Fact or Fiction: Penn State is losing too many elite in-state prospects
National recruiting director Mike Farrell and national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney tackle three topics daily and determine whether they believe the statements or not.
FACT OR FICTION: Two SEC teams will make College Football Playoff
1. Penn State is losing too many elite in-state prospects.
Farrell’s take: FACT. There aren’t as many elite players in the state of Pennsylvania these days compared with the glory years when the WPIAL was amazing and the state was loaded with freaks in the Eastern and Western part of the state. But you still have to land the big ones if you’re Penn State and watching guys like Nolan Rucci, Marvin Harrison, Kyle McCord and Jeremiah Trotter Jr. all leave the state isn’t fun for PSU fans. This class is good but not great and the reason is the loss of in-state prospects.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. There are definitely a lot of misses in-state and if the Nittany Lions could keep some of those players home it would be huge. But their recruiting strategy is working. Of course, coach James Franklin wants more local kids to play in Happy Valley and the last few years have been especially frustrating with elite players leaving, but Penn State still is putting out top-20 classes, still got five-star Micah Parsons out of Harrisburg and the 2022 class is shaping up nicely with in-state kids.
I don’t think Penn State can win a Big Ten – or national title – led by mostly Pennsylvania kids. So sprinkling some in here and there in a recruiting class is good but going through the Mid-Atlantic and the Southeast is crucial. That’s what the Nittany Lions are doing.
2. A surprise team will make the college football playoff this season.
Farrell’s take: FICTION. Nope, not gonna happen. It will be Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma and Georgia and if it’s not Georgia it will be Florida. Auburn is a team to watch and could be a surprise but it’s hard to pick it over Alabama, which is simply loaded.
Gorney’s take: FACT. I have no idea how the season is going to play out – and neither does anyone else as teams play through a global health pandemic that could dramatically alter rosters week-to-week. If there is ever a time for a surprise to happen in college football it’s this season so I’m going to say something unique will happen.
I could see Notre Dame making the playoff if the Irish can find some playmakers and shore up some defensive questions. The team I’m high on this preseason is in the Big 12 where Oklahoma State could make a serious run to a conference championship and a berth in the playoff. With the Big Ten and Pac-12 not playing, the surprise options are limited but those are two I could see making it.
3) Oregon’s offensive line class is the best in the country.
Farrell’s take: FICTION. But it’s close. I have Alabama’s offensive line as the tops in the country with five-star Tommy Brockermeyer, likely future five-star JC Latham and four-stars Terrence Ferguson and James Brockermeyer. That’s a hard group to beat but Oregon is up there now with the addition of Kingsley Suamataia to the class that already has four-stars Bram Walden, Jonah Miller and Jackson Light. I love the way Mario Cristobal is recruiting like an SEC team in the Pac-12 and the Ducks will be a power to deal with for years.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Oregon is doing a phenomenal job recruiting across the board and this could be one of the best offensive line classes in school history, but Alabama’s class is unreal – and with the potential of even higher ranks over the coming months. That’s right – there’s a serious possibility that Alabama’s offensive line class is actually underranked. Oregon is good, but nothing compares with the Alabama class.