Being named head coach at Penn State weeks before the end of the Class of 2012 recruiting cycle presented Bill O'Brien with many challenges. Along with his new staff, though, Coach O'Brien was able to close out a class that could have ended a lot worse, given the circumstances surrounding the past four months.
With his first full year upon us, Coach O'Brien's first major test of the Class of 2013 begins in earnest this weekend, with 50+ recruits set to attend the first Penn State Junior Day weekend of the year. You can view the continuously updated lists as compiled by Lions247 ($) and Fight On State ($) with subscriptions, but our friends at Victory Bell Rings have also compiled a list of visitors free of charge (Many of these visitors have been independently confirmed by Black Shoe Diaries). Listing everyone is very difficult, as there are always last minute additions and subtractions. But below is a sampling of confirmed guests at each position.
In Junior Day news. The list.
Penn State Junior Day Attendee (abridged) List
Quarterback: Ryan Burns, Christian Hackenberg, Damion Terry, Boeing Brown, Tyler Cogswell
Burns and Hackenberg have offers, and the rest are looking for theirs. If this class ends up with one of the first two guys, and one of the remaining three, consider this QB haul a whopping success. We had an interview with Hackenberg a couple of weeks ago, and many feel he is the better of the two (Burns being the other top QB). There will be a couple of other lesser known (for now) quarterbacks in attendance.
Running Back: DeVeon Smith, David Williams, DeShawn Coleman, Richy Anderson
None of these three currently have offers, but expect at least one of them to leave camp with one. Williams, the top in-state rusher, would be a great commitment for the Nittany Lions. Just yesterday, Jared commented on how high DeVeon Smith's ceiling was, so watch for the Ohio native as well. Also, the answer is "Yes, Richy Anderson IS the son of THAT Richie Anderson."
Wide Receiver/Tight End:Adam Breneman (visiting Friday only), Robert Foster, Ryan Switzer, Tyler Boyd, William Fuller, Brian Lemelle
Breneman is the top dog here, despite Foster's higher rating on every service. While it's nice to see interest from highly rated, in-state prospects, I don't think PSU will be much of a player for Foster. Breneman and Switzer, on the other hand, would be great additions to the class. I've spoken with Switzer, Boyd and Lemelle, and will try to get some Junior Day reactions from each.
Offensive Line: Brad Hanson, Brendan Mahon, Dorian Johnson, Jordan Page, Tommy Hopkins
They're all listed over 6-5, a number of them near or over 300 pounds, and they all already have impressive offer sheets. Add Mac McWhorter and Craig Fitzgerald to the mix, and it's going to be a hard sell for these kids. Mahon and Johnson will be two to watch, the former being a western PA kid being strongly recruited by Pitt, and the latter being a New Jersey lineman with high interest in Penn State.
Defensive Line: Garrett Sickels, Rod Crayton, Curtis Cothran
Not too many defensive linemen visitors, but a few good ones nonetheless. We profiled Cothran earlier this week, while Sickels and Crayton are two out-of-state prospects that Larry Johnson would love to add. Crayton in particular, being from Alabama, would be a great pull and a fresh new direction in recruiting (in addition to Johnson'srecent California recruiting ($)).
Linebacker: Alex Anzalone, Zayd Issah, Jake Plonski, Hodari Christian
Jared and I brought you updates on Anzalone and Plonski, respectively, in the past week, and Issah is a top in-state linebacker from whom we'll hopefully be bringing you an update in the near future. Hailing from Central Dauphin, at the very least, I know Issah has one fan on the BSD staff. Additionally, highly rated New Jersey linebacker Buddy Brown will be on campus the following weekend, following his visit to Charlottesville this weekend.
Defensive Back: Reon Dawson, Delton Williams
With the secondary once again a major target in this recruiting class, Penn State will try to get as many defensive backs on campus as possible. Dawson is a good cornerback target out of Ohio, who looks to be traveling with a teammate of his, in whom Penn State is additionally interested. Stealing two good Trotwood-Madison recruits out of Ohio would be a great step forward in the Class of 2013.
Michigan Updates. As per usual, Ace has a pretty in depth update for Wolverine fans. Not too much overlap at this point, though there are some names you'll find both here and there. Expect that number to grow as we move into the 2013 cycle.
Urban Looks for a Quarterback. Eleven Warriors begins an interesting seriesthat I may have to steal later in the offseason, looking at each position quite in-depth through recruiting tinted glasses. And included is this paragraph by Jeremy, which I couldn't possibly agree more with:
It is my belief that to remain as one of the top football programs in the country, it is vital to recruit a quarterback every year, no matter what. There are some who disagree with me as a matter of numbers and semantics, but I think to maintain program's continuity, knowing who your QB is going to be in two years is just as important as knowing who it will be this year.
Ohio State appears to be targeting two quarterbacks in this class, with athlete Jalin Marshall in the fold already. The remaining targets listed don't really overlap with Penn State's list of top quarterbacks, which is good. Hey, I don't mind going head-to-head with Urban, as I feel Coach O'Brien will be able to hold his own in some of those battles. But if Urban, one of the country's best recruiters, isn't after Ryan Burns or Christian Hackenberg, I'm OK with that.
BOB Talks Recruiting. Coach O'Brien sat down with Sean Fitz of Lions247($) recently to discuss his recruiting plans, including answering questions posed by the L247 audience. Some quality information, including BOB's not-quite-specific geographic plan of attack.
I can tell you that every coach has an area of Pennsylvania, even the ninth coach that I hire will have an area of Pennsylvania. I'm not going to get into the specifics of where each guy is recruiting, but I can tell you that we're going to recruit New Jersey, we're going to recruit Ohio, we're going to recruit that Mid-Atlantic area of Maryland and D.C., we're going to recruit Northern Virginia and all of Virginia, too. We're going to recruit all of Florida, all of Georgia, we're going to recruit New York, specifically the Buffalo and Rochester area, we're going to recruit Ohio by the Cincinnati region and Northeast Ohio. We're going to recruit Michigan, we're going to recruit Delaware and we're going to recruit New England.
Staying With 247. If you're a premium member of 247Sports, you are well aware of Sean Fitz (and others, at times) unbelievable work with the "S Zone", a semi-weekly rundown of some great information. The first one of the 2013 cycle came out last week ($), and it did not disappoint.
Penn State Recruiting Class of 2013 Big Board
Estimated Class Size: 15-22
(Recruits listed in no particular order...yet)
1. Ryan Burns (Stone Bridge (VA))
2. Christian Hackenberg (Fork Union Military Academy (VA))
3. Kevin Olsen (Wayne Hills (NJ))
4. Caleb Scepaniak (Seton Catholic Central (NY))
5. Damion Terry (Erie Cathedral Prep (PA))
Others: Tyler Cogswell (American Heritage (FL)), John O'Korn (St. Thomas Aquinas (FL)), Boeing Brown (Brookfield (CT))
Running Backs (1-2)
1. Derrick Green (Hermitage (VA))
2. David Williams (West Philadelphia Catholic (PA))
3. Ty Isaac (Joliet (IL))
4. Richy Anderson (Johnson (MD))
5. DeVeon Smith (Howland (OH)
Others: Austin Brown (FB) (Easton Area (PA)), DeShawn Coleman (Hickory (PA))
Wide Receiver (1-3)
1. Robert Foster (Central Valley (PA))
2. Uriah LeMay (David W. Butler (NC))
3. Ryan Switzer (George Washington (WV))
4. Kyle LaPorte (Piscataway (NJ))
5. Myles Nash (Timber Creek (NJ))
Others: Shaquille James (West Philadelphia Catholic (PA)), Laquon Treadwell (Crete-monee (IL)), Delando Johnson (Calvert Hall College (MD)), Brian Lemelle (Bishop McDevitt (PA)), Tyler Boyd (Clairton (PA)), William Fuller (Roman Catholic (PA))
Tight End (0-1)
1. Adam Breneman (Cedar Cliff (PA))
Offensive Line (2-4)
1. Patrick Kugler (North Allegheny (PA))
2. Nick Arcidiacono (Archbishop Wood (PA))
3. Jaryd Jones-Smith (West Philadelphia Catholic (PA))
4. Mike McGlinchey (William Penn Charter (PA))
5. Kyle Bosch (St. Francis (IL))
Others: Brad Hanson (Monsignor Donovan (NJ)), Brendon Mahon (Randolph (NJ)), Dorian Johnson (Belle Vernon (PA)), Jordan Page (Pennington (NJ)), Tommy Hopkins (Westlake (NY))
Defensive Tackle (1-2)
1. Justin Moody (George Washington (PA))
2. Greg Webb (Timber Creek (NJ))
3. Henry Poggi (Gilman (MD))
4. Poet Thomas (Detroit Country Day (MI))
Others: Rod Crayton (Dadeville (AL))
Defensive End (2-4)
1. Dajaun Drennon (Timber Creek (NJ))
2. Jonathan Allen (Stone Bridge (VA))
3. Wyatt Teller (Liberty (VA))
4. Alquadin Muhammed (Don Bosco Prep (NJ))
5. TaShawn Bower (Immaculata (NJ))
Others: Garrett Sickles (Red Bank Regional (NJ)), Curtis Cothran (Council Rock North (PA))
1. Buddy Brown (Williamstown (NJ))
2. Ben Gedeon (Hudson (OH))
3. Tim Kimbrough (Warren Central (IN))
4. Mike McCray (Trotwood-Madison (OH))
5. Michael Deeb (American Heritage (FL))
Others: Zayd Issah (Central Dauphin (PA)), Alex Anzalone (Wyomissing (PA)), Jake Plonski (Erie Cathedral Prep (PA))
Defensive Back (3-4)
1. Kendall Fuller (CB) (Good Counsel (MD))
2. Eli Woodard (CB) (Eastern (NJ))
3. Nadir Barnwell (CB) (Piscataway (NJ))
4. Reon Dawson (S) (Trotwood-Madison (OH))
5. Kirk Garner (S) (Good Counsel (MD))
Others: Tim Harris(S) (Stone Bridge (VA)), Delando Johnson (S) (Calvert Hall College (MD)), Delton Williams (S) (Erie Cathedral Prep (PA))