Penn State Nittany Lions: Tyler Boyd

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- James Franklin hasn't even spent one night in Happy Valley, but Penn State's new head coach has already thrown down the recruiting gauntlet against Pittsburgh and other teams in the northeast.

"Our recruiting philosophy," Franklin said Saturday afternoon during his introductory press conference, "we are going to dominate the state. We are going to dominate the region.

"I'm going to call all the high school coaches. I'm calling all the people in the state that we need to come together like never before."

[+] EnlargeJames Franklin
Matthew O'Haren/USA TODAY SportsJames Franklin didn't mince words when talking about recruiting, say that it's his mission for the Nittany Lions to dominate within the state of Pennsylvania.
Franklin emphasized every line about recruiting and spoke passionately during his first-ever news conference as the Penn State head coach. He's been widely regarded as an incredible recruiter -- he reeled in 22 four-star commits during his time at Vanderbilt -- and he didn't hesitate when asked about his high recruiting hopes.

The new coach's bold statement comes after years of PSU routinely losing out in western Pennsylvania. Sure, Penn State has earned commitments of some prospects such as wideout Troy Apke, but it's missed more than it's hit. PSU fell out of favor with ESPN 300 targets such as WR Tyler Boyd (2013 commit; Pitt), ATH Dravon Henry (2014 commit; West Virginia) and DB Montae Nicholson (2014 commit; Michigan State).

Beating Pitt out for recruits in its own backyard is a daring statement. So, a few minutes after answering his first recruiting question, Franklin was given a chance to soften his words. This time, he was asked where his recruiting focus lay -- but he again wasted no time in reinforcing his original point.

"I don't know if I mentioned this before, but we're going to dominate the state," he said matter-of-factly. "That's the first thing we're going to do."

And after that? Well, Franklin said next comes the region, in such states and areas as New Jersey, New York, New England, Virginia and Delaware. And, then, comes the nation.

"I think you sell yourself short when you don't do that," said the coach who got three commitments from California in Vanderbilt's last class.

Of course, Franklin never specifically mentioned Pitt at that point in the press conference. Maybe he'd back down if that was spelled out to him, maybe he'd try to soften up all this talk of dominating and controlling. It was an interesting thing to say, after all, for his first day on the job.

But Franklin just doubled-down on those statements when Pitt was specifically mentioned in one reporter's question.

"When I say Pennsylvania, when I say Penn State, that's the whole state," he said. "That is the whole state. We will recruit every corner of this state, every school of this state, every neighborhood of this state.

"And when I say recruit, not only just the student-athletes. I mean the people of the great state of Pennsylvania. We will recruit everybody, and that is with tremendous respect for the University of Pittsburgh. But we are ... Penn State."

2014 PSU spotlight: DB Dravon Henry 

May, 16, 2013
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video Heading into summer, NittanyNation will look closer at the 2014 recruits who claim offers from Penn State. Today we examine four-star DB Dravon Henry, who's No. 127 in the ESPN 150.

Vitals: DB Dravon Henry, Aliquippa (Pa.) High School, 5-foot-11, 181 pounds

Offers: He holds about two dozen right now. For those of you bad at math, that means about 1-in-5 of FBS schools have decided to extend Henry an offer. He's in high demand, and some of his top offers include Florida State, Michigan, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, UCLA, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

NittanyNation mailbag: Sanctions, maybes 

February, 1, 2013
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Tyler BoydAP Photo/Phelan M. EbenhackTyler Boyd likely would have committed to PSU if there were no sanctions.

Welcome to NittanyNation's bi-weekly mailbag! We asked you to tweet or email your questions this week, and we've selected three to answer in-depth.

William Amesbury (@WAmesbury16) writes: Where do you think the 2013 recruiting class would be without the sanctions?


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Signing day primer: Penn State 

January, 23, 2013
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With two weeks left until signing day, NittanyNation takes a closer look at what fans should know about the state of the class and this Penn State team.

Team needs: Defensive coordinator John Butler made it clear he wasn't happy with the secondary's depth last season. At cornerback, untested true freshman Da'Quan Davis was the backup, and the safeties opened the year as the team's weakness.

That's not the only concern. With Matt McGloin's departure, Steven Bench is now the most experienced quarterback on the team. And he threw just eight passes last season. Linebacker is also a position that could use a few extra bodies, especially with Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges making a run at the NFL.

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Trio of PSU pledges on Big 33 team

January, 13, 2013
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Three future Penn State players -- two commits, one preferred walk-on -- have earned spots on the Pennsylvania team in the Big 33 Football Classic, an annual all-star game that now pits players from Maryland and the Keystone state.

Three-star athlete Zayd Issah (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) will play outside linebacker, while four-star OL Andrew Nelson (Hershey, Pa./Hershey) will be on offensive line. Preferred walk-on Evan Galimberti (State College, Pa./State College) will join him there.

Maryland will not choose its team until next month. The game will kick off on Saturday, June 15 at 7:06 p.m., in HersheyPark Stadium.

The all-star game traces its roots to 1957 and has at times included Texas, Ohio and East Pa. vs. West Pa. This will be the first year Pennsylvania doesn't play Ohio in 14 years; the Big 33 signed a five-year contract with Maryland in late October.

In the last meeting between Pennsylvania and Maryland was in 1992. Pennsylvania won 38-0.

Other familiar names to make the team include Pitt commit WR Tyler Boyd, PSU target LB Chris Britton, Pitt commit (and former PSU commit) OL Dorian Johnson, PSU target WR Brian Lemelle, South Carolina commit RB David Williams and Michigan State commits QB Damion Terry and SS Delton Williams.

The Big 33 has a full roster here.
videoSAN ANTONIO – ESPN 150 wide receiver James Quick (Louisville, Ky./Trinity) has drawn plenty of attention for his play through two practices for the East team in preparation for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

He’ll garner even more eyes his way on Saturday when he announces his commitment during the game.

[+] EnlargeJames Quick
Damon Sayles/ESPN.comESPN 150 WR James Quick is set to decide between Ohio State, Louisville and Oregon on Saturday.
The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder said he is down to Louisville, Ohio State and Oregon. Though his decision will come Saturday, it could be finalized by Wednesday morning, as he sits down to discuss his options with his parents, who are in town for the event.

“I am basically going to ask them which coach they have the best relationship with,” Quick said. “There has to be a relationship with the head coach and family as well.”

When asked if there was a head coach among his finalists that was stood out to him the most, he said no. But Louisville coach Charlie Strong and his tendency of playing freshmen is intriguing to him and is one of the main reasons that Louisville is in the mix.

The sales pitch for all of them is pretty much the same: Join our program, and early playing time will likely be there.

“They are all basically saying that I am going to get early playing time. Some are saying that I am going to get the ball more than others,” he said. “It’s all about early playing time, really.”

Quick has taken official visits to Louisville and Ohio State. He wasn’t able to make it to Oregon for an unofficial visit but has the Ducks squarely in the mix because of his relationship with the coaching staff.

“I have built a good relationship with their coaches and the offense that they run. It’s up-tempo, which really excites a player of my caliber,” he said.

Newsmaker: Last week, offensive tackle Jake Campos (West Des Moines, Iowa/Valley) wasn’t expecting to play football over his break. On Tuesday, he was preparing for a nationally televised appearance in a U.S. Army All-American Bowl uniform.

Campos, a three-star Iowa State commit, was called Sunday afternoon as a replacement for injured lineman Chris Fox (Parker, Colo./Ponderosa). By 6 a.m. Monday, he was on a flight to San Antonio. At the end of Tuesday, he was fully taking on the responsibility of fending off stud defensive linemen such as Eddie Vanderdoes (Auburn, Calif./Placer), Justin Manning (Dallas/Kimball) and A’Shawn Robinson (Fort Worth, Texas/Arlington Heights).

“I was shocked at first, but then, I got really excited,” said Campos, a 6-7, 250-pound tackle who said he’s “110-percent committed” to Iowa State.

“It was so out of the blue, but it’s great to be here. At first, learning the plays was tough, but I got those down now. I’m just adjusting to right tackle. I was still working the kinks out, that’s all.”

Superlatives: The East defensive line really stepped up in afternoon practice during 11-on-11 action. Alabama defensive end commit Jonathan Allen (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) was unstoppable. Virginia Tech defensive end commit Wyatt Teller (Bealeton, Va./Liberty) also stepped up his game from Monday, intercepting a pass in the morning session from Auburn-bound quarterback Jeremy Johnson (Montgomery, Ala./Carver) and playing even better in the afternoon. … The best hands on the West team may not be on a wide receiver. ESPN 150 tight end DeSean Smith (Lake Charles, La./Barbe) made some great catches on Monday, and he continued to shine on Tuesday. Smith an LSU commitment, is the No. 5 tight end in the country. … The catch of the day from the East goes to ESPN 300 athlete Tyler Boyd (Clairton, Pa./Clairton), who ripped a ball away from Florida defensive back commitment Nick Washington (Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian). An uncommitted, four-star athlete, Boyd is expected to announce his college future on Saturday. … ESPN 150 running back Derrick Green (Richmond, Va./Hermitage) continued to be the best running back for the East. He shined in the early morning practice, with help from a very good offensive line.


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On the fence about a decision earlier this week, one of the nation's top athletes plans to announce his commitment Saturday.

Clairton (Pa.) ESPN 300 athlete Tyler Boyd said Tuesday he will commit during at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which kicks off at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Arizona, Michigan State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and West Virginia are the programs the No. 17 athlete nationally lists as his top group.

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6 uncommitted PSU targets to watch 

December, 20, 2012
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With just two scholarships remaining, Penn State is looking to add some quality to its 2013 class and is targeting several ESPN 300 prospects.

NittanyNation takes a closer look at six uncommitted recruits that Penn State's after:

1. ATH Tyler Boyd, 6-1, 175, Clairton (Pa.)
Four stars, ESPN 300, No. 17 at position
Main competition: Pitt

Synopsis: The likely wideout said PSU is currently his No. 4 school, and it probably works into Penn State's favor that he's pushing his early January decision back some. He's scheduling official visits to Michigan State and West Virginia, and he also plans to take one to Happy Valley.

PSU's staff obviously thinks highly of Boyd. They've been to several of his games, paid him an in-home visit and have remained in constant contact. Boyd is pretty tempted to follow two of his teammates -- Titus Howard and likely Terrish Webb -- to Pitt, and it would be an upset if he committed elsewhere. Still, PSU was No. 6 on his list just two weeks ago and it's now moved up to No. 4.

The longer Boyd takes to make a decision, the more it helps Penn State.

2. RB David Williams, 6-1, 192, Philadelphia (Pa.) Imhotep Charter
Four stars, ESPN 150, No. 13 at position
Main competition: South Carolina

Synopsis: If it wasn't for the sanctions, Williams might be in better position to become a Nittany Lion ... but South Carolina stepped in and has gone after him hard. Steve Spurrier was at his final playoff game, made an in-home visit and has stayed in touch. Penn State's coaches have visited him at school, but Williams announced less than two weeks ago his final three included South Carolina, Ohio State and Arizona State.

Williams said a few days later he hadn't eliminated Penn State after all and might make an official visit to PSU in January. He's been up to Happy Valley several times for unofficial visits, and the staff's really trying to show him the school's remained the same since the sanctions. Forget the other teams after Williams, though -- it's really South Carolina vs. everyone else. The Gamecocks are the heavy favorites right now.

3. MLB Trey Johnson, 6-1, 215, Lawrenceville (Ga.) Central Gwinnett
Four stars, ESPN 150, No. 2 at position
Main competition: Ohio State


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PSU recruits guide in PIAA: Class A 

December, 16, 2012
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HERSHEY, Pa. -- Bill O'Brien chatted with fans and took several photos Saturday, as he and nearly all of his staff scouted prospects over the state title weekend.

NittanyNation personally saw all but three coaches -- John Strollo, Ted Roof, Larry Johnson -- and the only coach's attendance that could not be immediately confirmed was Roof. Not a bad turnout for Penn State, who clearly had the most coaches there.

Some recruits definitely caught their attention of this staff. NittanyNation first runs through the performance of each target who played in Friday's Class A title game and what he showed Penn State:

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Tyler Boyd: No leader has emerged 

December, 16, 2012
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Tyler Boyd contends there is no No. 1 on his list. If there was, the Clairton (Pa.) athlete would be committing in three weeks.

That likely will not be the case anymore for the ESPN 300 recruit and record-setting playmaker.

"It's still dated on [Jan. 5] but still thinking if I should commit or not. It's a decision I'm not ready for," Boyd said. "It's still Michigan State, Penn State, Rutgers, Arizona, West Virginia and Pitt.

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NittanyNation Friday mailbag

December, 14, 2012
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Welcome to NittanyNation's first-ever mailbag! We asked you to tweet your questions this week, and we've selected three to answer in-depth -- starting with the question we received most.

Brian Wess (@bwessfootball) writes: What's Penn State's next move for a quarterback? Tyler Ferguson?

Josh Moyer: You hit the nail right on the head, Brian. I spoke with Ferguson and his junior college coach briefly Thursday, and that's exactly what's at play here. Penn State made it clear Jake Waters was Plan A. When that fell through, the staff contacted Ferguson and offered him a scholarship as their Plan B.

Ferguson said he'll commit to a school at some point this morning. He's on the West Coast, though, and plays for Bakersfield (Calif.) College of the Sequioias, so it could still be a few hours. At this point, though, it's pretty clear that Penn State is Ferguson's top choice. Houston already has three quarterbacks as part of its 2013 class, while PSU has just one scholarship QB for the spring. You do the math.

Ferguson's addition would help PSU -- but he's no Waters. Iowa Western's QB threw one interception for every 111 attempts; Ferguson one for every 29 attempts. Steven Bench had a head start against Waters in learning Penn State's pro-style offense, but Bench has to be considered a much higher favorite to start in 2013 now that another quarterback -- likely Ferguson -- is coming on instead.

(Read full post)

PIAA guide to Penn State recruits 

December, 13, 2012
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Tyler BoydAP Photo/Phelan M. EbenhackTyler Boyd and Clairton will play Dunsmore for a PIAA title.

With the Pennsylvania state football championships Friday and Saturday, NittanyNation decided to compile a list of competing Penn State targets and what other recruits to watch out for.

With just eight teams left, there's little time left to scout or performances left to watch. So here are the teams and players to keep an eye on in Hershey, Pa.:

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Tyler Boyd does not make WVU official 

December, 8, 2012
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Four-star Clairton (Pa.) athlete Tyler Boyd was scheduled to drive down to West Virginia for his official visit Saturday morning. That visit is no longer happening.

Clairton assistant coach Eric Fusco said Boyd is not making his scheduled visit to the Mountaineers, once thought to be his leader. Fusco was supposed to take Boyd on the visit.

Boyd, No. 161 in the ESPN 300, has only taken one official visit, which went to Pittsburgh the weekend of Nov. 16.

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Tyler Boyd hosting two PSU coaches 

December, 6, 2012
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Penn State refuses to give up on its two top uncommitted in-state targets -- and arguably top two overall targets -- despite playing from behind since July.

Earlier this week, Penn State assistant coach Charles London was in Philadelphia coaxing ESPN 150 running back David Williams to take a visit. Following that stop at Imhotep Charter in Philadelphia, London boarded a plane for Pittsburgh.

Just a few miles south of Pittsburgh down the Monongahela River is Clairton, home of Tyler Boyd, the No. 161 prospect in the ESPN 300.

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Another visit scheduled for Tyler Boyd 

December, 4, 2012
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Clairton, Pa., athlete Tyler Boyd is fresh off a 200-yard, five-touchdown performance, becoming the WPIAL's career touchdown leader. Football is his Friday focus, as his Clairton team is in the middle of a record run and a fourth straight title chase.

During the week, however, the ESPN 300 recruit has his hands full with recruiting.

On Thursday, Penn State and Wisconsin, two teams outside the four-star prospect's immediate top group, will come visit him at school and at home. Lions assistant coach Stan Hixon will be coming by for Penn State, and the belief is that Badgers assistant coach Charlie Partridge will come on Wisconsin's behalf.

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