And now we wait...
With a lower-tier bowl almost certainly in our future, there isn't much to get excited about in the way of actual football. The recruits have seen all they are going to see in the way of schemes and playcalling, and now have the added unknown of a coaching search to deal with. Everyone - coaches, commits and recruits - is on hold.
The coaches don't know what their future will hold. Regardless of the next head coach, a good chunk of them will be gone next year. However, many of them are hitting the road this week, visiting not only current commits but also top-of-the-list targets in an effort to ease their fears. As stated in a Tuesday Recruitin' past, a coaching change alone is enough to spook some recruits, let alone a coachingchange AND athletic scandal AND potential NCAA violations. I don't envy these coaches, and I'm sure they are facing some pretty hard questions. However, with only one decommit (yea yea, so far), they've managed to at least keep the ship afloat. Kudos especially to Bill Kenney, who has taken over the Recruiting Coordinator role in Mike McQueary's absence.
The current commits are all paying close attention to Happy Valley for a variety of reasons. As I said before, many players commit to coaches rather than schools. If the kid's main recruiter is no longer there, the chances of that commit staying decrease markedly. So far only Joey O'Connor has opted out of Happy Valley. But I know many other players are keeping one eye on State College while keeping another on their options.
Finally, the targets are paying close attention to the situation as well. They know the PSU brand is at an all-time low right now, but they also know that they could be part of a team that turns that image around. Additionally, with the right hire and right offensive/defensive scheme, a top recruit who had previously shied away from Penn State might take another look. Devin Fuller, for example, might be more interested if he knows that Dan Mullen's spread is coming to Penn State.
With such uncertainty, it remains difficult to map out the rest of this recruiting season (roughly 65 days left), so be prepared for some surprises, both good and bad.
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: With certain names swirling about, this position just got interesting. Fuller seems to be a very good fit in Dan Mullen's pseudo-spread, and given the offenses run by PSU during their games headed by Tom Bradley, I think Fuller would be a good fit there as well. Overlooked by many, though, is that Mornhinweg is something of a mobile QB as well, so we could be sitting good here, provided Skyler doesn't leave.
Running Back (2012 Quota: 1-2)
1. Wes Brown (MD)
2. Akeel Lynch (NY)
Analysis: This is one position where I have absolutely no idea what is going on. Before the scandal, I would have put our chances with Lynch at about 90%. Brown was up there, too. But now, Brown is essentially gone and Lynch is probably rethinking his commitment to Boston College. With Green and Suhey gone, and Beachum's future questionable, we NEED to take at least one back in this class.
Wide Receiver (2012 Quota: 2-3)
Eugene Lewis (PA, 8/10/2011)
1. Joel Caleb (VA)
Analysis: Like the quarterback spot, this position is one of intrigue. It isn't a huge position of need in this class (at least not as of right now), so if it ended with Lewis, that would be fine. But Mullen has recruited the WR position pretty hard in four years.
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: I'm hearing the JP Holtz decommitment is all but official, though Tom Bradley was reportedly at his school yesterday. Wilkerson was at Virginia last week with friend and UVA commit Mike Moore, so hopefully nothing comes of that. PSU needs to 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: 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. No idea who is on the list here, so this, like the RB list, will be interesting to watch.
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: Pollard finally received his offer again, but we'll see if he jumps back on board. He will get a visit from Bradley and Ron Vanderlindenthis week. 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. Expect Noah to get at least one visit by a coach this week.
Linebacker (2012 Quota: 2-3)
Cam Williams (MA, 3/25/2011)
Nyeem Wartman (PA, 7/9/2011)
Analysis: 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 the scandal. 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: Kiley will be getting a visit this week, while Golden will be hearing from Kermit Buggs. Buggs will also accompany Tom Bradley on a trip to Jeannette to see Cox.
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