News? What News? Ohhh, THAT News! Two sirens in one week, mere days after a certain trial in Bellefonte came to an end, and the Penn State fanbase rejoiced. First, in somewhat surprising fashion, Belle Vernon (PA) OL Dorian Johnson chose the Nittany Lions over Pitt (and Ohio State and West Virginia, running a distant third and fourth).
“The scandal doesn't concern me, because this is a whole new staff that I made a great relationship with,” he said. “They had nothing to do with it.”
But he wanted to make sure his mother and grandmother were comfortable with the program, too, so they came along on the visit. They gave him a thumbs up on the drive back to Belle Vernon and Johnson called O'Brien with the news of the commitment Sunday night.
“I've been feeling it for the last week and a half or so that I wanted to go to Penn State, and we talked about it the whole ride home,” Johnson said. “I made the decision beforehand, but wanted to confirm it Saturday.
“My grandmother and mother loved Penn State, and they loved it more after Saturday,” he added.
A couple of days later, lucky number 13 came calling in the form of Damascus (MD) LB Zach Bradshaw, a three-star prospect and the first Maryland commit in the Class of '13.
"Zach is excited and Penn State is excited. As a family we're all just thrilled with his choice. He had a lot of great options and the final four schools that he selected were all great opportunities. He had to make those phone calls to the other schools this morning, that's a tough thing for a 17-year-old to do. The last phone call was the easiest one, I guess."
The 6-foot-3, 209-pound rising senior chose the Nittany Lions over scholarship offers from Michigan, Northwestern, South Carolina and Virginia, among others. He was recruited for the Nittany Lions by Penn State assistant Larry Johnson and will play outside linebacker at the next level.
Who's Coming With [Dorian, Zach, et al.]? With 13 commits on the board in a class targeted at ~21 spots, what is left? Four of the spots will likely go to linebackers and defensive backs. That leaves roughly 4 spots left for other commits. My guess is that those spots will be one or two running backs, one wide receiver, and a defensive lineman, with the possible addition of an "athlete"-type recruit, that can be plugged into a number of different positions. David Williams, Zaire Williams, and Tyler Boyd would fit nicely. And just last night I received word that Penn State is the "heavy favorite" for one of those three, though it wouldn't surprise me if Penn State were actually the heavy favorite for all three.
Last Camp, Last Camp, Last Camp, Toooonight. Today marks the fifth and final Penn State Football Camp for the summer of 2012, and there will be a host of big names on campus. High profile commits like Adam Breneman, Christian Hackenberg, Ross Douglas, and Curtis Cothran will be in attendance along with some uncommitted prospects. Namely, PA LB Alex Anzalone and NJ RB Zaire Williams are just a few of the prospects that will be around. Commit Will Fuller can't make the trip due to a 7 on 7 commitment today, and we're not sure if or how that may affect David Williams' travel plans. Hopefully Williams can still make it to Happy Valley.
As Always. The Big Board, after the jump.
Penn State Recruiting Class of 2013 Big Board
Estimated Class Size: 18-22
Current Commitments: 13
1. Christian Hackenberg (Fork Union (VA)) (Committed: 02/29/2012, Recruited by Charles London)
Notes: Time to start looking forward to 2014, with names like Andrew Ford, Chance Stewart, and others already popping up on the radar.
Running Backs (1-2)
1. David Williams (Imhotep Charter (PA))
2. Derrick Green (Hermitage (VA))
3. Zaire Williams (Timber Creek (NJ))
Notes: This update is beginning to sound like a broken record - David Williams is at the top of the board, Derrick Green almost certainly won't end up at PSU, and there is plenty of time left in the recruiting year. However, the staff (and current commits that are "recruiting" Williams) want the talented running back on board. If Williams is able to make it to Penn State today, look for a full court press (well, don't literally look, since the event is closed to outsiders). Zaire Williams will be on campus today at the Penn State camp, and will look to receive the coveted Nittany Lion scholarship offer.
Wide Receiver (1-2)
1. Will Fuller (Roman Catholic (PA)) (Committed 06/05/2012) (Recruited by Ron Vanderlinden)
2. Tyler Boyd (Clairton (PA))
3. Brian Lemelle (Bishop McDevitt (PA))
4. Daryl Worley (William Penn Charter (PA))
5. Paul Harris (Frederick Douglass (MD))
Notes: The buzz around Tyler Boyd has been building for some time, and really got going this past weekend for Penn State fans when Boyd and Christian Hackenberg really connected at a Rivals camp. The two were very impressive on the field, and have apparently become good friends off of it, with the Virginia quarterback pushing hard for the Pennsylvania wide receiver. And why not? Hack already has his star tight end, a talented tackle to protect his blind side, a slot receiver for the drag routes, and now he wants his long ball threat.
Tight End (0-1)
1. Adam Breneman (Cedar Cliff (PA)) (Committed 03/09/2012, Recruited by the ENTIRE STAFF)
Notes: Done for 2013, but Class of '14 OH TE/LB Michael Ferns is down to a final three of PSU, Michigan, and Notre Dame, with each fanbase claiming a slight edge. Ferns is an early Top100 recruit, according to 247Sports.
Offensive Line (2-3)
1. Brendan Mahon (Randolph (NJ)) (Committed 03/17/2012, Recruited by John Strollo)
2. Andrew Nelson (Hershey (PA)) (Committed 04/15/2012, Recruited by Larry Johnson)
3. Dorian Johnson (Belle Vernon (PA)) (Committed 06/25/2012, Recruited by Charles London)
Notes: This position is most assuredly closed out now, with the huge (both literally and figuratively) addition of Dorian Johnson.
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. Tevin Montgomery (Tabor Academy (MA))
5. Poet Thomas (Detroit Country Day (MI))
Notes: Should someone like Eddie Vanderdoes (who is planning a visit to Happy Valley after building a great relationship with Larry Johnson and Bill O'Brien) decide to pick PSU, you find a spot. However, right now it is slow moving out there, as it doesn't seem like the staff is really pressuring any of these other guys or that they are really making a play for any of them.
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)
Notes: This position is probably closed out, but could see a late addition depending on how the staff progresses elsewhere on the board.
1. Brandon Bell (Oakcrest (NJ)) (Committed 06/13/2012) (Recruited by Ron Vanderlinden)
2. Zach Bradshaw (Damascus (MD)) (Committed 06/27/2012) (Recruited by Larry Johnson)
3. Alex Anzalone (Wyomissing (PA))
4. Al-Rasheed Benton (Malcolm X. Shabazz (NJ))
5. Michael Deeb (MLB) (American Heritage (FL))
6. Zayd Issah (Central Dauphin (PA))
Others: Freddie Stevenson (Bartow Senior (FL))
Notes: Now we're moving. Two commits in two weeks, and the pressure continues to rise for the last two spots. And we now know there are two spots available, thanks to Zach Bradshaw. Bell projects inside and Bradshaw outside, so that leaves one spot available at each spot. On the inside, the race appears to be between Benton and Deeb, while Issah, Stevenson, and Anzalone battle for the outside spot (though, as I've said before, if all four spots fill up and Alex Anzalone still wants to commit, he will). As stated above, Anzalone will be on campus today with current family (his brother goes to Penn State, remember) and potentially future family. #DoWorkBOB
Defensive Back (3-4)
1. Ross Douglas (CB) (Avon (OH)) (Committed 02/29/2012, Recruited by Stan Hixon)
2. Neiko Robinson (S) (Northview (FL)) (Committed 06/03/2012, Recruited by Ted Roof)
3. Nadir Barnwell (CB) (Piscataway (NJ))
4. Darwyn Kelly (S) (Woodson (DC))
5. Daryl Worley (S) (William Penn Charter (PA))
Notes: Kirk Garner committed to UVA in a nice string of recruiting for Mike London. Like the linebacker breakdown, this list is likely looking at one more CB and one more safety. Solomon Warfield is off the list after committing to Iowa. Barnwell is the top CB on the board, and the Lions are sitting pretty well with him. After that, it's up in the air, a slightly concerning issue that should be a top priority for the staff.
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