Meet Koa Farmer, Penn State's First Californian Recruit in Nearly a Decade

Tim Tolley@@TimTolley_BRContributor IMay 14, 2014

Nov 16, 2013; University Park, PA, USA; The Penn State Nittany Lions cheerleaders and mascot perform prior to the game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Beaver Stadium.  Penn State defeated Purdue  45-21.  Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

By now, new Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin has caught the attention of just about everyone that follows college football recruiting.

Penn State's current class ranks second in the country behind only Alabama, according to 247Sports, and Franklin has landed commitments from 16 prospects, including 13 recruits rated as 247Sports Composite 4-star players.

The first indication that Franklin could enjoy massive success recruiting at Penn State came in January, when 2014 safety Koa Farmer committed to the Nittany Lions on an official visit...from California.

In just over a month, Farmer will become the first player to leave a California high school for Happy Valley since Lydell Sargeant made the move in 2005.

courtesy of 247Sports

Technically, Sargeant moved back to Pennsylvania, his home for 10 years, to graduate high school, but before that, he played his final three seasons of high school ball in California, thus making him a "California prospect."

Unlike Sargeant's situation, Koa Farmer didn't even have Penn State on his radar until a few weeks before signing day. 

"I thought I wasn't big-time enough to go to Penn State. Penn State to me is like an Alabama, USC, all those big time programs that have that legacy of football."

In the final winter of his recruitment, Farmer began drawing attention from all over, including Wisconsin, who wanted the 4-star safety to visit after his trip to Pennsylvania.

"I was getting these offers so late and I still had visits to was hectic," Farmer says of the weeks leading up to his commitment, adding "The Wisconsin coaches were in my house, coach Franklin was in my house, it was just getting crazy."

Farmer claims that Franklin and his staff were recruiting him the hardest while they were at Vanderbilt and he was actually scheduled to visit Nashville the weekend that he ended up in State College, where he ultimately committed. 

"I give coach Franklin and that staff so much respect that I knew I had to visit those guys. They showed me the most love by far."

The admitted beach body who enjoys surfing knows what's in store for him in central Pennsylvania after his official visit in mid-winter, saying "I had never seen snow come from the side before." Still, he's looking forward to seeing four seasons and says "It will be something different but you just have to be mature about it."

Farmer played all over the field in high school but will arrive at Penn State as a safety and could play the "hero" position before potentially growing into an outside linebacker. 

I just won MT.SAC INVITATIONAL 200 seeded !!!! #21.73 🙌

— KOA (@KOAFARMER) April 20, 2014

A forensic science major who held offers from Yale and Harvard, expect Koa to pick up whatever the staff throws at him. 

If Penn State offering the specific major that Koa was looking for was the final straw, James Franklin built the rest of the bridge. Farmer says that while he was on his visit, Franklin gave a speech explaining to the the recruits that "PSU is unrivaled," saying that "once we get this thing going, ain't nobody messing with us. We're gonna be unrivaled."

DB Koa Farmer of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame said he has signed with Penn State. He said he "loves the energy" of Coach James Franklin & Co.

— eric sondheimer (@latsondheimer) February 5, 2014

The coaches then led the players down to the field to show off one of Penn State football's best assets. As Farmer puts it, "That stadium speaks for itself. That's what football is about."


All quotes obtained first hand, unless otherwise noted. Star ratings courtesy of


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