For Penn State to stay successful while the NCAA sanctions continue to whittle away at Bill O'Brien's ability to recruit, they're going to need a whole lot more players like Tanner Hartman.
No, he's not the biggest name in this class--not even the biggest name offensive lineman. But the Virginia native committed to Penn State--decommitting from Maryland in the process--because he's excited to have the opportunity to be a Pen Stater. Congratulations, Tanner: you're going to your dream school.
Was he concerned about the sanctions?
"They didn't factor into my decision," Hartman said. "I'm going to play for a great program and university, and be coached by a great staff."
Rated a three-star prospect by both Scout and 247 (Rivals gives him two), Hartman is a versatile prospect who can play virtually anywhere along the offensive or defensive lines, though expect him to first slot in along the OL. 247 rated Hartman as a defensive end, Scout as a guard, and Rivals as an offensive tackle. He's got the type of frame that Craig Fitzgerald should be excited to work with--standing 6'4, and weighing in at 255 pounds--while maintaining solid athleticism, and a sub-5.0 40-time.
A first-team all state offensive lineman, Hartman comes from a good football pedigree: his father, Tom, was a three-time letter winner at Virginia Tech. So, you know, his DNA is pretty ELITE. (Well, half of it, at least.) And I'm sure it didn't hurt Larry Johnson's chances to reel him in that Hartman's high school coach, Michael Rocco, was a Nit himself, back in his playing days.
It might take a while before Hartman sees the field--the offensive line is pretty deep--but Mac McWhorter's already proven that he might have been Bill O'Brien's most impressive coup in assembling his coaching staff. Let's see what he can do with Tanner.