The grills will be fired up this weekend outside of the Lasch Building when James Franklin and his staff host most of their currently committed 2015 recruits as well as several high-profile targets.
A fairly new tradition, this year's "Lasch Bash" could have a huge impact on the future of Penn State football.
Expected prospects include 4-star offensive lineman Matthew Burrell and 5-star defensive tackle Tim Settle. They'll be joined by the likes of committed players Andre Robinson, Sterling Jenkins and Brandon Wimbush, who will all be acting as recruiters this weekend.
Though he was already committed at the time, last year's Bash had a big impact on incoming freshman linebacker Troy Reeder. "It was different because you felt like you were a part of the team rather than just a visitor," Reeder said. He spoke of the relationships that bloomed that weekend when he met guys like Troy Apke for the first time, as well as some future teammates:
I got to meet Garrett Sickels and Brendan Mahon and I got to eat lunch with them. It was pretty cool because they had just gotten up there permanently so they were filling me in on how the transition was. They’ve become good friends now throughout this past year.
Those are exactly the kind of relationships that the coaching staff is hoping for when they bring together so many prospects at one time, some already committed.
By creating a cookout-type environment, it allows the kids to mingle freely without a game to watch or a tight tour schedule to maintain. Instead, you get competitive banter over a game of corn hole.
Schools and coaches can only do so much to stand out when recruiting but prospects themselves can be the difference-maker. Adam McLean is expected to be on campus and has been one of the most relentless recruiters in the current class. It's a safe bet that he'll be on his game this weekend.
Player-on-player relationships are only one aspect of the Lasch Bash. It also gives the coaches a chance to speak with players and their families in a casual environment. It will give next year's class, the juniors-to-be, a chance to get familiar with Penn State and what it offers.
Similar to a big game with several high-profile visitors, this weekend could prove to be huge in the future of Penn State football. Enough big-time prospects will be on hand that Franklin could significantly improve the rosters of the future. With the help of hamburgers and hot dogs, of course.
All quotes obtained firsthand.
All recruit ratings are courtesy of the 247Sports Composite scores.
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