David Williams, Future Penn Stater? As we brought you on Tuesday, David Williams spent the weekend at Penn State, and was essentially hosted by Adam Breneman and Christian Hackenberg, each of whom felt very good about Williams' future as it relates to Penn State. Williams was also looking at Ohio State, but they recently got a commitment from Ezekial Elliott, and likely closes out a spot for Williams. Wisconsin and South Carolina are the teams to worry about here, but the Nittany Lions are standing very well for Williams services. A decision is expected within the next two months.
Big Names, Future Visits. Also reported on here, Alex Anzalone will be visiting in a couple weekends, and Tim from Victory Bell Rings (and PennLive) announced that he'll be joined by top PA OL Dorian Johnson. We spoke with Johnson after his visit to Penn State's Junior Day, and while he had a great time and a return visit is usually a good indicator of mutual interest, hometown Pitt is very strong here. Look for a good ol' fashioned in-state battle for a top lineman. Tim also said that DT Maurice Hurst, Jr. could be on the visit as well.
Additionally, NJ LB Buddy Brown was on campus yesterday, along with Class of 2012 QB Steven Bench to take in Spring Practice No. 5. We'll try to catch up with one or both of these guys. Given the need for linebackers in this class, it's tough to imagine Penn State not taking Brown's commitment if he's ready to give it; then again, the staff may be holding out for other, higher rated linebackers.
Searching For Wes Welker. WV WR Ryan Switzer will be a Tar Heel in 2013, and as such, Penn State is back to the drawing board for their slot WR prospect in this class. PA WR Brian Lemelle is still available, and would certainly fit the bill, but it seems that the staff is looking elsewhere, as well. FL WR Alvin Bailey reportedly received an offer from Penn State, though I'm not sure how much mutual interest there is.
2013 U.S. Army All American Bowl, Meet Garrett Sickels. The promising New Jersey defensive end and Penn State commit will be playing in the prestigious all-star game next year, along with some top targets, including Alex Anzalone, Greg Webb, and others.
Rutgers = A Blind Squirrel. Yes, 2006 was super awesome,
Uncle Rico Rutgers football fans. But that doesn't make you a powerhouse. The sooner you stop complaining about losing top in-state talent to other schools, the easier following your football team will be on your emotions.
Brendan Mahon, Garrett Sickels: Committed to Penn State; Greg Webb, Buddy Brown: High on and/or potential commits to Penn State in the near future. All four of these players are in the top 14 of 247Sports' rankings of a surprisingly deep New Jersey in 2013. Rutgers' highest rated in-state commitment? 28. Woof. If you have some time, make your way to the Rutgers message boards just after an in-state player heads out of state, especially to Penn State.
Conversely, it is very nice to see Penn State blanketing the state of New Jersey with a number of recruiters, and targeting a neighboring state that didn't send too much to Penn State in the past few years.
Commit Watch? Speaking of Webb and Brown...Webb is set to make his decision today, if what he told some other analysts is true, and Penn State fans should be expecting good things. Webb was on campus two weekends ago, and Brown, as mentioned, was on campus this week, and could very well end up a Nittany Lion in the near future. However, with the recent revelation that Penn State is out of the mix for Dajaun Drennon, Webb may be slowing down. So basically, anything could happen over the next couple of weeks for Webb, who did confirm to me last night that he'll be returning for Blue/White Weekend.
Off The Board. Penn State's new national approach to recruiting is nice to see, but as expected, it isn't paying immediate dividends. CA DB Chris Hawkins committed to USC, FL RB Greg Bryant committed to Oklahoma, and MO RB Ezekial Elliott committed to Ohio State. Establishing new relationships and setting the groundwork for potential future pipelines is the intent of this new approach; regularly pursuing the top talent in the south and west is the long-term goal.
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 was on campus last weekend, and is set to visit next for Blue/White Weekend.
Running Backs (1-2)
1. David Williams (West Philadelphia Catholic (PA))
2. Richie Anderson (Johnson (MD))
3. DeShawn Coleman (Hickory (PA))
4. Austin Brown (FB) (Easton Area (PA))
Notes: Derrick Green appears to be an Ohio State lean, and at the least, he's not high on PSU. Ty Isaac is likely headed to Michigan (who is also a player for Green), and Ezekial Elliott is off the board. All of the early eggs appear to be in the David Williams basket; at times in the recent past this strategy has backfired, but in this instance, I think Penn State ends up on top. Whether the staff stops at Williams (if he commits to PSU) or pursues a second back is an interesting issue to follow - Williams has been told he's the man at running back for Penn State, so what kind of message would it send to get his commitment and recruit more backs? Then again, he knows he'll face competition wherever he goes, so it'll be interesting to watch.
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 is set for a couple visits this weekend, including Ohio State, but not to Penn State. Foster is supposed to be at the Blue/White Game in April, but that is currently up in the air. Paul Harris is supposed to be visiting Penn State soon ($ - info in teaser). With Switzer headed to Chapel Hill, Lemelle is probably the top guy at slot WR...for now, at least. Myles Nash told me recently that the Penn State staff had stopped recruiting him for the time being. Will be interesting to see what happens if his Timber Creek teammates Webb and/or Drennon end up at Penn State.
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. Brad Hanson (Monsignor Donovan (NJ))
4. Jaryd Jones-Smith (West Philadelphia Catholic (PA))
5. Ethan Pocic (Lemont Township (IL))
Others: 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.
Defensive Tackle (1-2)
1. Greg Webb (Timber Creek (NJ))
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: We've covered Webb by now. Hurst is set to be on campus sometime in April. Not much other movement here, from Penn State's perspective.
Defensive End (2-4)
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: Tashawn Bower recently named a Top Ten that didn't include PSU, so he's off the board for now. Allen and Muhammed are extreme longshots, so it's probably not long until they are off the board as well. There is likely only one more spot here, so the staff can be choosy if they want, though Drennon would be one they would take immediately. Late last night, Dajaun Drennon apparently cut PSU from his list, in a surprise move given what we think we know about Greg Webb. According to Drennon, the staff is looking to take just the two defensive ends already committed.
1. Alex Anzalone (Sam LB) (Wyomissing (PA))
2. Buddy Brown (Williamstown (NJ))
3. Michael Deeb (MLB) (American Heritage (FL))
4. Ryne Rankin (East River (FL))
5. Zayd Issah (Central Dauphin (PA))
Others: Marcus Newby (Quince Orchard (MD)), Tim Kimbrough (Warren Central (IN)), Ben Gedeon (Hudson (OH)), Jake Plonski (Erie Cathedral Prep (PA)) Micah Kiser (Gilman (MD))
Notes: Alex Anzalone is currently on his West Coast swing, and we'll catch up with him when he returns to the good side of the country. Talks with Issah have cooled a bit, while the two Florida linebackers are likely going to take their time to make any decisions.
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))
Notes: Devin Butler committed to Notre Dame.