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Last updated: May 06. 2014 8:35PM - 4241 Views
By - dlevarse@civitasmedia.com



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If only the rules would allow it, James Franklin might just have grabbed the microphone in Hershey on Tuesday night to yell out the names of Sterling Jenkins and Brandon Wimbush.
 
The Penn State head coach was otherwise occupied with the opening stages of his Coaches Caravan tour when another two blue chip recruits gave their public pledges to the Nittany Lions.
 
NCAA regulations prohibit coaches from mentioning recruits by name to the media until they officially sign. But Franklin still found a way to recognize the triumphs.
 
According to reporters at the event in Hershey, Franklin opened his speech with an apology.
 
“If my phone rings,” he said to laughter from the crowd, “I'm answering it.”
 
Indeed he did. At one point during a Q-and-A session with fans, Franklin was called away to the side of the stage.
 
After a few moments he brought the phone back out with him, held it up and led the crowd in a “We Are” cheer to seranade the person on the other end.
 
Whether it was Jenkins or Wimbush, it was a significant win for the Lions.
 
Jenkins, a 6-foot-8 tackle from the Pittsburgh suburbs, is considered by multiple recruiting services to be to the top prospect in Pennsylvania for this cycle. Wimbush, meanwhile, is one of the highest-rated quarterbacks in the country, a mobile passer from a private school in Jersey City.
 
Both prospects have consensus four-star ratings and had scholarship offers from across the country. And both ultimately chose the Lions over Big Ten rival Ohio State, the No. 2 school on their respective lists.
 
It was a banner recuriting day for Franklin and his staff — one of many so far during their short tenure.
 
“We're feeling pretty good right now,” Franklin said. “We're gonna try to keep it rolling.”
 
With the additions of Jenkins and Wimbush, the Lions now have a whopping 15 verbal commitments for the 2015 class, which will sign on next February. With nine long months still to go, Penn State's class currently ranks second in the country, behind only perennial power Alabama.
 
Jenkins became the first — and largest — domino to fall early Tuesday evening when he made his pick official on the 6 p.m. newscast of KDKA in Pittsburgh.
 
“I really believe it's a place where I can prosper and take my abilities to the next level,” Jenkins said. “Everything that (offensive line coach Herb Hand) has been saying to me, building that relationship, I have the utmost confidence in attending there and doing the best I possibly can.
 
“I really enjoyed talking to the coaches, especially talking to Coach Hand and Coach Franklin. I can tell that they're genuine.”
 
The choice couldn't have come as much of a surprise to Franklin. Jenkins was in State College with his family on Monday, and the Baldwin High School standout likely gave the news a day early to his future coach before announcing himself.
 
He chose the Lions over a top grouping of Ohio State, Michigan, Pitt, Tennessee and Ole Miss. His commitment gives Penn State six of the top 15 players in the Keystone State, according to the 247Sports composite ranking.
 
Jenkins is rated No. 1, followed by OL Ryan Bates (No. 3), RB Andre Robinson (No. 4), RB Saquon Barkley (No. 7), DL Ryan Buchholz (No. 12) and LB Jake Cooper (No. 14).
 
Wimbush's decision came perhaps a bit sooner than expected. The St. Peter's Prep standout listed Penn State, Ohio State, Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College as his top five on Monday night, announcing he would be delivering his decision Tuesday.
 
Both players had also recently received offers from Alabama, an especially interesting development for Wimbush. His St. Peter's Prep teammate — Minkah Fitzpatrick, one of the top 50 recruits in the country — committed to the Crimson Tide last month.
 
But when it came time to pick a school for himself, Wimbush said he was drawn to Penn State's new coaching staff on a live webcast on Bleacher Report.
 
“Penn State, just having the energy right now that they have around the program, I feel like they're gonna come in and dominate the Big Ten,” Wimbush said.
 
“The other 2015 commits, I've talked to them, and they only have great things to say about the coaching staff. I've been up there three times and I just got a great vibe about the whole program and the people around the program.”
 
Below is Penn State's updated recruiting map, which can be expanded by clicking on the full-screen icon in the upper right corner of the frame. Click on either of the other two categories in the box on the left side to reveal offers to see where Penn State is concentrating its recruiting efforts.
 
—derek
 


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