Penn State coach James Franklin has made it clear he believes that recruiting is a relationship-oriented business.
So far for Franklin, business has been very good.
Less than eight weeks since Franklin and his staff wrapped up a solid 2014 recruiting class, Penn State is putting together one of the nation's top classes for 2015.
Recruits cannot sign binding national letters of intent for 10 months. But the national analysts are beginning to take notice.
“When he was hired at Penn State, I said, ‘This is going to be bad news for a lot of programs,' ” Rivals.com national recruiting director Mike Farrell said. “And it's starting to come true.”
According to the three major recruiting services, no FBS program in the country has received as many Class of 2015 verbal commitments to this point as PSU's 11.
And when it comes to high school juniors buying in, it's not just quantity, it's quality. Seven of 11 prospects to make verbal commitments to Penn State are rated four stars by Rivals.com. Only Texas A&M has more (eight).
To put it in perspective, Bill O'Brien's staff got only eight Rivals.com four-star prospects (and one five-star) who signed with Penn State in almost exactly two years.
“Every weekend or every five days there it seems like there's a new commitment that visited on campus who really wasn't expected to commit and then does,” Farrell said. “Franklin is so good at recruiting, and is that good at closing.”
Penn State has beaten out Alabama, Notre Dame and Ohio State for individual prospects. They're also besting their neighbors.
Per Rivals, among current high school juniors who had scholarship offers from Pitt and Penn State and have already made a verbal commitment, the tally is 8-0, PSU.
Per Rivals rankings, four of Pennsylvania's top 10 in the Class of 2015 have committed. All chose Penn State.
His staff's efforts could begin to pay off in the WPIAL. Baldwin lineman Sterling Jenkins and Central Valley defensive back Jordan Whitehead are being heavily recruited by PSU.
“Overall, (Penn State's coaching staff) is very positive and extremely engaging with everybody,” Baldwin coach Pete Wagner said.