The big news of the week, in terms of recruiting, is the JJ Denman decommitment. I can't really fault Denman; the young man made the best choice for him, and chose a school notorious for producing solid offensive linemen. I won't say I wish him well, since we'll still have to face him, but this isn't something we can blame on anyone.
So where does Penn State go from here on the offensive front? Current Pitt commit and former PSU target Adam Bisnowaty is a name that is getting thrown around, but I doubt he is in play. Other than that, there isn't much out there for the time being. One name to keep an eye on, however, is Ryan Watson, a four-star OL prospect from Good Counsel. In addition to jumping to the top of the chart, Watson is teammates with another highly sought player at a position of need - RB Wes Brown. If Larry Johnson, Sr. can somehow pull both of these players, Penn State will have averted a mini-crisis. Look for more on these guys next week.
Unfortunately, Denman wasn't the only PSU commit or prospect that was impressed with Wisconsin. Apparently Jeannette (PA) S Demetrious Cox thoroughly enjoyed his recent visit, enough that some analysts say the Badgers now lead. I still think Penn State is the team to beat, but the Badgers are making a good push for Cox.
The new Denman-less Big Board after the jump...
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. Fuller is pretty high on Nebraska and Rutgers, 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: Not much new here, as both targets are keeping their recruitment pretty close to the vest, with several teams still in play for either receiver. Landing either would be great, but landing neither won't hurt too much. With only Derek Moye leaving after this season, an even one-for-one replacement is good enough.
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)
Joey O’Connor (CO, 6/28/2011)
Analysis: Well now, with the Denman decommitment, we're back in the game for some linemen. Unfortunately, given that Penn State felt secure with their haul, talks with others have cooled. We're now looking at one or two more linemen, not necessarily OL. So see below for target list.
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. Pollard, according to some, has been working very hard to get his grades up, and Penn State is definitely still in it for the big man.
Defensive End (2012 Quota: 0-1)
1. Noah Spence (PA)
2. Noah Spence (PA)
3. Noah Spence (PA)
Analysis: Noah Spence-or-bust.
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, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Ohio State the leaders.
Commits to Date: 16
Estimated Class Size: 21-25
Projected Positions Left (in no particular order): OL, RB, WR, DB (1-2), DT, DE, TE