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Penn State Football: Staff Hits Recruiting Trail In Germany

by on April 24, 2019 2:00 PM

Forget the DMV, Penn State is going to the EU to find future Nittany Lions.

Penn State coach James Franklin and assistants Tim Banks, Terry Smith and Sean Spencer are in Germany, according to tweets by Spencer. The staff is visiting with Brandon Collier, founder PPI, a recruiting database for international (American) football players.

This summer Franklin and his staff will welcome defensive tackle Joseph Darkwa to campus, a product of Germany and their relationship with Collier, one that started long ago at UMass where Collier played defensive tackle.

"He's a young man who actually played for Coach Spencer at UMass and started this kind of European training program and tour," Franklin said earlier this spring of Collier. "You see guys signing all over the country. So pretty exciting, pretty exciting from that perspective. And we're really excited about that young man that we were able to pick up."

Of course while Franklin and company are technically on a business trip, that doesn't mean that they haven't enjoyed the process of recruiting overseas or visiting Collier to see what other prospects he has his eye on.

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Take for example, Smith, who was more than happy to make the long flight to see Darkwa when the recruiting process began.

"I don't know if you guys know, but Terry is like the world traveler," Franklin said this spring. "So like every offseason he goes on some unbelievable trip with his family. I think last year they went to Africa. I forget -- he's been everywhere, literally going some unbelievable trip. They're going somewhere this summer too, he was just telling me the other day."

"You can imagine, Terry was like "I'll go," Franklin joked when talking about Darkwa's recruitment. "But he wanted to go for like two and a half weeks. Bring his wife and his kids and those types of things."

Overall this isn't Penn State's first foray into international recruiting, the Nittany Lions had Australian punter Daniel Pasquariello on the roster from 2014 through 2017 and teams around the country have turned to the down under for punters. Former Ohio State punter Cameron Johnston also hails from Australia, now punting for the Philadelphia Eagles. Penn State has also recruited a handful of players from Canada over the years, albeit a slightly less exotic recruiting trip.

Franklin also coached in Denmark for one season in 1996, an interesting stop early in his career.

Whatever comes of this particular trip to Germany remains to be seen, but it's safe to say the Penn State isn't afraid to look in unconventional places for talent, even if the process is a little bit different.

"I can't really say that any part of recruiting him was your usual situation," Franklin said of Darkwa. "It's very different. But I do think the way -- if you look at this program (PPI) it is growing. I mean, it's amazing how many guys have signed out of this program in the last couple of years. I see this becoming more and more of an emphasis."

And if that means more trips to interesting places, hard to imagine anyone on the staff complaining.



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