Each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the Eye on College Football examines what current hot topic the fans of one BCS team are obsessing over -- rationally or not. Today's team: the Penn State Nittany Lions.
What they're talking about is ... the 2015 recruiting class. When Bill O'Brien left Penn State for the NFL it was perfectly logical for Penn State fans to worry. The program is still in the midst of NCAA sanctions, and the man who was guiding the ship through stormy waters just jumped in the lifeboat and took off. Things could have gone horribly awry.
Instead Penn State hired James Franklin, and if his recruiting in the first few months on the job is any indication, the Nittany Lions are going to be just fine.
Over the weekend Penn State picked up commitments from four-star offensive lineman Steven Gonzalez and four-star linebacker Josh Barajas. They were the tenth and eleventh commits for Penn State in its 2015 class and bumped the Lions up to second in 247Sports' composite rankings. Not second in the Big Ten, second in the nation. Ahead of places like Alabama, Florida State, LSU and Texas.
What they're saying is ... WOOOOOOOOOOO. It'd be hard for a Penn State fan not to be pumped about all this wouldn't it? Coming from the the uncertainty of a few months ago to the top of the recruiting rankings is quite the thrill ride.
-- "[James Franklin] IS LIKE IM A BOSS SUCK IT URBAN!!!!!!!!"
-- "Wow, amazing what this staff has done over the first few months. THE PRIDE IS RESTORED.. maybe, lets get to signing day first lol."
-- "Awesome. Only word I can think of to acuratt (edit. note: Normally I'm kind enough to correct the spelling mistakes in these posts, but the irony here is just too rich) describe it."
-- "You shouldn't be that surprised. We all knew PSU was a sleeping giant that was being held back."
-- "This Is Just The Beginning. AwesomE. SnoWball Effect….This Class Can Almost Take Care If Itself. Recruits Will See The Talent And Potential And Want To Jump Onboard. Hope This Cycle Continues For Years. (edit. note: Forgetting the grammatical problems that capitalizing every single word causes, isn't it just a lot more work to do so? Is this poster trying to create the most annoying "online brand" of all time?)
-- "Poaching kids from OSU. Poaching kids from Notre Dame. Staff is going hard. Whatever they are saying to these boys is working."
What we're saying is ... we'd probably be excited too, but there's a long way to go yet. During the offseason when there's no actual football to watch, recruiting is all the college football fan has, and right now Penn State is winning the offseason. The caveat, of course, is that like the one poster we quoted above, signing day is a long way off. A lot of things can happen over the course of ten months.
Plus, even the best recruiting classes can take a few seasons before finally paying off on the field.
All that being said, we're not trying to sound like a downer here. Penn State fans have been through a lot of bad in recent seasons, so when they finally have a reason to get excited and start celebrating, that's exactly what they should do.