Penn State Head Coach James Franklin is already having fun in Happy Valley. After taking Vanderbilt to three consecutive bowl games in his first three years as head coach, he was hired as the Nittany Lions’ 16th head man in program history. The only problem is Vanderbilt’s recruiting class may now take a hit.
And there’s a possibility that Syracuse could benefit in the recruiting game from Franklin’s decision to move to the Big Ten.
Mike McAlister of CuseNation.com thinks that RB Mikale Wilbon is a possible target. The 3-star, 5’9”, 195-lb Chicago native has got serious speed. He originally commit to the Commodores back in April. But he de-committed shortly after Franklin took the PSU head coaching job, according to 247 Sports. Wilbon’s first move after the coaching change seems to be a visit to Nebraska this weekend. After that, he has a couple weekends left before National Signing Day on February 5.
The De La Salle HS product has offers from over 15 schools, a lot of them from Big Ten country. Syracuse offered the tailback back in April. But if the Orange coaches can rekindle a relationship with the former Vanderbilt commit, anything could happen. Keep in mind, Nebraska just offered Wilbon a few days ago, and now the 3-star running back is visiting Lincoln this weekend.
Vanderbilt’s recruiting class in general is breaking down fast. Jeff Lockridge of USA Today Sports mentioned in a recent article that he’s never seen a meltdown quite like this:
“On Saturday morning, Vanderbilt had 20 commitments and a 2014 football recruiting class that was ranked in the top 25 in the country. By Sunday night, a day after coach James Franklin left for Penn State, the Commodores had what one recruiting site called three solid commitments. ‘Basically, they’re left with three guys that I would consider really firm commitments,’ said Chris Smith ofVanderbilt.247Sports.com. ‘A lot of them have mixed emotions. All the recruits, they all love Franklin, they all seemed to want to come to Vanderbilt because of Franklin.’”
This is never something that you want to see happen to a program. But it could benefit Syracuse. Remember, Syracuse has already had success recruiting De La Salle HS this fall. Wilbon’s teammate, OG Aaron Roberts commit to Syracuse back in October. The Orange’s success rate in Illinois has shot up as well since the new coaching staff took over in January. There are four Illinois commits in the class of 2014, and Coach Shafer and company were able to bring in two quick Illinois commits in Mitch Kimble and Kendall Moore during the last week before NSD last February.
Nothing is set in stone, but SU has a chance at the 3-star RB Mikale Wilbon. The possibility of adding another RB helps Syracuse’s depth at the position with the loss of Jerome Smith to the NFL Draft. This close to Signing Day, anything goes.
Posted by: Kevin Fitzgerald