It was expected to be an eventful weekend at Penn State. And before the clock even struck noon on Saturday, two highly regarded prospects verbally committed to the Nittany Lions.
Class of 2015 wide receiver Irvin Charles of Haddonfield (N.J.) Paul VI was the first to commit. After earning more than 20 verbal scholarship offers, Charles noted that he chose the Nittany Lions over Florida and Miami.
"I really didn't have any expectations when I went into Coach Franklin's office today," Charles said. "I was thinking about it, but it definitely wasn't a done deal or anything that I was definitely going to commit today.
"But then, we just had a real good talk. Just learning about how he is as a coach. When he was telling me how he thought of me and stuff, and how he feels I fit in with this program, that really just made me open up my eyes and realize that I should commit now."
The four-star was always believed to be a Penn State lean, but he still went on to visit multiple schools this summer, including Maryland, South Carolina and Florida. After seeing those programs, however, he realized that his original impression of Penn State proved to be true.
"Penn State was just one of those schools that I felt like I could come to and feel comfortable at, no matter what happens," he said. "It was always a school that sat high on my board throughout the whole recruiting process, so when I went out to all those visits, I kind of felt like I was always comparing them to Penn State."
"When I first came out here, I always kind of felt that they separated themselves from the rest, but I just wanted to be sure. But in my head, I always felt that Penn State was my number one."
With his decision, Penn State's Class of 2015 now ranks No. 5 in the nation with 18 total commitments and an average star ranking of 3.61.
On June 21, Charles was also one of the top performers at the IMG 7-on-7 Championship in Bradenton (Fla.)
Rivals.com analysts who were in attendance wrote, "At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds Charles was one of the biggest outside receiving threats who performed well. Physically Charles looks like a linebacker, but he gets to top speed quickly and has a soft pair of hands. He roughed up cornerbacks who tried to press him at the line of scrimmage and also was adept at coming down with jump balls in the end zone."
Shortly after Charles' commitment to PSU became public, news of another verbal commitment surfaced.
This came from running back Miles Sanders, who became the first verbal commitment in Penn State's Class of 2016. Sanders, who is visiting Penn State for camp, has been to campus at least four times already this year.
"Every school that I've been to, besides Penn State, basically just says the same thing," he said. "When I go up to Penn State, it's just different. I feel like I have a great connection with their coaches and the fan base is amazing. Plus, it's my home state school."
Sanders earned early offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Temple, Toledo and Virginia Tech. Many more schools will still likely follow, and because of that, Sanders admitted that he won't be shutting down his commitment completely.
"My mom wants me to still keep things open, just in case," he said. "I know where I want to go. I know I want to be a Nittany Lion, but just in case something happens, my mom does want me to still kind of keep things open.
"But I'm going to have my coach talk to most of the (college) coaches. I feel like Penn State is where I want to go, but you have to respect moms decision, ya know? (laughs) She's just looking out for me, which I understand."
At the Rivals.com Underclassmen Challenge in Jacksonville (Fla.) July 14, Sanders was the top running back in attendance.
"Sanders took home running back MVP honors and he was turning heads from drills all the way through one-on-ones," analyst Woody Wommack wrote. "At 5-foot-10 and 192 pounds, he's built like a traditional running back but has the burst and abilities in the receiving game of an all-purpose back. Once he turned on the burners, it was tough to defenders to make up ground."