Senior Matt Stankiewitch (54) was named to the Rimington Trophy watch list this week. The trophy is given annually to the nation's best center. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Welcome to the fold. Last week, Tim Hyland officially introduced himself to the Black Shoe Diaries family with a long form takedown of college football's latest critics. Tim is almost definitely the most accomplished writer to grace the front page of our corner of the internet - in addition to being a published writer, Tim is the founder and editor of The College Football Athenaeum, the home of the intelligent college football fan.
For those of you who have not seen much of his work, Tim penned the most thoughtful and in-depth piece relating to the complexities surrounding Joe Paterno's passing in January:
I am not, in other words, the dispassionate arbiter mentioned above. I cannot pass judgment on Joe Paterno without bias. I cannot offer you a full accounting of this man, nor give you a comprehensive and mathematical measure of his true legacy.
But you know what? I don't think anyone else can, either. Because Joe Paterno, now dead after 85 years on this earth, was far too complicated. His importance and influence was far too massive. His place in the world was far too blurred between myth and reality. This is not a man, you see, who can be fully understood days after his death, nor is he a man who will be fully understood five or 10 or 20 years after his death. I tell you this much: The task of judging this man now, in the immediate wake of his passing, is an impossible task indeed.
What I offer you here, then, is nothing more than what I can provide: A personal and honest view of a man I met only briefly, a man I spoke to either only in passing or in the strictly professional context, and a man that, despite his distance from me in most every way, somehow and someway shaped the way I, and many thousands of others, view the world we live in.
It may only be the world of the Inside, and so it may not be a world that you can ever understand, but it is my world nonetheless, and it is real, and I apologize not in the least for being here.
Welcome to the family, Tim. We're all incredibly lucky to have you here.
Watch out! Senior center Matt Stankiewitch was named to the watch list for the Rimington Trophy this week. The Rimington Trophy is given annually to the nation's best center. Former Nittany Lion center AQ Shipley won the award as a senior in 2008.
#GroundAndPound. Go get 'em, Stank.
Stealing Jeff's Thunder. Recruiting seems to be going very well under Bill O'Brien's leadership. But don't just take our word for it:
"I see their name everywhere," CBS Sports recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said of Penn State. "I see it in California a little bit. I see it in Texas, wherever there's a big-time ballplayer. You recruit your area, but then you also go after No. 1 draft choices around the country. There's not many schools that can do it, but Penn State could do it."
Allen Wallace, publisher of SuperPrep magazine, said taking a national approach has become imperative, especially with geography becoming less of a factor in conference affiliation.
"You hear a lot about coaches coming into programs, and they talk about shutting off the state borders or doing exceptionally well in-state. I think that sounds good public-relations wise, but ultimately, I think what's more important is to bring in players that can help your program," Wallace said. "I think (O'Brien's) just taking care of business in trying to make sure the Penn State brand has as much reach as possible."
Farrell said there is a "danger" in stretching recruiting resources too thin, but O'Brien is not exactly ignoring his home base. All of his assistant coaches recruit in Pennsylvania, and O'Brien has spoken at four state clinics for high school coaches, including two in the Pittsburgh area.
The day he was introduced as the Nittany Lions' coach, O'Brien visited the high school coaches who had convened at Penn State to vote on players for the 2012 Big 33 Game.
"That in itself was impressive and, once you hear Coach O'Brien speak, you can understand," said Central Valley coach Mark Lyons, president of the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association. "He has a plan in place, and he was ready to get moving with that plan."
A familiar face over at StateCollege.com points out four big name prospects that Penn State hopes to land . . . Coach O'Brien and staff will evaluate more prospects at the upcoming football camps, the biggest for recruiting being June 16th.
Finally an appointment of which I approve. Stephen S. Dunham, the exceptionally well qualified general counsel of Johns Hopkins University, has accepted the same position at Penn State.
"Wise counsel. Skilled representation. Magnificent leadership. Absolute integrity. We at Johns Hopkins have come to place unqualified reliance on Steve Dunham for these and for so much more," said Ronald J. Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins. "Steve is probably the most highly respected university attorney in the United States today. I deeply regret the loss to Johns Hopkins - and to me - of such an outstanding colleague, adviser and university citizen. At the same time, however, I am pleased for Steve that he will be able to bring his considerable intelligence, skill and abilities to the service of such an important sister institution."
Dunham has worked on a number of high-profile matters that involve the intersection of law, reputation, risk management, the press and government investigations. "I recognize the serious nature of the matters Penn State faces, and I hope that the combination of my private-practice background and experience representing colleges and universities will be a good balance for the needs of the University," he said.
Dunham graduated from Princeton University in 1966 and from Yale Law School in 1969. He comes to Penn State from Johns Hopkins University, where he has been vice president and general counsel since 2005. Dunham began his legal career in San Francisco, where he joined the law firm of Morrison and Foerster in 1972. He joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota Law School in 1979 and became general counsel and then vice president and general counsel for the period 1982-88. He rejoined Morrison and Foerster in its Denver office in 1988 and specialized in litigation and higher education law. He also served for several years as a managing partner and then chair of the 1,000-lawyer firm.
Emphasis supplied. Dunham takes this job during the most challenging legal period in the history of the university (and perhaps any university). He'll need to be as exceptional as his pedigree suggests. Good luck to him. Meanwhile, Dunham's predecessor, former State Supreme Court Justice Cynthia Baldwin, has apparently retained her own attorney. Baldwin came under fire alongside the rest of the Penn State administration for her apparent misreading of the seriousness of the Sandusky scandal.
More scandal news. In totally surprising and completely shocking news, prosecutors in the Jerry Sandusky case say that dismissing the charges against the former Penn State defensive coordinator would be "premature." More on that and the results of the defendant's motion to dismiss after the conclusion of the May 30th pre-trial hearing . . . The Second Mile, the charity Sandusky founded, intends to shut down operations and transfer all assets and programs to a youth ministry that serves abused and neglected children in Texas. The charity will remain a legal entity in order to continue to cooperate with ongoing investigations.
Break out the washboard and magic tricks. After his November 9th resignation, Graham Spanier left the public spotlight. Now, Penn State's former president is seeking the release of certain emails that the university is withholding.
Spanier isn't asking for money in the lawsuit, which claims that he first was told Penn State emails from before 2004 didn't exist and that he recently learned at least some of those emails have been retrieved but the school refuses to allow him to see them.
Spanier's lawyers claim that Penn State attorneys were willing to send copies of the emails but allege the attorney general's office asked the school not to do so. The lawsuit seeks to have a court force the school to give copies of the emails to Spanier so he can be better prepared to testify for the internal investigation.
Other Penn State news. The University has signed a ten-year extension of its contract with Pepsi . . . Spanier and Paterno each made over $1 million in 2011 . . . Penn State's EcoCAR 2 team won 6 awards at the Year One competition . . .
What it's all about. Congratulations to Shounda Hathaway, who graduated through the Penn State World Campus after a 26-year journey. Take a look at her inspiring story.
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