Blue White Illustrated

March 2024

Penn State Sports Magazine

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Site Lines C O M M E N T S F R O M T H E L I O N S D E N A T B L U E W H I T E I L L U S T R A T E D . C O M MARCH 2024/VOL. 39, NO. 7 MANAGING EDITOR Matt Herb CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Stu Coman Cathy Jones Chris Riffer WEBSITE PUBLISHER Sean Fitz WEBSITE EDITOR Nate Bauer STAFF WRITER Greg Pickel RECRUITING REPORTER Ryan Snyder FOOTBALL ANALYST Thomas Frank Carr CONTRIBUTING WRITER Jim Carlson PHOTOGRAPHY Daniel Althouse, Bill Anderson, Steve Manuel, Mark Selders COVER PHOTO Penn State Athletics DESIGN Jeanette Blankenship Chris Miller F F F PUBLISHER Mark Panus BUSINESS MANAGER Linda Autry CIRCULATION MANAGER Crystal Clayton ADVERTISING SALES Maria Taustine (502) 552-4390 CUSTOMER SERVICE Cathy Jones, Stephanie Petchers (800) 421-7751 BLUE WHITE ILLUSTRATED (USPS 742-550) is published monthly, except June, by Coman Publishing Co., a division of On3 Media, Inc., located at 905 W. Main St., Suite 24F, Durham, NC 27701. A one-year (11 issues) subscription is $68.00. First-class, digital and foreign rates available on request. Periodicals postage paid at Durham, NC 27701 and additional mailing offices. Printed by The Papers, Milford, Ind. POSTMASTER: Please send address correc- tions/changes to BLUE WHITE ILLUSTRATED, PO Box 2331, Durham NC 27702-2331. For advertising or subscription information call 1-919-688-0218 or write BLUE WHITE ILLUSTRATED, PO Box 2331, Durham NC 27702. W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M ON THE NITTANY LIONS' 2024 FOOTBALL RECRUITING CLASS … This is a very glass-half-full take, but I feel that this 2024 recruiting class has the potential to signifi- cantly outperform their ranking. Really good group on the lines, a top-notch quarterback, and some solid pieces to work with at every other position. Fill in the gaps as needed through other classes and the portal. Also, it feels like we are going to hear about a few kids who are turning heads early in camp, who are currently on the lower end of the recruiting rankings. — PaulPosluvzme The fact that PA in general doesn't see much love from the rating services is my reason for optimism about this class. To be sure, the quality of PA football has declined relative to several other states. But we aren't talking regional depth here. … There are still good athletes and there's still good coaching and still a strong football culture, even in places where things aren't the same as they were in the '70s and '80s. My concern for the last several cycles continues, however. We seem to have trouble consistently at- tracting players at the wide receiver position. That seems to correspond with a decline in WR talent in the state. When an outlier like Julian Fleming pops up, we swing and miss. — Old As Dirt Rankings are nice and all, but in my opinion, this class has a lot of players who are ranked too low. … One thing I really look at is where we're at positionally. We have a top-10 quarterback, top-10 running back if you put Quinton Martin at that position, top-10 tight end, top-10 offensive tackle, maybe the top interior offensive lineman in the country. That's a loaded group on offense, with once again wide receiver recruiting being the outlier. — MartyFids ON WHETHER PENN STATE FANS SHOULD FEEL OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE 2024 FOOTBALL SEASON … I'm not sure why so many people think the defense is losing so much. We are losing great players, but we still have great players. A new coordinator may use our players differently, and our corners are young, so I get some concern there, but it's not like we just lost 11 first-round draft picks and are replacing them with inexperienced two-stars. In that same vein, we lost Manny Diaz, but it's not like we replaced him with a GA who never coached a defense before. Do I think the defense will be No. 1 in the country next year? No. But do I think we just jumped off the cliff? No. We should have a very good to elite (whatever that even means) defense. — SeamusPSU What is there not to be optimistic about? Sure, Ohio State is going to be a beast, and they may just win it all. (Funny how different things look compared to three weeks ago when everyone was writing Ryan Day's obituary.) But we've got a team that will be favored in 11 games next year and will have a great chance to make the first 12-team playoff. It's going to be fun! — Jdpsu07 The schedule is a three-game schedule. Take two of three from USC, Wisconsin and Ohio State and you get to the playoff. We can handle the rest. UCLA, West Virginia and Washington don't have enough horses. West Virginia loses everyone on defense. — Scatman07 The biggest points of optimism should really be that we don't play Ohio State and Michigan every year. We can lose against OSU and still make the Big Ten Championship Game and playoff. — Case_Psu James Franklin's strategy of getting just enough NIL money to retain his team will eventually pay off, I hope. He's been here 10 years and knows what he's dealing with. Getting money to keep our own players happy is an easier pill to swallow for PSU donors. If that's the best he can do, he's doing it. And it fits with his family culture and frankly the PSU culture. Is it harder to win? Sure. But, in the end, it may be worth it. I don't know, I'm on my third martini, but I am optimistic. — ericjpro 4 M A R C H 2 0 2 4 Under James Franklin's leadership, Penn State landed a 25-member class that finished 16th nationally in the On3 Industry Team Ranking. PHOTO BY RYAN SNYDER

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