There is something that is not understood in today’s college football atmosphere. You see, it’s not supposed to be cool to play football at Penn State University. Playing on the gridiron in Happy Valley is supposed to be the furthest thing from a teenager’s mind. This is because people in positions of power within the school made unspeakable mistakes in the past–and have since been removed– that these athletes had absolutely nothing to do with, so they, and the current coaching staff, is supposed to suffer because of that,or so says the NCAA at least.
However, there’s one problem. Someone forgot to tell this to head coach Bill O’Brien, his coaching staff, and the top-tier prospective football recruits in the country.
This upcoming season was supposed to be the time period where Penn State began to feel the Berlin Wall of recruiting failures begin to fall upon them. The domino effect of their inevitable downfall and disappearance into obscurity was supposed to begin with nearly every considerable recruit in the nation refusing to go to the central-Pennsylvania institution. People referred to Penn State’s punishment dealt to them by the NCAA as this era’s version of the ‘Death Penalty.’ Top-level talent not going there was intended to render the program to the point of near irrelevancy by the time the five-year probation concludes.
Today, yet again, Bill O’Brien and his staff once again displayed that they will do everything in their power to make sure that the NCAA’s intended outcome for the football program never comes to fruition.
O’Brien and staff secured the commitment of four-star safety Marcus Allen from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, adding to an already impressive 2014 incoming class. Stuff like this wasn’t supposed to happen.
Although I was never one to pay too much attention to recruiting rankings, in this case, Penn State’s current 2014 recruiting rankings given their situation are nothing short of incredible. Popular recruiting site 24/7 has the Lions listed with the number 15 class for 2014, ESPN has them at 14, and Scout.com has them all the way up at 11–nearly cracking the Top 10.
How is this happening?
With promises of across-the-Atlantic Ocean games to supplement the absence of a bowl game, adequate preparation for a career at the next level from a man who has worked with the best in the game in Bill Belichick, and schooling from one of the most impressive academic institutions in the country–that’s how this is happening.
If you are the type to give the majority of your stock to recruiting rankings, then Penn State’s recruiting successes so far have them in prime position to field one of the more impressive programs every fall for the next few years to come. Again, not exactly what NCAA President Mark Emmert intended when he stood at the podium and announced the crippling sanctions early last Summer.
In 2017 when Penn State is scheduled to arise from the proverbial grave they were put in by the NCAA, they were supposed to literally be a zombie-like figure in regards to being an actual contending football program. If this kind of recruiting success keeps up, you might almost be able to pencil them in for a trip to the Big Ten Championship Game.