Penn State football is looking to prove that it is the best college football program in the Big Ten Conference. The Nittany Lions have fallen the last three seasons to Michigan, and the team has missed out on the College Football Playoff several times in the last years. The CFP is now expanding, and Penn State has aspirations to be in it in 2024. The Nittany Lions have a transfer player that can help them reach that goal, because this player also has something to prove.


Penn State football player Julian Fleming.

Penn State coach James Franklin grabbed arguably the best wide receiver in the transfer portal when the Nittany Lions got Julian Fleming, from Ohio State. Fleming was a sneaky good pickup, because the wideout's stats at Ohio State weren't eye-popping. However, he is one of the best players available in this transfer portal class.

Fleming's background is the reason why. The wide receiver was the no.1 prospect in the 2020 ESPN Football Recruiting class. That's the no.1 prospect in the entire country that year. A very impressive feat. He chose Ohio State out of high school, but wasn't able to live up to his hype.

At Ohio State, Fleming scored just seven receiving touchdowns in four years. He finished his time in Columbus with 79 catches for 963 yards in four seasons. He got lost in the shuffle of the crowded Ohio State receiving room, and took a backseat to others who were also there. The Buckeyes had Marvin Harrison Jr. during the time Fleming was in Columbus, so it is easy to understand why Fleming struggled to find his place. He entered the transfer portal following the 2023 season, and chose Penn State over several other power 5 schools that wanted him, including Nebraska. Fleming is already turning some heads with the Nittany Lions.

“He’s a very good guy,” Penn State football coach James Franklin said, per Daily Local News. “When you come here (as a transfer), the first thing you do is keep your mouth shut and your ears open and go to work and earn everybody’s respect.

“I think he has done a really good job with that. I’ve heard great reports from the strength staff, from the coaches and from the players, which is probably most important.”

He's now going to be the top wide receiver in State College. The spotlight will shine on him, and this is Fleming's chance to prove that he's as good as advertised. The Nittany Lions have a solid young quarterback in Drew Allar, who will be throwing the ball to Fleming. Allar finished the 2023 season with 2,631 passing yards, to go with 25 touchdowns to only two interceptions. The two players have a chance to create some real magic for Penn State.

Fleming is actually from the state of Pennsylvania, so he will be playing to a lot of friendly fans in State College. While in high school, the receiver put up some monster numbers. He was the Pennsylvania Gatorade Player of the Year in 2018-19, catching 22 touchdown passes for his Southern Columbia Area High School football team. He had 1,497 receiving yards that season, which was his junior year. That season, Fleming also finished as a finalist for the National Gatorade Player of the Year award.

Fleming continued his high school success by finishing his career with 5,514 receiving yards and 77 receiving touchdowns, per Penn State's communications office. Those are records in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association. He's now hoping to set some Penn State receiving records when the 2024 season begins. This is Fleming's last year of eligibility, and his last chance to prove that he's one of the best wide receivers in college football.

Penn State football opens their season against West Virginia on August 31. The Nittany Lions also have non conference games against Bowling Green and Kent State, before opening conference play against Illinois on September 28.