By: Thomas Frank Carr
“We still have a need at DEFENSIVE END… and OFFENSIVE TACKLE,” said a jocular James Frnaklin on early signing day for Penn State football. The Nittany Lions had just secured a probable top 5 class under Franklin’s direction, but the tenacious recruiter was not done trying to add to his impressive list of signed commitments.
His hard work paid off when four star defensive end Jayson Oweh chose the Nittany Lions over Ohio State after the third quarter of the Under Armour All-American game on Thursday night. The 6-6, 240 pound end saved his verbal commitment until after the game, as many recruits have done in the past.
With the new early signing period in college football for the 2018 season, Franklin and other coaches around the country were able to secure large parts of their class before the traditional signing day in February. Yet top players like Oweh who decide to postpone their announcements and signing, will become very big fish in a small pond for coaches at top programs. Something that Franklin is concerned about,
“I worry a little about the second signing period because there are a few guys and a bunch of schools that want those few guys. In the past, those schools were trying to chase 20 guys, and now you’re going to have 20 schools chasing one guy. It’s going to get interesting.”
In this particular chase, Franklin got his man, which was a critical piece to the class, allowing the Nittany Lions to play five-star prospect Micha Parsons to middle linebacker and still have a quality prospect at defensive end in the 2018 draft class.
When asked why he chose Penn State, Oweh said that the Nittany Lions “felt like family” and it “was the right thing to do”.
With only three spots left in the 2018 recruiting class, that family is nearly complete.