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Penn State Football: Franklin Talks Big Ten Title's Impact On Recruiting

by on February 01, 2017 5:15 PM

You may have heard, but Penn State won the Big Ten this season, went to the Rose Bowl and almost won that too. 

All told the 2016 season ended with the Nittany Lions looking back at an 11-3 season that was a better first half against Pitt and a slice of luck against USC from 13-1.

Not too shabby.

The question now is how Penn State goes about making the most of a successful season on the recruiting trail. 14 of the 21 players in Penn State's 2017 class committed before the Nittany Lions ever made the trip to Indianapolis. So were the next seven all the byproduct of big wins and a conference title?

According to James Franklin the answer is yes and no.

"I think it had a little bit of an impact this year, not as much as people think," Franklin said of the recruiting boost. "I think where it's probably going to have the biggest impact is the '18 class and the '19 class. These guys were sitting in their living rooms and at their high schools watching Penn State be really successful and play an exciting brand of football."

On the other hand it did make closing in on five-star corner Lamont Wade just a bit easier. So it's not as though having a shiny Big Ten title hurt the cause any.

"Wade, for example, I think it helped us a little bit about Lamont," Franklin added. "Mom, dad, and really the star of the family is his little sister. I felt like we were in really good shape with his family. The dad realized that Lamont wanted to see that. Lamont is a guy that had been going through this recruiting process for a long time and wanted to see it all. I think it probably had a little bit of an effect on him. It's a few guys at the end. Really, to be honest with you, not as much as people would think. It was more about the '18 class and the '19 class."

Or take Penn State's last minute get of four-star corner Tariq Castro-Fields. Weeks prior the Maryland native posted two pictures on Twitter of coaches from both schools visiting him at home. In one, James Franklin holding the Big Ten title trophy, in the other, Maryland coaches posing with Castro-Fields and a custom No. 5 Maryland jersey. A coincidence no doubt, but both programs showcasing where they finished the 2016 season in the Big Ten East Division.

So yes, it helps.

"Easier is not the right word," defensive recruiting coordinator Terry Smith added. "It allows us more opportunities, going on the road after winning the Big Ten and going to the Rose Bowl, you're in conversations with kids you weren't in conversations with a year or two ago. Whether you land those kids or not is one thing, but you have greater conversations."

"Winning obviously, attracts more attention.'

How long Penn State can play the Big Ten title card remains to be seen, but with seven commits in the 2018 class already including five-star DE Micah Parsons, things are certainly off to a good start.

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