No thrills, no disappointments, it was just another ho-hum day in Happy Valley. James Franklin couldn’t have been happier.

Penn State signed all 15 of its commitments before the morning ended. While Penn State didn’t land any surprises, it also didn’t lose anyone. With 2 feet of snow accumulating on the ground and a game against Illinois still to prepare for, the Nittany Lions were able to move on with their normal game preparation without any drama.

This class may end up being the lowest ranked of Franklin’s tenure, but there’s still plenty of talent coming to Beaver Stadium in 2021. These are the 5 biggest takeaways from Day 1 of the Early Signing Period:


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1. Alumni involvement

Franklin reiterated on Tuesday just how important it was for him to make this day special for his recruits despite not being able to have all the usual pomp and circumstance of a typical year. Penn State’s approach to celebrating its recruits was to bring in some pretty big Penn State alumni to announce some of the signings.

Allen Robinson of the Chicago Bears kicked things off with Penn State’s first two recruits, announcing the signings of Kobe and Kalen King of Michigan (left and right, respectively, in cover photo).

As the rest of the morning unfolded, future Nittany Lions heard their names announced by the likes of former players K.J. Hamler, Micah Parsons, Jason Cabinda, Adrian Amos and Donovan Smith.

The alumni weren’t just football related. ABC’s Lara Spencer and James Franklin doppelganger Keegan Michael Key joined in on the fun as well.

2. The Michigan pipeline

While Penn State struggled on its own turf, landing just 1 of the top-10 recruits in Pennsylvania, 4 of the Lions’ top 7 signings hail from the state of Michigan.

The aforementioned King brothers are from Detroit, as is 4-star safety Jaylen Reed. Jamari Buddin is a 3-star linebacker and the 11th best player in the state.

In total, Penn State signed 4 of the top 12 players from Michigan, outperforming the Wolverines, who landed just 3 in the top 12, and Michigan State, which signed only 1. It was a pretty good day for the Lions poaching players in enemy territory.

3. The Lonnie White Jr. dilemma

White, a 4-star receiver and the 196th best recruit in the country, was Penn State’s second best signing of the day (behind OT Landon Tengwall) and will be a warm welcome to a receiving room that could be losing Jahan Dotson to the NFL.

White’s a talented athlete, but that’s also the rub. The Malvern Prep star is a two-sport player, committing to play both football and baseball for the Nittany Lions, not unlike Mac Hippenhammer in past years. White had originally committed to play baseball at Clemson.

MLB Pipeline recently named White the No. 37 prospect for the 2021 MLB Draft, when he is expected to be an early-round pick for a professional baseball team. While he made an important decision today selecting Penn State, he’ll be faced with an even tougher call in July when he has to choose between turning pro or staying with the Lions.

4. The one that kind of got away

It was for less than a week, but Penn State fans held out hope that the No. 1 cornerback prospect in the JUCO rankings and the No. 2 overall JUCO prospect in the country, De’Jahn Warren, might somehow end up in Happy Valley.

It was widely believed the now former Lackawanna player was flipping from Georgia, the only question was to where. Last Thursday he sent out a pair of tweets teasing Penn State.

He ultimately did decide to spurn Georgia, but rather than Penn State, he’ll be joining coach Deion Sanders at Jackson State.

5. The waiting game

Penn State’s class is still positioned to get better by week’s end and in February.

Deshun Murrell, a 3-star running back from Centreville, Ala., was originally a UCLA commit, but that is believed likely to change. Penn State and Oklahoma State are the two biggest contenders expected to flip the recruit. He will be announcing his decision on Friday at 11 a.m. ET.

Also, getting 4-star defensive tackle George Rooks would be a great development for Penn State. A New Jersey product, he would be the 4th highest rated player in Penn State’s class. He was thought to be a sure thing for Boston College, but 247 changed its crystal ball predictions to make Penn State the leader in the clubhouse over the Eagles and Michigan. Rooks may sign later this week, but he could also wait until February.