In case you weren't aware, there's football in the air. Oh, you knew? Well, the same rings true for America's high school players, some of whom are wrapping up their years, but almost all of which are still playing football. As such, the recruiting front has become quiet recently. Especially at Penn State.
The Nittany Lion recruiting model includes a strong initial push with as many solid commitments before the season as possible. Sometimes it works (see 2010, 2012), sometimes it doesn't (see 2011). Either way, when the high school football season ramps up, the Penn State effort slows down. Granted, they have other things to worry about, but things have been more subdued since the last commitment (remember Malik Golden? Yea, his siren was about 70 days ago). After a strong beginning, the staff and fans alike are hoping for a strong finish over the last three months.
We're at 16 commits at the moment; by my count, there are 66 players on roster that have at least one more year of eligibility remaining, leaving us with a target of 19 commitments. However, there is always some turnover after the season (injuries, life after football, transfers, etc.), so I'm expecting this class to be in the low-20s when all is said and done. So let's say 23, and we have seven commitments left. What does your dream team look like? Here's mine, and if we close out with these guys, the class will be a roaring success.
1. Noah Spence. Instant playmaker at a position that will lose two top players in Jack Crawford and Eric Latimore.
2. Devin Fuller. QB is (once again) going to be a crapshoot in 2012, so we'll need as much help as we can get, and Fuller fills that wildcard role.
3. Demetrious Cox. Despite coming from the same high school as TPeezy, Cox looks the part of a solid dback (instead of dbag).
4. Wes Brown. Probably the most important spot left on the board is stud RB, and Brown fits the mold.
5. Jamil Pollard. Something tells me the former commitment turns his academic standing around and rejoins the Class of '12.
6. Brionte Dunn. It's not going to happen, but this is a dream team, right? There's a chance though, however remote.
7. Ryan Watson. One more solid lineman, for good measure.
Land five of those guys and
the cupboard will be well stocked for Urban Meyer this class will be a success of Top Ten proportions.
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: Penn State's quarterback situation heading into 2012 is about as murky as can be, as there is no telling who will be back next year. Mornhinweg provides depth, but taking another QB might becoming more and more of a necessity. Unfortunately, some recent news out of the Fuller camp has me concerned that PSU is a distant third to Nebraska and Rutgers.
Running Back (2012 Quota: 1-2)
1. Wes Brown (MD)
2. Akeel Lynch (NY)
3. Brionte Dunn (OH)
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. Like Fuller, recent reports have him heading elsewhere, but I'm still hopeful for Brown. 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. Dunn appears to be softening on his commitment to OSU, but Michigan is a clear number one on his list of potential suitors, with PSU also in the running.
Wide Receiver (2012 Quota: 2-3)
Eugene Lewis (PA, 8/10/2011)
1. Jordan Payton (CA)
2. Joel Caleb (VA)
Analysis: Payton was set to announce last week, but postponed. Either way, it'd be the biggest coup in years if we landed him. Landing Caleb 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)
Analysis: With Kent Taylor's commitment to Florida, this position is done. Adam Breneman (Class of '13) is now a top priority for whomever is coaching at PSU next year.
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: Like Wes Brown above, reports have Watson heading elsewhere (Pitt? Pitt!), but also like Brown, I'm not counting this one out yet. Pollard, as we've said in the past, is still in the mix, as long as his grades improve.
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. Cox recently gave a shoutout to a person many PSU fans should recognize.
Commits to Date: 16
Estimated Class Size: 21-25
Projected Positions Left (in no particular order): OL, RB, WR, DB (1-2), DT, DE