Is Penn State’s recruiting really so disappointing? It’s something that’s been heavily discussed since James Franklin said this last week:
“Up to this point, we haven’t gotten it done. We haven’t recruited up to the standard we normally have.”
OK, that seems pretty clear. If Franklin, who’s always extremely optimistic, is saying there’s a problem, then there’s actually a problem.
But let’s do the math to find out if it’s a huge problem, or just a timing problem.
Penn State has only 13 commitments. That’s not good, obviously. A lot of other teams have 19, 20 or more commits by now, and Auburn is the only other team ranked in the top 50 in recruiting with just 13 commits.
Penn State is ranked 34th nationally in recruiting by 247Sports and 39th by Rivals. Again … not good. Those rankings are based heavily on the number of commits a team has.
The rankings are so low for one reason and one reason only — because the Nittany Lions have only 13 commits.
Penn State is going to get a lot more commits to fill out the class.
“I want to be clear on this: This class is not done,” Franklin said.
Spending too much time worrying about the low 13 number may not be the best way to look at things.
So, let’s view all this another way.
In the 247 rankings, the average point rating for Penn State’s commitments is 88.64. That number is higher than 15 of the teams ranked ahead of PSU.
If the rankings were based on average per commit, the Lions would be 19th — not 34th.
In the Rivals rankings, the average star rating for PSU is 3.54. That number is higher than 27 of the teams ranked ahead of the Lions.
If the rankings were based on star average, Penn State would be 12th — not 39th.
There are many factors that go into recruiting, and rankings don’t always tell the entire story.
Yes, it is a concern that Penn State has only 13 commits at this stage in the game. With so many of the best recruits off the table, it leaves fewer guys available, so teams may have to take some lesser-rated players. That obviously leads to drops in the per-player points or star ratings.
The fact that Franklin was so candid about the recruiting struggles also is of note. The coaches know where they stand with the players they’re recruiting, so maybe Franklin knows in the back of his mind that the opportunities to land a lot more big-time recruits are shrinking.
Still, Penn State is going to get its share of good players down the stretch. The Lions will be helped in that regard if they have a strong season and remain nationally prominent.
Once the number of commits hits 20 or more, Penn State will move up significantly in the national rankings.
Now, that doesn’t mean PSU is going to end up with a top 10 class. Somewhere in the 15-18 range seems more likely.
And that number would be much easier to stomach than where things currently stand with the Lions ranked in the 30s.