Penn State running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider sounded wise beyond his 11 seasons as a college football assistant and one of the nation’s top recruiters when he spoke about the tricky landscape of persuading high school players to continue their careers with the Nittany Lions.
“One of the biggest things we talk about, we’ve got to recruit until the ink is dry,” Seider said Wednesday during a media availability with the Lions’ assistant coaches. “If it ain’t dry, recruiting has a long way to go.”
The ink to which Seider referred was players’ signing their national letters of intent, either during the early signing period in December or the next one in February. Before then, programs continue to recruit players even after they have made an oral commitment.
Penn State has seen that first-hand this week, losing two players who chose to reopen their recruitment after committing to the Nittany Lions’ class of 2020, and a third who flipped his commitment to Ohio State. All are consensus four-star recruits.
NCAA rules prohibit head coach James Franklin or any member of his staff from commenting on when players do or don’t commit. Seider was answering a general question about how he would evaluate Penn State’s efforts thus far with the 2020 class, and spoke of staying on players even after they’ve committed.
“We’re talking about 18-, 17-year-old kids making decisions and December ain’t here yet,” said Seider, ranked as the nation’s No. 8 recruiter in 2019 by 247Sports. “The day you slack up and not continue to recruit that kid, that’s when the decommits start. Because of a kid commits to Penn State, guess who else wants him — Ohio State, Clemson? We’re competing with the same people.
“So when you get a kid committed, you’ve got to recruit him as hard as you were doing if he wasn’t committed because he’s expecting that attention, and if you slack off, you’re in trouble.”
Offensive tackle Grant Toutant, the first player to commit to the Nittany Lions’ 2020 class, announced Sunday on Twitter that he had flipped to Ohio State.