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Penn State football commit, top 10 RB visits in-state SEC program Saturday: reports

Penn State football’s top 10 running back commit took a visit to one of his in-state SEC schools Saturday. Should James Franklin and the Nittany Lions be worried about a decommitment?



Penn State football, Alvin Henderson, James Franklin, 2025 recruiting, Auburn
Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin looks on during warm ups before Auburn Tigers take on Penn State Nittany Lions at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022.

Penn State football commit Alvin Henderson is on The Plains visiting Hugh Freeze and the Auburn Tigers Saturday, according to reports from On3’s Jeffery Lee. Many considered the Tigers as the favorite for Henderson, an Alabama prospect, until the top 10 running back in the 2025 recruiting cycle quickly committed to James Franklin and the Nittany Lions following his visit in April.

Penn State football commit Alvin Henderson visiting Auburn

Despite joining the Nittany Lions’ 2025 recruiting class last month, there’s still plenty of work for James Franklin and his staff to do with four-star Elba running back Alvin Henderson.

Per Jeffery Lee of AuburnLive, On3’s Auburn affiliate, Henderson popped up on campus Saturday. The unofficial visit was confirmed by Henderson’s 247Sports recruiting profile.

As a junior, Alvin Henderson rushed for 3,523 yards and 61 touchdowns on 225 carries. He is the No. 8 running back in the 2025 recruiting cycle in On3’s Industry Rankings. 

Given his proximity to The Plains, Auburn has long been considered the school to beat in Henderson’s recruitment. “Auburn’s in-state, an hour and 45 minutes away from me,” Henderson told Keegan Pope in March. “Auburn has done a good job…I know last January when Coach Freeze took the job, he sat down with me and said, ‘I know I’ve only been here three or four weeks, but you have been No. 1 on our board.’

“Coach Freeze told me, ‘Why go to another state and do something that you can do here. You play in a great state where Alabama and Auburn is, but you can come here and be special.’”

Originally expected to commit on April 5, James Franklin and Ja’Juan Seider successfully pushed that date back, instead bringing Alvin Henderson to Happy Valley for a surprise visit. Henderson liked what he saw, committing to Penn State football less than a week later on April 11.

“I want to do something special in a state besides Bama and continue the tradition that Penn State has each and every year at the RB position! 334>814,” he said in his commitment announcement.

Is James Franklin softening his stance on post-commitment visits?

James Franklin has always drawn a pretty hard line regarding commitments. Once a prospect pledges to Penn State football, visits elsewhere stop. If a recruit feels the need to still see other programs, then he’s probably not ready to jump into the class.

“Every recruit that I have ever met with, I talk to the recruit about committing to Penn State and committing to me, because of the nature of college football,” Franklin said last November. “I don’t want there to be a coaching change, or a coach leaves to go be the head coach at Virginia Tech or Old Dominion or Mississippi State, and now all of a sudden, you’re unsure.”

However, Alvin Henderson isn’t the only member of the Nittany Lions’ 2025 recruiting class expected to make the rounds. Top New Jersey linebacker DJ McClary has a visit scheduled to Rutgers for May 31.

While there’s still time between now and then, McClary committed well before Manny Diaz left Happy Valley for Duke. Diaz’s departure may have him second-guessing his choice.

Historically, news of a Penn State football commit making other visits was swiftly followed by a decommitment. That hasn’t happened with Henderson or McClary. Whether James Franklin is changing his stance in a new landscape of college football or turbulent times are ahead for the Nittany Lions’ 2025 class, only time will tell.

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Matt is a co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.


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