James Franklin is getting credit for creating more positive buzz by landing three early verbal commitments to start his 2015 recruiting class.
One is a top-tier offensive lineman in Pennsylvania. Another is an intriguing defensive end or linebacker from Maryland, oozing potential.
The third? Well, depending on which national recruiting site you visit, Jarvis Miller is either a lightly-regarded prospect or isn’t even rated at all yet.
He’s a 6-foot-2, 185-pound defensive back from Suffield, Conn. whose only big-time scholarship offer is from Penn State. And when he got it over the weekend, he quickly pledged to Franklin.
But who is this kid and why did the Penn State staff offer – and accept his pledge — so early?
“Everybody sees different things in kids,” said Brian Dohn, a national recruiting analyst with Scout.com. “ So, as far as the ratings for us, it just means he doesn’t make my Top 100 in the East. He will still be a three-star kid (eventually).”
At tailback last season, Miller gained 1,611 rushing yards on 139 carries (11.6 per carry) and scored 17 touchdowns. But he will play defense in college.
And some wonder why the Penn State staff went after an under-the-radar recruit so aggressively and so early? It seems likely that the Nittany Lions could have pushed for him even months from now, if desired.
Dohn and Rivals.com Mid-Atlantic recruiting analyst Adam Friedman says the move does make some sense.
“When you look at Jarvis, I see a safety who, if he grows a little more, could be an outside linebacker,” Dohn said. “He’s long and athletic and he plays downhill. And he’s a good kid.
“The reason no one else offered him is because he hasn’t been anywhere,” as far as all-star games, camps and combines, Dohn said.
Friedman described Miller as being “incredibly rangy and physical, who is not afraid to come up and hit people in the box and make plays in the running game.
“It’s more difficult to judge his talent now. He’s a guy scouts have rarely seen in person.”
Miller joined Archbishop Wood offensive tackle Ryan Bates and Gaithersburg, Md. defender Kamonte Carter as early Nittany Lion verbal commitments — the first members of the 2015 class.