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James Franklin, Penn State staff use bye week to recruit
Penn State players have an opportunity to recharge their batteries this weekend before returning to action Sunday in preparation for a home game against Michigan on Oct. 21. The Nittany Lions cruised into a midseason bye week following a 31-7 win at Northwestern, which improved the team’s record to 6-0.
A college football bye week is of vital importance for handling the bumps and bruises that accompany a football season. It also provides potential on the recruiting trail, as coaches are able to hit the road or hop on planes for key visits with prospects near and far.
Franklin, while speaking with media members after practice Wednesday evening, explained he was headed to the airport shortly afterward for a flight to Texas. The Lone Star State is home to 2018 Penn State commits Trent Gordon and Isaiah Humphries, along with several 2019 recruiting targets.
Meanwhile, Nittany Lions coordinators and assistants will also log plenty of miles in the coming days while aiming to make progress with prospects of interest. Receivers coach Josh Gattis checked in Thursday from Phoenix, home of uncommitted 4-star receiver and Penn State legacy Solomon Enis.
This may be considered a week of rest for Penn State, but coaches are putting in a ton of work with sights set on future success.
“We’re out ripping and running,” Franklin said. “With recruiting, you’re trying to maximize that day, so sometimes it is more grueling.”
Expect Penn State coaches on high school sidelines across America this Friday night. There are few things that send a stronger message to a recruit on your target board than watching him compete in person.
Jesse Luketa, a 4-star linebacker committed to the Nittany Lions since February, told me he expects Nittany Lions defensive coordinator Brent Pry in attendance at his Mercyhurst Prep (Erie, Pa.) game.
Pry and company are likely to cast a wide net during a whirlwind 48-hour span. Penn State has been extremely active recruiting beyond state borders, as only one of its 70-plus 2019 scholarship offers has been sent to a Pennsylvania product.
“It’s not like in the old days where you’d go recruit Maryland and just hit every school in Maryland,” Franklin said. “You’re going to see specific prospects all over the country, so it’s pretty demanding.”
Between bye week endeavors and the monumental guest list coming together for Penn State vs. Michigan, this is arguably the most pivotal in-season recruiting stretch for Penn State.
Nittany Lions continue to target prospects beyond Big Ten territory
Earlier in this notebook, I referenced Gattis’ trip to Arizona. It seems Enis isn’t the only receiver he’s focused on in the desert.
Jake Smith, a junior at Notre Dame Prep (Scottsdale, Ariz.), reported he received a Penn State offer Thursday:
Excited to receive my 11th offer from Penn State! pic.twitter.com/VgwFpduDfw
— Jake Smith (@jakesmith27) October 12, 2017
This 6-foot-1, 185-pound receiver has absolutely exploded on the national recruiting scene this season, surpassing 10 offers in the process. Smith has secured offers from schools such as Cal, Duke, Illinois, Indiana, UCLA and Washington State since mid-September.
His steady rise as a recruit coincides with tremendous on-field production. Smith has been dominant as a rusher and receiver for a 7-0 Notre Dame squad.
Through seven games, he’s collected 18 receptions for 630 yards (35 yards per catch) and 8 touchdowns, according to MaxPreps. Smith is averaging 10.7 yards per rushing attempt, leading to an additional 698 yards and 8 touchdowns. A kickoff-return score gives him a career-best 17 total touchdowns this season.
Check out his junior-season highlights here:
Much of the recent focus for Penn State recruiting efforts have centered on linemen. A slew of new targets has further built up the program’s big board in the trenches, and another blue-chip talent landed on that list Tuesday.
Khris Bogle, a 4-star defensive end from Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), is the latest lineman in Franklin’s crosshairs. This 6-4, 210-pound talent has more than 30 offers.
— Khris Bogle (@khris_a1) October 10, 2017
Bogle, considered the No. 12 weakside defensive end and No. 207 overall recruit in the 247Sports 2019 composite rankings, emerged as a must-know prospect during his sophomore season. A loaded offer list also includes Clemson, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State and Oklahoma.
Bogle, a lengthy edge rusher who also carries promise at outside linebacker, is well on his way toward a career-best campaign. The junior tallied 28 tackles — 11 for loss — and 10 sacks during Cardinal Gibbons’ first five contests, according to MaxPreps.
Penn State carries a pair of notable commitments from Florida defensive prospects in the 2018 recruiting cycle: defensive tackle Judge Culpepper and cornerback Jordan Miner.
Jones plays for Virginia powerhouse Bishop Sullivan Catholic (Virginia Beach). He’s been a well-known recruit since the early stages of his high school career, securing offers from Florida, Maryland, Tennessee and Virginia Tech before the 2016 season.
The 6-1, 165-pound playmaker has since added Alabama, Florida State, Georgia and Ohio State to an impressive list of options. Jones is considered the No. 1 cornerback recruit in initial 247Sports 2020 rankings.
He joins sophomore talents such as defensive end Bryan Bresee, defensive tackle Tre Williams and linebacker Mekhail Sherman among early 2020 Penn State targets on defense. Jones is the second Virginia talent to land on the Nittany Lions’ 2020 offer board, joining prized running back Chris Tyree.
Watch highlights of Jones from his most recent game here:
Miss any previous editions of our daily Penn State recruiting notebook? You can find them all here.
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