Penn State Spring Game and the Future of the Nittany Lions

A lot of desperate to see some football Penn State fans came out to see the Spring Game, but it may have been one of the more plain ones we saw this Spring. We always have to hear about SEC or Southern passion for football but the Nittany Lions drew more fans than a lot of SEC teams.

The real story here is James Franklin. Interest is extremely high at Penn State, thanks to Franklin’s arrival.

 

Franklin is a serious talent. It will be interesting to see if he ignores the NFL and sticks around in the college game. James Franklin should be a game changer at Penn State. As a fan of college football, I hope Franklin decides to stay at Penn State and declines any offers to move to the pros.

Franklin is an outstanding recruiter and an outstanding coach that brings out the best in his players.

He inherited a great freshman QB and managed to pull in a 4 star QB out of Florida in Michael O’Connor. Incidentally, O’Connor’s high school football coach was former Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke from Florida State. O’Connor is definitely not afraid of competition.

 

For the 2015 class, Franklin has a commitment from another 4 star QB, Brandon Wimbush out of Jersey City, New Jersey. Wimbush apparently does not fear competition, either.

Because of the fiasco at Penn State, they are short on talent and depth. Franklin and staff brought in some talent in the 2014 recruiting class. Now, they have 14 guys committed for the 2015 recruiting class, with 8 of them being 4 star recruits.

Franklin obviously will upgrade the talent level in State College and be extremely competitive very soon. Right now, he has the same problems Bill O’Brien had with a lot of walk on players that have earned starting positions and scholarships.

 

The other story here, is Christian Hackenburg.

 

Hackenburg was the top Pro Style Passing QB prospect in the country in the 2013. Lots of people will argue about rankings, but Hackenburg quietly went about his business of leading Penn State’s offense and threw for just a shade under 3000 yards.

This article could bring some trouble, but Hackenburg just may be the top Penn State QB in their history by the time he is gone. Hackenburg probably only stays 3 years and then the job is going to be a battle between O’Connor and Wimbush, if he follows through with signing with PSU.

Only problem I see with the development of Hackenburg is the lack of talent surrounding him at the moment.

The lack of depth in the Offensive Line is fairly alarming. They don’t exactly have a Curt Warner at RB, but they do have his son Jonathon at WR. The Lions have some players returning at the skill positions and they should be productive. But, they don’t have a Curt Warner type at RB.

Walk-on, or Run-on as they say in the Northeast, Cole Chiappialle was the most exciting player on the Penn State offense to watch during this game. Looks like another Danny Woodhead, an undersized guy that is incredibly hard to tackle and has great balance and quickness. Will be interesting to see if #33, Chiappialle, gets any playing time this season.

 

Penn State Spring Scrimmage may have been the dullest of all of the scrimmages I saw this Spring. But, no matter, most coaches don’t want to show to much in the Spring Game and I am sure that James Franklin had the same thing in mind.

Penn State may be a year or two away from the upper standings in the Big 12, but there’s no doubt that James Franklin will get them there in a hurry. Anybody that can coach 3 years at Vanderbilt and have 3 straight winning seasons and 3 straight bowl games should be high on anyone’s top coaching lists.

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