Saturday's coming out party for the Penn State offense was marred by the injuries to two of the best players on the defense, adding to an already unfortunate injury list. In the world of high school football, as you might imagine, injuries happen just as frequently, and the Penn State recruits were not immune to the injury bug this week.
Reports came out this weekend that PA RB Drew Harris tore an ACL and would miss the remainder of the season. Penn State isn't likely to land Harris, though the Lions are gaining ground. However, the ubiquitous Sean Fitz put those reports to bed, stating that Harris' injury reports were not true, according to his father. The extent of Harris' injury, if any, is unknown at this point.
Also making the rounds were reports that MA DB (and current commit) Armani Reeves had been seriously injured in action on Friday. But like the Harris reports, it was later discovered that Reeves' injury was relatively minor, though we'll continue to monitor both players.
In a single matchup in Ohio, two high profile running backs suffered injuries this week. Bri'onte Dunn tweaked something is his hip or leg. He didn't play the second half, but was apparently able to walk off under his own power. Earlier in the same game, Austintown Fitch's Will Mahone was injured on the first possession of the game and did not return. Dunn's GlenOak squad took care of Mahone's team handily, winning 21-10.
In non-injury news, the Eastern Michigan game didn't see too many visitors, at least not from the Class of '12. CO OL Joey O'Connor took his official visit after a win on Thursday. Other than the four-star lineman, Penn State's hosting duties were limited to a small cache of Class of '13 recruits.
The only other big news this week was the announcement date set by Kent Taylor. On October 27, the highly sought tight end from Florida will choose, likely between Florida and Penn State, though Florida State and Georgia remain in the mix. Most analysts have the Gators winning this one, but don't count the Lions out yet. Taylor has family in Pennsylvania and grew up a Penn State fan.
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: Shrouded in mystery (seriously, one of Fuller's cuts was a top eleven), this has been shaping into a Rutgers/Nebraska/Penn State race recently. Rutgers is the hometown favorite, and Nebaska recently gained a commitment from three-star QB Tommy Armstrong. The former will be tough to overcome while the latter might make this a two-horse race.
Running Back (2012 Quota: 1-2)
1. Akeel Lynch (NY)
2. Kenno Loyal (GA)
3. Drew Harris (PA)
Analysis: Last week we reported here that Bill Belton was running with the backs in practice, but that era has come to a quick end, as Belton saw action against EMU as a wide receiver. Given his versatility, it is not paramount that the team take two running backs in this class, but they need a top back in this class.
Wide Receiver (2012 Quota: 2-3)
Eugene Lewis (PA, 8/10/2011)
1. Jordan Payton (CA)
2. Joel Caleb (VA)
Analysis: There could always be a late bloomer, but this position could also be done for the year. Keep an eye on Caleb, though. By all accounts he's headed to Blacksburg, but he's had some great things to say about Penn State in the past, and has now been to two White Outs in Happy Valley.
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)
1. Kent Taylor (FL)
Analysis: It's tough to say where any of these three commits will end up, so landing Kent Taylor is not paramount, especially given the recent report that Penn State is sitting well ($ - info in title) with Class of '13 TE Adam Breneman. Taylor looks like a solid prospect that the staff will certainly find a spot for if he chooses Penn State.
Offensive Line (2012 Quota: 4-5)
Anthony Stanko (OH, 3/19/2011)
J.J. Denman (PA, 5/18/2011)
Joey O’Connor (CO, 6/28/2011)
Analysis: If I were a gambling man, I'd say this position is closed out.
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 recently announced ($) a top four list that was very favorable to Penn State. It's tough to gauge these recruits, as this position could close successfully today. Pollard still has grade issues, but Penn State remains in the mix should his academics improve.
Defensive End (2012 Quota: 0-1)
1. Noah Spence (PA)
2. Noah Spence (PA)
3. Noah Spence (PA)
Analysis: Noah Spence-or-bust. Spence's Bishop McDevitt squad bounced back from a 3-0 loss the week prior to beat Susquehanna Twp. 28-21. To help, Spence attempted to separate Susquehanna Twp. quarterback Anthony Gelbaugh's upper body from his lower body.
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: Well, cornerbacks are wrapped up now, thanks to the New England Triumverate. Penn State will now focus its attention on safeties, with Demetrious Cox being the clear leader on the secondary board. The battle for Cox looks to be a Big Ten race, with Penn State slightly ahead of Michigan State. Ohio State is in there, but in a clear third at this point.
Commits to Date: 17
Estimated Class Size: 21-25
Projected Positions Left (in no particular order): RB, WR, DB (1-2), DT, DE, TE