"I can tell you this," O'Brien said on his weekly radio show Thursday, "we'll have between 80 and 100 prospects at the Ohio State game [on Oct. 27]."
Feel-good vibes surround the Lions as they carry a four-game winning streak into Iowa City this weekend. O'Brien and his crew are earning national accolades, and there is reasonable discussion of Penn State (4-2, 2-0 Big Ten) finishing its remaining schedule undefeated.
But what does this winning streak mean for Penn State's future? How many of those recruits are more likely to join O'Brien's staff because the Lions are doing so well?
Depends on who you ask.
"I know Penn State is in a unique situation," said Brian Dohn, the Northeast recruiting analyst for Scout.com. "But I say this about almost every program out there: Winning over one year means very little for recruiting."
Tom Luginbill, ESPN's national recruiting director, disagrees. He thinks Penn State's coaches need to enter what he sees as "one heck of a recruiting gauntlet" right now, embracing the positive energy.
"Anytime there's success on the field and positive exposure, people want to be a part of that," Luginbill said. "Winning cures a lot of woes, and Penn State needs to ride this wave."
The Lions have picked up only one oral commitment since their winning streak extended past two games. Mark Allen, a running back from Maryland, became the first to join Penn State's 2014 recruiting class.
Penn State's top three oral commitments for the class of 2013 - five-star quarterback Christian Hackenberg, five-star tight end Adam Breneman, and four-star defensive end Garrett Sickles - all committed in March.
National signing day is Feb. 6.
"It may help with younger classes - the juniors, sophomores, and maybe even freshmen - who will say, hey, Penn State's winning, maybe I'll take a look there," Dohn said. "But a very small percentage of kids will chose a school based off that factor."
According to Allen's high school coach, Elijah Brooks, Penn State's winning streak played a small role in the junior's decision.
"It definitely didn't hurt," Brooks said. "But Penn State was his dream school. I think he might've gone there no matter what."
Said Dohn, "A player's long-term relationship with a coach is a much bigger factor than a team's short-term, on-field success."
Take the Penn State women's basketball team, for example. The Lions have increased their Big Ten win total each season since Coquese Washington took over in 2007. It's only now - after a Big Ten regular-season title - that the team is beginning to see the effects in recruiting.
"It's easier to get a coach to call you back now when you're reaching out to find out about some kids," assistant coach Kia Damon said.
O'Brien recently offered scholarships to two junior college players from Iowa Western - quarterback Jake Waters and his roommate, running back Aaron Wimberly. Junior college players, traditionally, focus on one factor in a transfer: immediate playing time.
That's a route Joe Paterno historically did not take. But many things are different now.
Said Luginbill, "The biggest challenge for Penn State is to find kids who are good enough to play at this level and willing to commit to a program without any shot whatsoever at a bowl game."
The football team's biggest obstacle, of course, is the NCAA sanctions that will come into full effect next season. Besides the four-year postseason ban - in effect now - the Lions face significant scholarship reductions, which could cripple them for years.
"Kids are still excited to come here, excited to play here, they love the style of offense and defense that we're employing here," said running back coach Charles London, Penn State's recruiting coordinator. "So it really hasn't been an issue for us."
Time will tell if that's just the company line, or the truth.
VIDEO: Joe Juliano breaks down the Penn State-Iowa game.