National Letter of Intent Day (or Signing Day if you're not into the whole brevity thing) has arrived(!), and there are many things planned here at BSD. In order to help you keep all of the information together, and to make it easier for you to see where PSU football is headed, I have put together two important introductory analyses.
At first glance you might say "But Junny, this has NOTHING to do with our recent class! AND I LIKE TENNIS!" And to that I'd say "BACK OFF! THIS TOOK TIME AND EFFORT!" In all actuality, this post is the first in a series; this one is intended to set the stage for the rest of the offseason. You may use this as your guidepost, a rhetorical cheat sheet if you will, in order to get acclimated with the 2010 season. The recruit reviews will come soon enough, but for now, ingest the pertinent data (sorry, not in graph form) and remain calm.
First, I have taken a look at the current players on the Penn State roster that are on scholarship, including the 2010 signees. Barring an Urbanesque poaching, or the even less believable situation where PSU snags someone else's recruit, this year's class is in the books. NCAA rules mandate that only 85 scholarships may be used each year for football, and as you can see, the coaches have some number-crunching to do to ensure our compliance with that rule. I, for one, have confidence that the coaches will make the right decisions.
Second, looking ONLY at the scholarship players, I have outlined the eligibility chart. This will help you when you go to complain that we're weak at OL (we're not) or when you scream about the depth at TE (there isn't much).
Nothing in this post is meant to show exactly how things will be on September 4. This is merely an outline of where I see things at LOI Day. That being said, I'm sure something below will be wrong (for example, Michael Zordich is listed at LB, although there are rumors of a position change to FB); feel free to correct me, or to discuss the data below. If you see a scholarship being given to someone you know doesn't have one, prove it and I will update the data. The same goes for positions and eligibility - if something is awry, bring it up.
Again, this is just the primer. More is on the way as we traverse slowly through this offseason. Of note to look out for are in depth previews of all of the 2010 signees, a far too early look at 2011 recruits, and an in depth look at our needs for the foreseeable future. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2010 Recruiting Report.
SCHOLARSHIP PLAYERS (players are listed in rough chronological order)
QB(4) - Newsome, McGloin, Jones, Bolden
RB(6) - Royster, Carter, Beachum, Green, Dukes, Redd
FB(2) - Suhey, Zwinak
WR(13) - Brackett, Zug, Moye, Powell, Price, Brown, Kersey, Kuntz, Felder, Smith, Drake, Kenney, Norwood
TE(4) - Szczerba, Wedderburn, Gilliam, Haplea
OL(20) - Eliades, Wisniewski, Klopacz, Pannell, Troutman, Barham, Farrell, Stankiewitch, Terry, Urschel, Cadogan, Figueroa, Shrive, Gress, Arcidiacano, Howle, Kolb, Ricketts, Graham, Dieffenbach
DL(16) - Ogbu, McEowen, Still, Okoli, Latimore, Crawford, Latham, Ware, Massaro, Hill, Stanley, Hailes, Jones, Baublitz, Olaniyan, Bars
LB(11) - Gbadyu, Colasanti, Stupar, Mauti, Zordich, Yancich, Hodges, Carson, Fortt, Royer, Hull
DB(11) - Jeffries, Dailey, Sukay, Astorino, Lynn, Morris, Thomas, Wallace, Willis, Obeng-Agyapong, Pullium
S/T(3) - Wagner, Breen, Fera
Analysis: Looking solely at the numbers, the players seem to be distributed at an relatively even spread. There are more on the offensive side of the ball, but there are more specialized positions there as well. Overall, I'm not worried about this spread. There really isn't a lack of depth, in the purest sense of the word, at any position. Theoretically speaking, if one starter goes down or under-performs, there are ample backups available to take over the spot. However, when you look at the individual players and the eligibility chart, different stories emerge.
As for the scholarship requirements, you can see there are 90 players listed above, so 5 scholarships will have to be cut. One easy way to free up some space is the use of a gray shirt, which is very likely for Levi Norwood and Shyquawn Pullium. I would suspect that Brad Bars will be on that list too, but I haven't heard anything to that effect yet. Assuming these three grayshirt, there are still 2 scholarships outstanding. Who doesn't get one? Matt McGloin was given his after Darrell Givens did not enroll. Do you take back a scholarship from a kid whom you told would only have it for a year? I don't know, but as I said above, I trust the coaching staff will make the right decisions.
ELIGIBILITY (* = player has already used a redshirt)
|QB||K. Newsome Jr.||R. Bolden|
|M. McGloin*||P. Jones|
|RB||E. Royster*||B. Beachum||C. Dukes*||S. Redd|
|B. Carter*||S. Green*|
|FB||J. Suhey*||Z. Zwinak|
|WR||B. Brackett*||D. Moye*||A. Price*||J. Brown||A. Kenney|
|G. Zug*||C. Powell*||S. Kersey*||L. Norwood|
|TE||A. Szczerba*||M. Wedderburn*||G. Gilliam*||K. Haplea|
|OT||L. Eliades*||D. Pannell||M. Farrell*||E. Shrive*||K. Kolb|
|A. Gress*||T. Ricketts|
|OG||J. Troutman*||M. Stankiewitch*||M. Arcidiacono*||L. Graham|
|Q. Barham*||J. Terry*||J. Urschel*|
|C||S. Wisniewski||T. Howle*||M. Dieffenbach|
|DT||O. Ogbu*||D. Still*||B. Ware*||J. Hill||E. Hailes|
|T. McEowen*||C. Okoli*||D. Jones|
|DE||E. Latimore*||P. Massaro*||S. Stanley||K. Baublitz|
|J. Crawford||C. Olaniyan|
|K. Latham*|| B. Bars
|OLB||B. Gbadyu*||N. Stupar*||M. Zordich*||G. Hodges||K. Fortt|
|M. Mauti*||D. Royer|
|MLB||C. Colasanti||M. Yancich*||G. Carson*||M. Hull|
|S||C. Jeffries*||A. Dailey*|
|CB||D. Lynn||S. Morris||S. Pulliam|
|K||C. Wagner*||A. Fera*|
|TOTAL IN CLASS||13||21||9||27||20|
EDIT: HOW TO READ THE ABOVE CHART
For the most part, each player is listed in the last POSSIBLE year he could play, not what year he is projected to graduate. If a player has already used a redshirt, they have been moved back a year into the year that their eligibility will be up. Mike Mauti used his and now has three years left, even though he's been with the team for two years. Kevin Newsome still has a redshirt, that's why he's in 2013. However, Chris Colassanti is not likely to use his redshirt, and thus will end his eligibility this year. The number at the bottom of each column is the number of people in that "class" and thus, theoretically, the number of people that will leave after that year. If you have further questions, I'll be happy to answer them.
Analysis: So there is more of a spread when you look at the 90 scholarship players and their position and eligibility breakdown. First, what will we lose after '10 (and thus what should we have concentrated on this class)? Royster is gone, but I'm confident that Green, Dukes, and Redd can perform admirably, so I'm not worried about the post-Royster era. Likewise, Brackett and Zug are gone, and the depth behind them is strong. Not an area of concern. We lost a few guys on each line and some in the LB crew, but to be completely honest, I don't see any senior leaving whose absence will have an extreme effect on the '11 season. Wiz is gone, but we have some serious mudders behind him that will surely pick up the slack. Ergo, graduation will not affect this class following the '10 season.
What might affect the '10 season is the lack of depth at some spots. It seems as if the coaches attempted to fill holes along the way, but have now run into a situation where certain positions are evenly spread across the years (Offensive Line), while other positions are heavy one year and barren for a few others (Defensive Backs). Both lines are evenly spread, which is great as most games are won or lost in the trenches. RB and WR have some depth separation, but I'm convinced the younger guys can pick up the slack. The same goes with LB, where after the '09 season, all three starters are gone. However, we have some seasoned backups ready to make the leap to starting role, and some young guys that can seriously push for early playing time. The only area on the list that troubles me is the secondary. Hopefully the coaches have realized this and are working on a plan, but the depth is thin at the moment. However, with a few seasoned veterans (Astorino) and some other guys coming off redshirt years (SOA), hopefully this group will gel.
I am very satisfied with the class put together by the staff this year. They filled some much needed holes and picked up some highly touted players (and some diamonds in the rough, the kind that you just know will be made into something special by the staff). Many people are looking at our very difficult 2010 season and saying 9-3 at the best. I respectfully disagree. To be sure, the three road trips to Bama, OSU, and Iowa will be tough, but I'm not so sure we can't get out of that stretch with two or even three victories (OH NOES PSUJUNNY IS CRAZIESSS). I'm optimistic for 2010, but downright giddy for 2011. You heard it here first - MNC or Bust in 2011!