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February 03, 2016

National Signing Day 2016: A look at Penn State and Temple's recruiting classes

I don’t know the exact moment in time that National Signing Day became an actual circus. Maybe it has always been a circus. Either way, it’s currently a circus. Guys are jumping out of planes now!

Even though we are talking about 17 and 18-year-olds here, signing day is vitally important to college football fans. No, they don’t give out playoff bids to the highest ranked recruiting classes, but this is like the NFL Draft for big-time programs… just way more unfair.

Want to know where every local high school player that committed to a big school signed? Click here.

There are two Division 1 college programs that people in the Delaware Valley care about, Temple and Penn State. Here is how they did:

Penn State: Strong class, still below Ohio State and Michigan

Commits: 20

Class Rankings:

24/7 Sports

Top commits:

Miles Sanders (5’11”, 195 lb. RB) – Pittsburgh, PA

Michael Menet (6’4”, 285 lb. OG) – Reading, PA

Shane Simmons (6’3”, 230 lb. DE) – Laurel, MD

Penn State doesn’t have any more sanctions, so James Franklin is operating with a full deck. Sanders is considered one of the top backs in the country by all of the sites (Scout and 24/7 have him ranked first at his position), and he’ll join this year’s freshman sensation Saquon Barkley in the backfield at Happy Valley.

Menet should eventually help an offensive line that allowed 82 Christian Hackenberg sacks over the past two seasons, and Simmons is an impressive (if undersized) pass-rusher from Beltway power DeMatha. Other players of note are Baltimore defensive tackle Ellison Jordan, Chicago area defensive end Daniel Joseph, and Rochester quarterback Jake Zembiec.

Because he’s a quarterback, Zembiec gets the highlight treatment:

In general, it seems like Penn State’s class was tied for third in the B1G with Michigan State, but clearly behind Ohio State and Michigan. Jim Harbaugh had Tom Brady and Derek Jeter on hand today, as well as Dr. Lou Holtz dabbing on people.

Franklin, who missed out on a few key late undecided commits (Corner Damar Hamlin went to Pitt, while linebacker Brendan Ferns chose West Virginia) and saw a few highly-rated players de-commit, might feel slightly disappointed with how signing day went. Still, it seems like a decent job by the Penn State staff.

Temple: Rhule's 'most assaulted class'

Commits: 25

Class Rankings:

24/7 Sports

Top commits:

Tyliek Raynor (5’10”, 185 lb. RB) – Philadelphia

Isaiah Wright (6’2”, 207 lb. WR) – West Hartford, CT

Anthony Russo (6’4” 220 lb. QB) – Doylestown, PA

I went back and checked past years to see if Temple, which Matt Rhule has taken to another level as a program, did better in the recruiting rankings. The answer: Maybe a little bit, but not by a lot. Rhule does seem happy about the passing connection he inked that includes Archbishop Wood’s Russo:

On the other hand, he's not so thrilled with other coaches:

In general, the team rankings for the “mid-major” football conferences are much more volatile, presumably because their recruits don’t have quite as much exposure. In the AAC, Temple finished from 3rd to 7th according to the various sites.

10:00 p.m. update: Later in the day, the Owls landed a huge commitment from Philly defensive tackle Karamo Dioubate out of Prep Charter. Dioubate is the 91st-ranked recruit in the country, per ESPN.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann