Do Top Recruiting Classes Translate into Success on Field for Penn State?

Do Top Recruiting Classes Translate into Success on Field for Penn State?
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

The Penn State Nittany Lions rounded out another solid recruiting class earlier this week when they pulled in the 14th-ranked cohort (per 247 Sports), making the fifth consecutive Top 25 class under head coach James Franklin.  That kind of consistency gets noticed by PA sportsbooks.

Despite the Nittany Lions failing to make the College Football Playoff since its inception in 2014, Franklin’s bunch has managed to pull off consecutive double-digit win seasons, including a 10-2 run in 2023 as the program flew as high as No. 6 in the polls.

This fall marked the eighth consecutive season in which Penn State cracked a Top 10 national ranking in either the Associated Press or CFP polls, speaking to Franklin’s work in State College.

With National Signing Day being a big day for the Nittany Lions, they find themselves currently ranked at 3rd in the Big Ten (behind Ohio State and Oregon but ahead of Michigan) and 14th overall in the nation for the Class of 2024. How have they performed in seasons when they have a Top 15 recruiting class? – your source for PA sports betting apps – utilized’s rankings to find how the Penn State football team has performed after having a Top 15 recruiting class since 2010. 

Penn State Performance Based on Recruiting Class

Class RankAvg. Record*Avg. Final AP Ranking**
Top 15 Recruiting Class9-425th
Outside Top 15 Recruiting Class8-541st
*Rounded to nearest whole number**2023 was included despite not be concluded and 2020 was not included due to COVID-19 


Breaking Down Results

The Nittany Lions’ year-end figures in seasons in which they’ve finished with a Top 15 recruiting class vs. the numbers from years when they fell out of the upper echelon are not far off when it comes to record. That’s because Penn State’s averaged nine wins per season in years where they’ve had a Top 15 class, eight when they haven’t.

It’s worth noting that Penn State’s two 11-win seasons over the last half-decade (2019 and 2022) were in seasons in which the Nittany Lions had the sixth- and 12th-ranked recruiting classes in the country, respectively.

The biggest drop-off, though, is in ranking at the end of the season. Penn State averaged No. 25 with teams in Top 15, No. 41 when they’ve finished outside of it.

For now, Penn State fans are likely hoping that Franklin’s 2023-24 recruiting class will be the one to finally get Penn State over the hump and into the CFP when it expands to 12 teams in 2024-25. will be following Penn State and all the state’s pro teams closely from a betting perspective and provide top PA sportsbook promo codes.

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Christopher Boan has been covering sports and sports betting for more than seven years, including stops at, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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