On Robert Foster, Character, and Destinations Unknown. Five-star WR Robert Foster from Central Valley HS outside of Pittsburgh visited Ohio State last weekend, and the reactions from Foster, the staff, and fans are somewhat intriguing. There are rumors circulating that Foster didn't enjoy his trip to Columbus, and that Buckeyes have dropped Foster from their list and are no longer pursuing the nation's top wideout. This prompted fans from other schools to speculate that maybe Foster just didn't like Ohio State and the Buckeyes fans are simply suffering from Sour Grapes Syndrome.
However, a source inside Ohio State athletics tells Black Shoe Diaries "looks like Urban [Meyer] does not want Robert Foster...not a fan of his character after this weekend's visit." That alone goes along with the rumor that has been circulating the web, but this source added that "[Foster seemed to] have zero interest academics or anything non-football [related] and wasn't afraid to show it."
So maybe the initial reports were right, and Meyer didn't like the young man's attitude as it related to school and other off-field issues. Now you could wonder how that could be true after Meyer recruited some known issue-laden prospects at Florida, but if these reports are even close to correct, is this the kind of player you want Penn State recruiting, even if he is the nation's best wide receiver? I'm honestly asking, because (again, assuming the source is correct) this will be the first test of Bill O'Brien and his promise to keep "the Penn State way" alive.
Foster is friends with Rushel Shell, the western PA running back who chose hometown Pitt in the Class of 2012, so the Panthers are in the running here, as well as Alabama.
Spring Evaluation Period Begins Next Week. Beginning on Monday, and lasting through May, the 2012 Spring Evaluation period will begin, and the Penn State coaching staff (sans Bill O'Brien) will hit the road, scouting, recruiting, visiting, and establishing ties to Happy Valley. NCAA rules limit the head coaches activities, so O'Brien will be forced to stay behind and watch from afar as his new staff, with a couple old faces, get some quality face time with many of the recruits listed below. See this article for a pretty decent rundown about what the coaches can do during this time.
Big Weekend Visitors Are Big. A couple of top-rated in-state prospects will be on campus this weekend, as OL Dorian Johnson and LB Alex Anzalone have scheduled return trips to Penn State. The Lions are almost certainly in the top few schools for each of these recruits, but as of now, I wouldn't put the Lions on top for either. Pitt appears to be the team to beat for Johnson, while Ohio State and others appear to be on top for Anzalone. Another potential visitor is MA DT Maurice Hurst, who was reported to be on campus last weekend, but didn't end up making the trip.
Penn State Recruiting Class of 2013 Big Board
Estimated Class Size: 16-22
Current Commitments: 6
1. Christian Hackenberg (Fork Union (VA)) (Committed: 02/29/2012, Recruited by Charles London)
Others: Damion Terry (Erie Cathedral Prep (PA))
Notes: Hack will be visiting for Blue/White Weekend.
Running Backs (1-2)
1. David Williams (Imhotep Charter (PA)
2. Richie Anderson (Johnson (MD))
3. DeShawn Coleman (Hickory (PA))
4. Zaire Williams (Timber Creek (NJ))
5. Austin Brown (FB) (Easton Area (PA))
Notes: A lot of positive buzz surrounding David Williams after his recent visit to Penn State, and his recruitment should end any time over the next two months or so. Wisconsin and South Carolina appear to be the other top candidates for Williams' talent. Williams is the only uncommitted running back with a Penn State offer that seems to have mutual interest, as backs like Ty Isaac and Derrick Green are effectively off the board.
Wide Receiver (1-3)
1. Robert Foster (Central Valley (PA))
2. Brian Lemelle (Bishop McDevitt (PA))
3. Tyler Boyd (Clairton (PA))
4. Kyle LaPorte (Piscataway (NJ))
5. Paul Harris (Frederick Douglass (MD))
Others: Shaquille James (West Philadelphia Catholic (PA)), Delando Johnson (Calvert Hall College (MD)), William Fuller (Roman Catholic (PA))
Notes: Foster, see above. After him, it will be interesting to see how this position plays out. Lemelle is a top target for the slot position, but also attends a school whose relationship with PSU has been strained in the past. Can the new staff repair that relationship? Boyd is a real talented WR who has seen his recruitment blow up recently, while Harris is probably not headed to PSU.
Tight End (0-1)
1. Adam Breneman (Cedar Cliff (PA)) (Committed 03/09/2012, Recruited by the ENTIRE STAFF)
Offensive Line (3-5)
1. Brendan Mahon (Randolph (NJ)) (Committed 03/17/2012, Recruited by John Strollo)
2. Dorian Johnson (Belle Vernon (PA))
3. Derwin Gray (Friendship Academy (DC))
4. Jaryd Jones-Smith (West Philadelphia Catholic (PA))
5. Ethan Pocic (Lemont Township (IL))
Others: Brad Hanson (Monsignor Donovan (NJ)), Tommy Hopkins (Westlake (NY)), Jordan Page (Pennington (NJ)), Dan Samuelson (Plymouth (IN)), Tevin Montgomery (Tabor Academy (MA))
Notes: As stated above, Johnson will be visiting in a couple weekends. Getting him on campus is always a good thing; Pitt appears to be the team to beat for Johnson, and Oakland is less than an hour away. Pocic, arguably the highest rated OL listed, is looking closely at a few schools, none of which are Penn State.
Defensive Tackle (1-2)
1. Greg Webb (Timber Creek (NJ)) (Committed 04/05/2012, Recruited by Larry Johnson)
2. Justin Moody (George Washington (PA))
3. Donovan Munger (Shaker Heights (OH))
4. Donta Wilkins (Potomac (VA))
5. Henry Poggi (Gilman (MD))
Others: Rod Crayton (Dadeville (AL)), , Eddie Vanderdoes (Placer (CA)), Poet Thomas (Detroit Country Day (MI)), Maurice Hurst, Jr. (Xaverian Brothers (MA))
Notes: Greg Webb surprised everyone last week with his commitment, becoming the seventh member of the Class of 2013. It remains to be seen whether the staff will look to add to this position, but with Webb already on board, they can wait on some other prospects. Take one more top DT, and that's gravy; choose to take just Webb, and that's likely good enough for the staff.
Defensive End (2-3)
1. Garrett Sickels (Red Bank Regional (NJ) (Committed 03/04/2012, Recruited by Jon Strollo)
2. Curtis Cothran (Council Rock North (PA)) (Committed 03/26/2012, Recruited by John Butler)
3. Dajaun Drennon (Timber Creek (NJ))
4. Wyatt Teller (Liberty (VA))
5. Tracy Sprinkle (Elyria (OH))
Others: Jonathan Allen (Stone Bridge (VA)), Alquadin Muhammed (Don Bosco Prep (NJ)), Nick Arcidiacono (Archbishop Wood (PA))
Notes: Just before Greg Webb's commitment last week, Dajaun Drennon said that he would not be picking Penn State, as the coaches expressed their plans to only take two defensive ends in this class. While the possibility certainly exists to take another one down the line, this position appears to be closed up for now.
1. Alex Anzalone (Sam LB) (Wyomissing (PA))
2. Buddy Brown (Williamstown (NJ))
3. Michael Deeb (MLB) (American Heritage (FL))
4. Zayd Issah (Central Dauphin (PA))
Others: Marcus Newby (Quince Orchard (MD)), Tim Kimbrough (Warren Central (IN)), Jake Plonski (Erie Cathedral Prep (PA)) Micah Kiser (Gilman (MD))
Notes: Ryne Rankin committed to Georgia, as expected. Ben Gedeon committed to Michigan.
Defensive Back (3-4)
1. Ross Douglas (CB) (Avon (OH)) (Committed 02/29/2012, Recruited by Stan Hixon)
2. Anthony Averett (S) (Woodbury (NJ))
3. Kirk Garner (S) (Good Counsel (MD))
4. Nadir Barnwell (CB) (Piscataway (NJ))
5. Reon Dawson (S) (Trotwood-Madison (OH))
Others: Tim Harris (S) (Stone Bridge (VA)), Delando Johnson (S) (Calvert Hall College (MD)), Delton Williams (S) (Erie Cathedral Prep (PA)), Darian Hicks (CB) (Solon (OH))