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Penn State Football: Five Star Defensive End Continues Momentum For 2016 Recruiting Class

by on August 03, 2014 11:00 AM

Penn State landed a verbal commitment from five-star defensive end Shane Simmons earlier this week continuing a run of momentum for the Nittany Lions' 2016 recruiting class.

Simmons, is ranked the second best defensive end in the class of 2016 and the 25th-best overall player according to Rivals.

Simmons had offers from Ohio State, Alabama, Notre Dame, defending National Champion Florida State as well as many others.

Making his decision official at his school --DeMatha Catholic-- Simmons became the second commitment in Penn State’s class of 2016 joining four-star running back Miles Sanders. He and Sanders' commitments have the Nittany Lions' ranked No. 10 in the nation for the class of 2016 although it is far too early in every regard to project where Penn State will eventually end up when the class is completed over a year from now.

Even if Simmons isn't truly five-star talent (The 247 Network -- one which ranks more players at the five-star than any other recruiting service -- is the only outfit currently giving Simmons his fifth star) he still represents a good start for what very well could be one of the more important recruiting classes in recent Penn State history.

Certainly James Franklin's ability to pull together the No. 4 rated recruiting class for 2015 is a massive victory, but it is also built on a few things: Franklin's personal hype, the lure of early playing time, and a promise of a bigger and better future for the program.

For 2016, that early playing time will likely be gone, Penn State will have lost games under Franklin and the Nittany Lions' bright future may still feel a few years away. The process simply takes time, and will have its ups and downs.

Being able to continue forward momentum on the field and on the recruiting trail is crucial for Franklin and his staff in order for them to achieve what they believe they can make happen at Penn State. One great recruiting class might lead to a few great seasons, but sustained success on the recruiting trail in the face of challenges and obstacles can lead to bigger and better things.

Shane Simmons' commitment is an important step in that journey, but ultimately, it is only one step.

But for a program still waiting to be fully free of NCAA sanctions, Franklin will take every step forward he can get.

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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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