James Franklin had a signing day surprise in store.
Three of four 247Sports “Crystal Ball” projections had Vega Ioane, a 6-4, 330-pound offensive line prospect from Graham, Washington, staying closer to home and signing with the University of Washington. Ioane committed to Washington in June of 2021 and decommited in December.
Although the one outlier had him signing with Penn State, it seemed that UW was the favorite to land the three-star.
Graham-Kapowsin three-star OL Vega Ioane commits to Penn State pic.twitter.com/egT0kHKqEA
— Jon Manley (@manley_tnt) February 2, 2022
But at 11:54 AM– during a press conference, no less– Franklin tweeted his “#WEAre… Better” recruitment signal.
Minutes later, he halted the press conference to announce that Ioane was Penn State-bound.
Franklin pointed out that Ioane helped his high school, Graham-Kapowsin, to state championship status, is the youngest of nine children and, on the academic side, was student-body president.
“A guy that we think physically is going to have to opportunity to come in and compete early on in his career,” Franklin said. “Talking about another high-level offensive lineman that played for a really, really good high school, and obviously, from an academic perspective, too, is a great fit for Penn State. He chose to go all the way across the country and come to Penn State, and we wanted to make sure that once he announced publically, that we would announce it on here as well.”
New special teams coach Stacy Collins– an Oregon native who spent five seasons coaching at Central Washington– was instrumental in getting Ioane to Penn State. Franklin also mentioned wide receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield, who is a Yakima, Washington, native.
Along with Penn State and Washington, Ioane had offers from Minnesota, Arizona and Arizona State, among others.