In 2014, names like McSorley, Gesicki, Cabinda, Hamilton, and Allen made their intentions known just a short time after Franklin’s arrival and held together a class that could have fallen apart. In 2015 a kid named Barkley faxed in his decision, along with the likes of Reid, Farmer, and Bowen, among many others. Last year, Miles Sanders, Connor McGovern, Michael Menet and Shane Simmons represented the jewels of another Top-15 class and this year has proven to be no different. Lamont Wade is already enrolled on campus, and ready to rock and roll in Blue and White. The Pittsburgh-native is a coveted 5-star sought by most everyone in college football and is widely viewed as seeing immediate playing time, whether it be at cornerback, on offense, or in the return game. In my opinion, Wade was a must-get for a coach that ushered in the “Dominate the State” era and represents a major piece of the puzzle as the Nittany Lions look to build upon their Big Ten Championship season.
Three others, O-Lineman Mike Miranda of Ohio, speed demon KJ Hamler from Michigan, and North Carolina Linebacker Brendan Walden-Faison enrolled in January and have already hit the ground running along with Wade. Others expected to fax in their commitment include Ohio quarterback Sean Clifford, O-Linemen CJ Thorpe (whose dad Chris played at Penn State), Des Holmes, and Rob Martin. Wide receiver’s Mac Hippenhamer and Cameron Sullivan-Brown, D-tackle Damion Barber, and running back Journey Brown are favoring Penn State. The last group in the list includes linebacker/safety Brailyn Franklin, cornerbacks DJ Brown, Donovan Johnson, Jonny Sutherland, Virginia’s Yetur Matos and Ellis Brooks, and New Jersey’s Fred Hansford and Cory Bolds (an early morning addition). There may also be a possible surprise or two for those following along at home.
Whatever the future holds for these young men, only time will tell. A few will find the spotlight right away, while most will take the necessary time to acclimate themselves to the college environment. As of this morning, once the fax comes in, they all become members of our family and we welcome them with open arms and an eye towards the future. For FrankLion and Co., this class is four years in the making and represents a missing piece to the puzzle, a puzzle that was in disarray and undermanned back in 2014. It’s a squad that took one on the chin in the closing seconds of the Rose Bowl but came away more determined and confidant than ever. The once-proclaimed “used car salesman” because of his prowess on the recruiting road now has the signature win and the signature season at his disposal when it comes to selling Penn State. The Class of 2018 is already highly regarded and well under way, but today is a day to honor and recognize those who make their commitment official and sign on the dotted line. Welcome to the Pride and welcome to Penn State!