length to play on either side of the line but needs to add some weight.
ESPN Scouts Inc. (subscription required) lauded Newsome for his tall, lean frame and athleticism, saying, at the very least, that his body appears "capable of supporting additional bulk." He is raw but has good flexibility and should be considered a high-upside prospect.
He joins a Michigan class that needed to land him much more than Penn State did. Entering the day, the Nittany Lions were (and remain) ranked No. 3 in the 247Sports team rankings with 16 committed players. Michigan moved up from No. 33 to No. 30 after landing Newsome, who is only their seventh commit of the cycle.
Combined with Jon Runyan Jr.—the son of longtime Philadelphia Eagles tackle Jon Runyan Sr.—Newsome gives the Wolverines a pair of offensive tackles to build around from the 2015 class.
Considering the shape of its offensive line last season, such reinforcements were desperately needed and can't stop here. The Wolverines' 3.28 rushing yards per attempt was No. 115 in the country and fifth-worst among teams from power conferences.