New Penn State head coach James Franklin is already managing to turn heads and change minds during his brief stint as Penn State's new head coach.

Franklin ventured to New Jersey and California to pick up his latest football recruits over the weekend. Both young men had previously committed to other schools before changing their minds and agreeing to become Nittany Lions.

Saeed Blacknall, a wide receiver from Manalapan, N.J., verbally committed to the Nittany Lions on Sunday after previously committing to Rutgers.

In addition, Koa Farmer, a 6-foot, 1-inch 200-pound linebacker/safety from Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Calif., gave a verbal commitment to the Nittany Lions on Saturday. Farmer had been previously committed to California.

In addition, Franklin had previously convinced five of his former Vanderbilt recruits to switch to Penn State.

The 6-foot, 3-inch, 205-pound Blacknall is rated a four-star recruit on five-star scale by both Scout.com and Rivals.com. He also reportedly had offers from powers such as Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Louisiana State, Michigan, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Ohio State.

"I have officially committed to THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY #WeARE....," Blacknall tweeted. "Thanks for everyone's support at RU. This was not easy."

Farmer, meanwhile, also reportedly had offers from Wisconsin, Washington, Vanderbilt, Colorado and Utah, among others. He was rated a three-star recruit, on a five-star scale by Scout.com and a four-star recruit by Rivals.com.


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Farmer announced his commitment to Penn State via Instagram, which included a picture of himself and Franklin during Saturday's official visit.

"The journey is done! First I want to thank California-Berkeley for the great and outstanding opportunity. It has been a long and powerful journey," Farmer said on his account. "I am blessed to announce that I will be ending the recruiting process and attend PENN STATE UNIVERSITY were I will become DR. FARMER and fulfill my dream of becoming a P.H.D in Pathology! We Penn State are on the rise. We are going to win the Rose Bowl. We are going to win a national championship. All I can say now is #WEARE #PENNSTATE"

Penn State now has 24 commitments in its 2014 recruiting class, including five players who have already enrolled at PSU. The Nittany Lions' class is rated No. 21 nationally by Rivals.com and No. 22 by Scout.com.

Verbal commitments will become binding on National Letter of Intent Day on Wednesday, Feb. 5.

— Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.