Once again, Penn State football recruiting is pretty low on the "issues that matter to the Penn State community right now" scale, but it's still a topic we need to keep an eye on. With the decommitment of Joey O'Connor, the firing and/or removal of two coaches, and the pure chaos going on everywhere else, things are a hot mess with Penn State recruiting. But the dust will settle eventually. Unfortunately, Penn State is now without a leader, figuratively and literally, until a new, permanent staff takes over.
Mike McQueary had been serving as recruiting coordinator at Penn State for six years before his reign came to an end last week. The numbers for Joe Paterno, as I'm sure you've heard, are significantly longer. With NCAA regulations capping the number of coaches that are allowed to recruit, Penn State is now down two very important spots on their recruiting staff.
How will this staff respond? We already know that Tom Bradley, interim head coach (man is that weird to type), contacted as many of the recruits as he could to assure them of Penn State's commitment to their recruits as well as answer any questions they might have. After that, Penn State is struggling to keep the current commitments while actively trying to fill their remaining 6-10 spots. Sure, they've got hustlers Larry Johnson and Bill Kenney working on these recruits. But ushering two new coaches (Terrell Golden, Elijah Robinson) and continuing to have relatively ineffective coaches on staff, this class is in a tight spot.
As a wise man once said "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things." Here's to hoping PSU can keep this class on track and continue to do work on the remaining targets.
Commits, targets, and some brief scandal-related analysis 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: Mornhinweg has maintained his silence in the aftermath of JerryGate, which is never a good thing. Hopefully he's simply trying to ascertain all of the facts before making a life altering decision. Fuller was supposed to be at the Nebraska game, but cancelled, which should give you a good idea where his recruitment stands with Penn State.
Running Back (2012 Quota: 1-2)
1. Wes Brown (MD)
2. Akeel Lynch (NY)
3. Brionte Dunn (OH)
Analysis: Only Lynch has spoken out, stating that he is in "wait and see mode" ($ - info in title) with Penn State but certainly will take his time with any decision. Brown remains an enigma, and with all that has transpired, I'm not sure PSU is player for Dunn anymore (not that they were a major player before).
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. Lewis was on hand for the Nebraska game, a sure sign of solidarity and continued commitment. However, sources are telling me that his commitment might not be that solid, and Pitt (among others) already appears to be circling.
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. Breneman was at Penn State and had some good things to say ($ - info in header).
Offensive Line (2012 Quota: 4-5)
Anthony Stanko (OH, 3/19/2011)
Analysis: And just like that, we're down to one OL commit in this class. While we have some guys on the other side of the line that could eventually switch, getting one or two more OL commits will likely be a priority for the staff. Luckily,the one that remained appears to be a well articulated young man.
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. Dowrey was at the Nebraska game (with his Class of '13 brother). The only one here I could see dropping Penn State would be Tommy Schutt, but that's pure speculation.
Defensive End (2012 Quota: 0-1)
1. Noah Spence (PA)
2. Noah Spence (PA)
3. Noah Spence (PA)
Analysis: Noah Spence-or-bust. After the issue broke, Noah tweeted something to the effect that Penn State wasn't for him. After some reflection, Noah and father Greg have stated that Penn State is still in the hunt, but it will take some serious Larry Johnson-ing to fix this.
Linebacker (2012 Quota: 2-3)
Cam Williams (MA, 3/25/2011)
Nyeem Wartman (PA, 7/9/2011)
Analysis: Wartman was on hand for the Nebraska game. Williams and Armani Reeves have maintained their commitment to Penn State, but have also stated they will continue to explore options. Losing either or both would be bad news, given both their talent levels and dedication to Penn State prior to last week.
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: In a silver lining-esque turn of events, Cox has been saying some supportive stuff of the Nittany Lions. I still like where PSU stands here, but as with any of the other commits/targets, nothing would surprise me.
Commits to Date: 15
Estimated Class Size: 21-25
Projected Positions Left (in no particular order): OL (2), RB, WR, DB (1-2), DT, DE