We made a sort of behind the scenes pact here at Black Shoe Diaries during this whole mess in that we would keep the soapbox speeches to a minimum, at least on the front page content. It's primarily why Chris has been the lone voice for us. With that in mind, I won't get into too much. In a week where there are countless victims, the Class of 2012 recruiting class seems like a silly thing to talk about.
But life must go on. There really isn't much new to discuss, other than the inevitable fallout over this whole mess. So what do we know? Some of it is premium, so those of you with Lions247 accounts already know that many of the current commits have reiterated their support ($) for the program. Of the 10 commits to comment in that article, only one seems to be on the fence. Notably absent from that article, however, are QB Skyler Mornhinweg and DT Tommy Schutt.
Rittenberg weighed on some of the commitments as well, including some despressing-but-expected news from high-profile commit Armani Reeves:
"Definitely," Reeves said when asked if he would be forced to reconsider if assistant coach Bill Kenney, his lead recruiter, was let go.
I don't think Bill Kenney is going anywhere...this year. If the staff is completely wiped clean after this year, which is an increasingly possible outcome, Penn State could lose many of the current commits, each of whom formed strong bonds with their lead recruiters. The flipside to that argument, though, is that if the right hire is made, some of those commits could be convinced to stay.
Bad News, Part One: The first fallout, that we've heard about, might be 2012 walk-on Bryton Barr, who told Ryan Snyder of BWI that he is thinking about decommitting. Barr has been tearing up his senior season, averaging something like 65 tackles per game (OK, an exaggeration, but every time I see an update regarding Barr, he has an absurd amount of tackles). Even though he is just a preferred walk-on, Barr could signal the beginning of something worse in this fallout.
Bad (BAD) News, Part Two: Even people that don't follow Penn State recruiting know who Noah Spence is. He is one of the highest rated recruits targeted by Penn State since TPeezy, but that seems to have come crashing down ($). You'll have to pay to see what he actually said, but it's...not good. I went from being moderately confident that Spence would end up in blue and white to astonishingly shocked if he ends up in blue and white.
What about the rest? Well, we still don't know a lot, in the underlying scandal or in the minds of current and prospective recruits. If I'm a current recruit being pursued by Penn State, I honestly don't know what I'm thinking. As I said, I won't editorialize too much, but I imagine a lot has to do with who is recruiting me or what else I'm hearing around the program. Either way, this mess has far reaching implications that affects so many people. In the grand scheme of things, recruiting is miniscule potatoes.
On with the show...(analyses are unchanged from last week, as these are likely going to change quickly; until we learn more, these will have to stay for now)
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