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Roundup: Lions named to preseason All-American team; coach rankings, more

The Penn State universe has a laser focus on recruiting as July begins, and with good reason.

Six prospects have picked the Lions since last Friday, which has catapulted the program to No. 3 in the country, according to Rivals' team rankings.

The 18-member class is fairly balanced but slightly tipped toward Mike Yurcich's side of the ball at the moment, as it features 10 future players on offense, six defenders, one specialist, and athlete Mehki Flowers, who could play on either side of the ball in the future. The group consists of more four-star than three-star or lower prospects, as well.

There is plenty more to discuss on the recruiting front, which you can do inside The Lion's Den.

For now, though, we're taking a quick breather from that to share some notes about the current members of the program from around the college football world.

Dotson, Brisker earn preseason All-American nods

Nothing screams early July like preseason All-American teams, which are starting to be posted around the web.

Sporting News was the latest outlet to market in that regard, and national reporter/columnist Bill Bender listed a pair of Lions on his pair of teams, headlined by receiver Jahan Dotson being named to the first-team.

"Dotson was among the bright spots for the Nittany Lions last season," Bender writes. "He averaged 17.0 yards per reception, and he had five games with 100 yards or more. Dotson’s 144-yard, three-TD performance against Ohio State in primetime highlighted a skillset that will translate well at the next level."

Read BWI's magazine cover story feature on Dotson

Dotson could have left for the NFL following the 2020 season but decided to return with something to prove after he was snubbed from a top All-Big Ten team spot following an impressive season a year ago. The Nazareth, Pa., product will be dangerous on offense and in the return game for the Lions this fall.

Safety Jaquan Brisker also made the cut, as he was selected to Bender's second All-American team.

Like Dotson, Brisker could have gone to the pros, too, but instead decided to come back and build on a year that saw him make made 57 tackles in addition to five passes defended and an interception.

Jaquan Brisker, college football, penn state football,
Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker in action. Photo courtesy of Mark Selders/Penn State Athletics

Big Ten coach rankings revealed 

Another sign that camp is coming but not quite here yet is the annual ranking of the coaches, but nationally and by conference.

James Franklin has steadily climbed these lists over the last few years, but after a 4-5 2020 season, he checks in at No. 3 in CBS Sports' 2021 Big Ten rankings behind Ryan Day and Pat Fitzgerald after being No. 1 in the 2020 rankings.

Nationally, he's No. 13.

The drop isn't a great surprise: While it's not fair to hold too much of last year against any coach or program, it's still the latest season we have to reference, and it was not the prettiest for the Nittany Lions.

Franklin can climb back to the top, but it's going to take a big season, and a win over Ohio State in Columbus, to make that happen.

Question of the day

We'll close with this from inside the Den this morning:

Q: I am wondering when the shift from recruiting to thinking about the 2021 season will happen here and in the PS universe?

A: With more decisions on the horizon, I would expect the majority of Penn State fans to stay locked in on recruiting until the week of July 19.

There will be decisions that come in the second half of this month, of course, but later that week, Big Ten Media Days will unofficially open the season at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

At that point, the conversation will become much more team-centric, I believe, as Franklin and players join their peers from across the conference to discuss the schedule ahead.

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