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Fact or Fiction: Penn State is struggling on recruiting front

James Franklin
James Franklin (AP)

National recruiting director Mike Farrell and national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney tackle three topics daily and determine whether they believe the statements or not.

MORE: Big Ten recruiting snapshot


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1. Penn State is struggling on the recruiting front.

Farrell’s take: FICTION. I hear this all the time and I do get it because so many in-state targets are leaving dating back to last season with WR Julian Fleming. But this will be a small class for Penn State coach James Franklin, so it’s more about quality than quantity and this class has a solid 3.54 star average. Have there been some misses, especially along the OL? Yes. But it’s not time to panic yet and more talent is coming. Oh and the 2022 class is off to a great start.

Gorney’s take: FACT. I understand the small class and so being tied for the fewest commits in the Big Ten is not my concern. Too many elite players leaving the state is an issue though.

Quarterback Kyle McCord is the No. 1 player in Pennsylvania and he’s going to Ohio State. High four-star offensive tackle Nolan Rucci picking Wisconsin over the Nittany Lions does hurt. This is a really talented in-state group in 2021 and none of the top-nine have picked Penn State although the Lions lead for four-star safety Derrick Davis.

Last cycle, losing out on Fleming, who lived 90 minutes from State College, really hurt. Micah Parsons was the last No. 1 in-state player to pick Penn State. The Nittany Lions need to recruit regionally and into the Southeast to win Big Ten titles, they can’t just rely on in-state kids, but too many have been leaving recently.


2. Texas needs this win more than Oklahoma.

Sam Ehlinger
Sam Ehlinger (AP)

Farrell’s take: FACT. Even if Oklahoma drops to 1-3, Lincoln Riley will not be on the hot seat. Texas coach Tom Herman is and fresh off a miracle win against Texas Tech and yet another loss to TCU, he needs this game badly. The team does as well for morale purposes. Recruiting is falling apart with Billy Bowman’s decommitment (and potential flip to Oklahoma). This is a must win for Herman’s Texas career.

Gorney’s take: FACT. Oklahoma has won seven of the last 10 matchups, almost all of them close games over the last decade. The Sooners have won two-straight. And Herman is on the hot seat because Texas has been frustratingly average for large portions of his time in Austin.

Losing to TCU last weekend was bad. Almost losing to Texas Tech and escaping with an overtime victory two weekends ago was not all that hot, either. And now this week Bowman de-commits from Texas and could be headed to Oklahoma, although the Longhorns are not out of that one. Texas definitely needs this win more. Riley has been phenomenal at Oklahoma and could write his own ticket. A few more losses and Texas might be writing Herman’s ticket out of town.

3. Rutgers is not getting enough recruiting love nationally.

Farrell’s take: FACT. Greg Schiano's class is in the national top 25 with a 2.86 star rating with some nice in-state keeps like DB Alijah Clark and LB Khayri Banton, but no one talks about Rutgers because of how horrible they were under Kyle Flood and Chris Ash. Schiano won’t be hoisting any Big Ten titles anytime soon, but Rutgers can get back to respectability with recruiting like this.

Gorney’s take: FACT. Rutgers’ recruiting class - Rutgers! - is ranked higher than Virginia, Florida State, Cal, Boston College, Mississippi State, Baylor, Washington, Auburn, Penn State, and Michigan State. That’s incredible. Even if it doesn’t end up that way in the team rankings, Schiano is landing some players who could make the Scarlet Knights credible again on the football field, maybe even a tough-out in the Big Ten East. The problem for Rutgers is that division is so loaded from top to bottom, even Indiana is getting better, that getting wins is going to be very difficult. But Schiano is making Rutgers competitive again and that’s a positive first step because the last few years under Ash were just a complete dumpster fire.