Welcome to the Fold, You Guys. Obvious lead news is obvious. FL DB Neiko Robinson and PA WR Will Fuller are commits 9 and 10 in the Class of '13, after pulling the trigger this past week.
Robinson's case is seemingly strange, in that his offer was extended while the staff visited in Florida. That isn't the strange part; what's weird is that he wasn't asked (or "required") to camp to make that offer committable, like some other prospects (see Brown, Buddy). Given Robinson's offer sheet, he would appear to be the type of player that the staff could have waited on, but like was stated in his siren post, he is A) from Florida, and B) plays a position of great need. He impressed the coaches enough to get an offer, so there's that.
As for Fuller, he could very well end up being the only wide receiver taken, barring something happening on the Robert Foster front (which I don't think will happen). Fuller is the type of receiver that will be able to fit perfectly into the new system, with the ability to hit the long ball, but also the hands and agility to run the Wes Welker crossing routes. Additionally, having only been a commit for a short time, Fuller is already out recruiting, spending time training with PA RB David Williams. If Fuller can help reel in Williams, it would go a long way to establishing himself as an early fan favorite.
ESPN 300. My feelings on ESPN as a recruiting service are well known, but in the spirit of bringing you as much information as possible, here are how some of the current commitments fared on the recent ESPN 300 release.
Christian Hackenberg - No. 10 overall, No. 1 quarterback
Adam Breneman - No. 42 overall, No. 2 tight end overall, No. 1 "Y" tight end
Greg Webb - No. 122 overall, No. 10 defensive end
Brendan Mahon - No. 195 overall, No. 10 offensive guard
Other ESPN Honors, But Actually Prestigious Honors. Throughout the year, ESPN and Nike host a number of different combines, camps, and other workouts for high school players across the country. A number of Penn State commits have participated in regional events, and the culmination of all of these events is the invite-only, four-day program known as The Opening, held on Nike's sprawling Oregon campus in early July. To date, Adam Breneman and Ross Douglas have earned invites. A number of targets have also earned invites, so the Penn State contingent in Oregon could grow over the next couple of weeks.
Looking Forward. Yes, I know, it's
July IT'S ONLY JUNE?!? 2012, and Signing Day for the Class of 2014 is 20 months away. But Larry Johnson, Sr. is putting in some serious work in the Virginia area with two of the top players in the country for the Class of '14, so you might as well learn their names now.
Da'Shawn Hand, a defensive end from Woodbridge, already has 31 (31!) offers and will be one of the biggest targets (literally, figuratively) in next year's class. Andrew Brown, a defensive tackle from Indian River, has 23 offers and was recently visited by Johnson (though his point recruiter appears to be Charles London).
Do work, Larry (and Charles).
And Now, For Your Viewing Pleasure. The Big Board...
Penn State Recruiting Class of 2013 Big Board
Estimated Class Size: 18-22
Current Commitments: 10
1. Christian Hackenberg (Fork Union (VA)) (Committed: 02/29/2012, Recruited by Charles London)
Notes: It remains a wait-and-see approach at the position, with the makeup of the current roster still up in the air. As of now, by the time Hackenberg starts fall practice in August 2013, he'll be one of four scholarship quarterbacks on campus. Should that number change, the staff may want to look at additional Class of 2013 passers.
As for the Class of 2014, Penn State is already targeting some top notch passers. Players like Andrew Ford (Cedar Cliff (PA)), DJ Gillins (Eagle's View (FL)), Chance Stewart (Sturgis (MI)), and DeShone Kizer (Central Catholic (OH)) have already been in contact with the staff, though none have offers as of yet.
Running Backs (1-2)
1. David Williams (Imhotep Charter (PA)
2. Corey Clement (Glassboro (NJ))
3. Richie Anderson (Johnson (MD))
4. Zaire Williams (Timber Creek (NJ))
5. Roman Clay (Lancaster Catholic (PA))
Others: Austin Brown (FB) (Easton Area (PA))
Notes: Is the David Williams Sweepstakes nearing an end? I don't have any insider information to suggest otherwise, but he has made a number of visits (including three to Penn State so far this year) to a number of schools. Either way, all of the realistic eggs seem to remain in David Williams' basket.
Wide Receiver (1-2)
1. Will Fuller (Roman Catholic (PA)) (Committed 06/05/2012) (Recruited by Ron Vanderlinden)
2. Robert Foster (Central Valley (PA))
3. Brian Lemelle (Bishop McDevitt (PA))
4. Tyler Boyd (Clairton (PA))
5. Daryl Worley (William Penn Charter (PA))
Others: Paul Harris (Frederick Douglass (MD)), Zach Grant (Paul VI (NJ))
Notes: Bill O'Brien got his first wide receiver with Fuller, and may stop there. The other players listed are all solid players, but for a variety of reasons may not end up at PSU. This is now a position where the staff can afford to sit and wait, and concentrate on those few receivers in which they may still have serious interest; if they don't pan out, Fuller alone would be a good class.
Tight End (0-1)
1. Adam Breneman (Cedar Cliff (PA)) (Committed 03/09/2012, Recruited by the ENTIRE STAFF)
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))
4. Derwin Gray (Friendship Academy (DC))
5. Jaryd Jones-Smith (West Philadelphia Catholic (PA))
Others: Jordan Page (Pennington (NJ)), Dan Samuelson (Plymouth (IN))
Notes: Like wide receiver, this is a position group where the staff can play it slowly, and wait on some other prospects to come around, should they choose to take another lineman. Johnson is trying to schedule a return visit, which bodes well for the Nittany Lions, but my gut still says Pitt for the talented lineman.
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. Maurice Hurst, Jr. (Xaverian Brothers (MA))
Others: Tevin Montgomery (Tabor Academy (MA)), Poet Thomas (Detroit Country Day (MI))
Notes: Like the OL, the staff can afford to wait here, if they in fact take another DT. Should someone like Eddie Vanderdoes 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)
3. Dajaun Drennon (Timber Creek (NJ))
4. Wyatt Teller (Liberty (VA))
5. Nick Arcidiacono (Archbishop Wood (PA))
Notes: This position is probably closed out, but could see a late addition depending on how the staff progresses elsewhere on the board.
1. Alex Anzalone (Wyomissing (PA))
2. Buddy Brown (Williamstown (NJ))
3. Al-Rasheed Benton (Malcolm X. Shabazz (NJ))
4. Michael Deeb (MLB) (American Heritage (FL))
5. Zayd Issah (Central Dauphin (PA))
Others: Marcus Newby (Quince Orchard (MD)), Jake Plonski (Erie Cathedral Prep (PA)), Brandon Bell (Oakcrest (NJ))
Notes: Now we get into the heart of the remaining position needs. Linebacker U currently has zero linebacker commits, and expect the Lions to take at least three backers. As of right now, it's anyone's guess who those players will be, but Penn State feels good about a few of the guys on this list. Anzalone remains a stretch, in my opinion.
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. Delton Williams (S) (Erie Cathedral Prep (PA))
5. Darian Hicks (CB) (Solon (OH))
Others: Kirk Garner (S) (Good Counsel (MD)), Delando Johnson (S) (Calvert Hall College (MD)), Kennedy Frazier (S) (Calvert Hall (MD)), Milan Collins (Bishop McNamara (MD))
Notes: The addition of Robinson helps add depth, especially at the safety spot. Beyond Douglas and Robinson, the staff remains after some top regional talent. Again, though, there isn't much new to report here. Reon Dawson is off the board, having committed to a Zook-less, and thus inferior, Illinois squad.
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