Wendy Laurent, OL.
The second to last Penn State Class of 2012 commitment, Laurent made his decision just days before the February 1st Signing Day. The Penn State coaching staff is hoping they got a diamond in the rough with the under-the-radar Laurent, who helped salvage the Nittany Lion class to respectability. Still, the big offensive lineman from Anthony Alosi's old stomping grounds in New Jersey has as good a chance as making an impact at Penn State as anyone--if there's one position the recruiting services never seem to get right, it's the OL.
The 6'4, 285-pound Laurent, who was born in Haiti before his parents fled the poverty-stricken island when he was one, displays good size and athleticism in the above highlight video, and was named to the New Jersey All-Prep first team, but committed to Penn State over Navy, UConn, Buffalo, and a slew of 1-AA schools. He also led his Hun School football team to its first conference title in five years, and was a two-way starter for the past three.
He's a versatile player, with the ability to slot in either at guard or tackle--or even make the shift to the defensive line, if that's what's asked of him. Of the three recruiting services, one listed Laurent as a three-star guard, one as a three-star center, and one as a two-star defensive tackle.
"He played guard, center and tackle for us on offense and both defensive end and defensive tackle," Dudeck [Laurent's coach] said. "I think he projects more as an offensive lineman because Penn State has a need at those positions right now."
That need, and the fact that Nittany Lions OL coach Mac McWhorter handled Laurent's recruitment should indicate that Laurent will start on offense, likely on the interior of the line. And the fact that he caught McWhorter's eye means that the former Assistant Coach of the Year probably deserves the benefit of the doubt.
Dudeck offered a scouting report to the Altoona Mirror:
"He's very bright. He has a good football intellect. He possesses all the intangibles. He's a very, very hard worker. The biggest thing is that he's very, very young. As he matures, he's going to be developed in the weight room. I've seen it. He played basketball up until last year. Once he gave up basketball and got into the weight room, he's made huge strides. He's 280, 285 now with long arms. He's still very quick. He has such an upside.''
But more important than that upide is that Laurent is a well-spoken young man who seems to understand the Penn State ideal.
"There is a connection between the students and the football program," Laurent said. "I loved the school because of the passion the students have for academics and football.
"Driving out to Penn State I knew I liked the football end of it," he added. "The question was whether I would fit in well socially and academically." ... "I always wanted to play Division I (Football Bowl Subdivision) and my dad was concerned about academics. At Penn State, I get both."
"Penn State is still a great institution and a great program. Once I met the new coaching staff and saw they were great people with great personality, I knew it was the place for me. I am looking toward the future, not what happened in the past."
Great! Welcome aboard, Wendy.