Anytime there are issues surrounding a college football team, recruiting is going to take a hit. Unless you're paying the players to come to
Auburnyour school, kids see uncertainty and confusion as prime reasons to look elsewhere. It's why Ohio State lost commits in the wake of their scandals, why Miami took a hit after NevinGate, and so on. Sure, these teams can and likely will rebound. But in the short term, things get dicey.
Unfortunately, Penn State is dealing with the triumverate of issues and uncertainty. First and foremost, a horrendous scandal has erupted on campus, one with a fact pattern that chills many to the bone. Irrespective of the guilt or innocence of most of the parties involved, an 18-year old kid is going to see that as an extreme turn-off (as seen below).
Secondly, Penn State will be dealing with an NCAA investigation. Again, regardless of the guilt or innocence of Penn State in this investigation, the mere appearance of NCAA investigators on campus and news of such investigation in the papers turns some recruiting leans to recruiting not-gonna-happens.
Finally, and probably the most on-point issue, for the recruits at least, is the coaching staff uncertainty. Many times, these kids commit to their recruiters and their coaches, not necessarily the school in question. It's why even current players have hinted at their displeasure with the coaching change. It's why current commits are keeping a close eye on the makeup of Lasch Building come January/February. It's why making the perfect choice for the next permanent head coach is such an important decision, among many other reasons.
These three issues are all going against Penn State, but to date we've only had one commit and one preferred walk-on decommit. I wouldn't be surprised to see that number rise, but that further we get past this, the better the chances that those who have committed will stick around. It is now incumbent for the current staff to convey the proper message to other recruits. Even if this staff won't be around, they still want to see the Penn State name succeed. I just don't see them jumping ship and leaving the proverbial cupboard bare for the next regime.
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. I've seen conflicting reports of him dropping us completely, and also of his continued interest.
Running Back (2012 Quota: 1-2)
1. Wes Brown (MD)
2. Akeel Lynch (NY)
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. Brionte Dunn officially dropped PSU from contention.
Wide Receiver (2012 Quota: 2-3)
Eugene Lewis (PA, 8/10/2011)
1. Joel Caleb (VA)
Analysis: 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: JP Holtz appears to be very close to purchasing a ticket to Decommitment Town, but until that is official, this position remains solid. If he does decommit, I'm not sure if the staff will go after another '12 kid, or continue to hotly pursue Class of '13 TE Adam Breneman, who appears to remain high on Penn State.
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: Watson has apparently cooled on PSU in the aftermath of The Thing. Pollard finally received his offer again, but we'll see if he jumps back on board. The only commit 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 Thing 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. Preferred walk-on Bryton Barr officially decommitted.
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. After the OSU game, Reeves tweeted something about hoping PSU allows him to run the wildcat (which I hope they do, after looking at his senior stats).
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