The man that commenters at Lions247 have taken to calling Player X for fear of jinxing his recruitment has spoken! Noah Spence, the five-star defensive end/freak of nature product from nearby Bishop McDevitt recently spoke with Sean Fitz ($) about his recruitment and where he was in the process. He still plans to announce his decision in January at the Under Armour All-America Bowl, and things are starting to get interesting with Spence.
The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Spence had named a final seven that included Penn State, but recently admitted to opening up his recruitment a bit to take a second look at certain schools. One school in particular that Spence mentioned was LSU; I'm not sure how much of that is due to the current success of the Tigers or if they are really making a push for Spence.
Either way, I'm still confident that Penn State is the team to beat here. Teams to keep an eye on, though, are Florida and Maryland, along with both UNC and NC State. Why am I so confident in one of the highest profiled recruits that has been a possibility for PSU in some time? Two reasons, two names: 1) Cam Williams, 2), Sr. Both men are actively recruiting Noah Spence, and that bodes extremely well for the Lions.
In recent visit news, NY RB Akeel Lynch was on campus for the Iowa game, and came away very impressed ($). Currently a Boston College commit, Lynch is one of a few running backs left that have mutual interest with Penn State. I don't think he's at the top of the chart, and he's not in the same category of backs as, say, Rushel Shell or Drew Harris, but we need a back in this class, and Lynch would be a decent fallback plan. On the flip side, five-star athlete Devin Fuller took in Nebraska's victory over Ohio State in Lincoln, and, like Lynch, came away singing the home team's praises. This one is tough to read, but Penn State is definitely in the mix, though it appears the Huskers (as well as in-state Rutgers) will be tough to beat.
Now, back to the board after a #StarsDebate last week...
Penn State Class of 2012 commitments listed above each group in bold with commitment dates
Quarterback (2012 Quota: 1-2)
Skyler Mornhinweg (PA, 7/19/2011)
1. Devin Fuller (NJ)
Analysis: The #TeamMornhinweg2012 bandwagon is quickly filling up, so reserve your seat today. As mentioned, Fuller is pretty high on Nebraska, but don't count the Lions out just yet.
Running Back (2012 Quota: 1-2)
1. Akeel Lynch (NY)
2. Wes Brown (MD)
Analysis: Wes Brown is the "stud running back" that the staff needs to take in this class, and they are trying to make a strong push for the Good Counsel back. Lynch would be a good commitment, should he decommit from BC and pick Penn State, but he doesn't have the stars or offer list of Brown, for what it's worth.
Wide Receiver (2012 Quota: 2-3)
Eugene Lewis (PA, 8/10/2011)
1. Jordan Payton (CA)
2. Joel Caleb (VA)
Analysis: There could always be a late bloomer, but this position could also be done for the year. Keep an eye on Caleb, though. By all accounts he's headed to Blacksburg, but he's had some great things to say about Penn State in the past, and has now been to two White Outs in Happy Valley.
Tight End (2012 Quota: 2-3)
Brent Wilkerson (MD, 3/26/2011)
Jesse James (PA, 3/28,2011)
J.P. Holtz (PA, 7/22/2011)
1. Kent Taylor (FL)
Analysis: Like Spence's, Taylor's recruitment is getting very interesting, and seems to be a PSU/Florida battle. He lives in Florida, but is from PA. He has taken unofficial visits to both schools, and isn't concerned about the position recruiting of either school (PSU has three TE commits, while Florida is after another tight end from Georgia to go along with their already-committed PA TE Colin Thompson). If he chooses Florida as many expect, this position should close and Adam Breneman becomes a top target in 2013 for Penn State.
Offensive Line (2012 Quota: 4-5)
Anthony Stanko (OH, 3/19/2011)
J.J. Denman (PA, 5/18/2011)
Joey O’Connor (CO, 6/28/2011)
Analysis: If I were a gambling man, I'd say this position is closed out.
Defensive Tackle (2012 Quota: 4-5)
Brian Gaia (MD, 5/9/2011)
Derek Dowrey (VA, 6/25/2011)
Tommy Schutt (IL, 8/10/2011)
1. Ryan Watson (MD)
2. Jamil Pollard (NJ)
3. Faith Ekakitie (IL)
4. Korren Kirven (VA)
Analysis: Watson recently announced ($) a top four list that was very favorable to Penn State. It's tough to gauge these recruits, as this position could close successfully today. A nice interview with Tommy Schutt allays any fears of his loyalty to Penn State.
Defensive End (2012 Quota: 0-1)
1. Noah Spence (PA)
2. Noah Spence (PA)
3. Noah Spence (PA)
Analysis: Noah Spence-or-bust. See above.
Linebacker (2012 Quota: 2-3)
Cam Williams (MA, 3/25/2011)
Nyeem Wartman (PA, 7/9/2011)
Analysis: This position is done for the year. Solid group, but even more special when you consider the fact that Cam Williams has become one of the better recruiters for the staff. As if you needed a reason to like him even more, it appears that Cam has taken on the role of longsnapper for his team, apparently in an effort to get on the field earlier at Penn State. I'm not sure how longsnapping accomplishes that, but more power to him.
Defensive Back (2012 Quota: 4-6)
Jake Kiley (NH, 7/26/2011)
Armani Reeves (MA, 8/12/2011)
Malik Golden (CT, 8/24/2011)
1. Demetrious Cox (PA) (S)
2. (VA) (S)
3. Bam Bradley (OH) (S)
Analysis: The battle for Cox looks to be a Big Ten race, with Penn State slightly ahead of Michigan State. Ohio State is in there, but in a clear third at this point. However, a new Big Ten school ($) has emerged, and like LSU for Spence, might have recent success to thank.
Commits to Date: 17
Estimated Class Size: 21-25
Projected Positions Left (in no particular order): RB, WR, DB (1-2), DT, DE, TE