The morning after Penn State received a commitment from four-star wide receiver Chris Godwin, one national recruiting analyst said the Nittany Lions and coach Bill O'Brien continue to impress him.
"They've recovered a lot quicker than I thought they would," Mike Farrell of Rivals.com said Wednesday. "I didn't expect their top four kids to stick with them last year. I didn't expect them to be reeling in four-star recruits less than nine months after the (NCAA) sanctions came down. The program is flourishing under the sanctions instead of dying."
The 6-1, 197-pound Godwin, the 2012 Delaware player of the year, committed to Penn State late Tuesday night and became the sixth member of the Lions' Class of 2014.
Godwin, a rising senior at Middletown High, caught 42 passes for 834 yards and 12 touchdowns last season and also rushed for five TDs. He was an all-state selection on offense and defense and helped his team win the Division I state championship.
"He's a heck of a player," said Sean Fitz of Lions247 Sports. "He's college-ready with deceptive speed. He has very good body control. He's the complete package. This kid can play."
Godwin's decision came on the heels of commitments by wide receivers De'Andre Thompkins of Swansboro, N.C., last Saturday at the Blue-White Game, and Troy Apke of Mount Lebanon in suburban Pittsburgh earlier this month.
Thompkins and Apke received either three-star or four-star ratings from the various recruiting outlets.
"They set out to take two receivers," Fitz said of Penn State. "When Thompkins committed, they weren't sure they'd be able to squeeze Godwin in. But Godwin's too good of a player. He's a guy who probably can contribute pretty early."
Godwin also received offers from California, Maryland, North Carolina State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Rutgers, Stanford, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.
The 6-0, 175-pound Thompkins also received offers from Clemson, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, NC State, Notre Dame, Tennessee and West Virginia. He played mostly at running back last season, rushing for 1,359 yards and 10 TDs and catching four passes for 96 yards and a TD.
Thompkins also is outstanding on special teams, returning five kickoffs for scores last season.
"He's a slot receiver who's so valuable in Bill O'Brien's offense," Farrell said. "He can be a great kickoff and punt returner. His special teams work shows how dangerous he can be."
The 6-2, 175-pound Apke chose Penn State over Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Minnesota and Pittsburgh. He caught 54 passes for 1,048 yards and 13 touchdowns last season.
"They've added legitimate speed with these three guys," Fitz said. "They all run between 4.4 and 4.5 (seconds in the 40-yard dash)."
With the addition of Godwin and Thompkins, Penn State has risen in the Class of 2014 national recruiting rankings: No. 13 by Rivals, No. 14 by Scout and No. 17 by 247 Sports.
"You can't doubt this guy anymore," Farrell said of O'Brien. "This guy can coach, and he can recruit. Period. He's getting guys who I didn't think that he'd get. Kudos to him.
"There are a lot of programs in the Big Ten that really have to be frustrated. They thought they didn't have to worry about Penn State, but they do."