The newest batch of Nittany Lions became official as they each signed on the dotted line earlier this month. Now we wait to see who rises to the top and becomes the next group of Penn State legends. This is the point where we can throw the recruiting stars out the window- anyone from the new class can go on to reach All-American status, or be completely forgotten about in another couple years.
While much is unknown, we all have gut feelings about the new guys in blue and white. Today, we discuss which defensive recruit we're most excited to have at Penn State.
Nick: Troy Reeder
Like the offensive recruits, there are many of defensive recruits I am excited for. The defensive backs all have big potential, and I'm a big fan of Antoine White as a future pass rushing defensive tackle. However, the defensive recruit I am most excited for is Troy Reeder. Reeder comes to Penn State after being one of the most dominant high school players in the state of Delaware. Granted, Delaware is not necessarily known for being a recruiting hotspot, but the level of dominance that he displayed is impressive no matter what the setting. He jumps out to you on tape. He is fast enough to cover all parts of the field and keep up with tight ends in coverage. He knows how to find the hole in the line and burst through to make tackles in the backfield. He knows how to hit hard. Simply put, he is a very smart and instinctive linebacker who knows how to use his physical tools to his full advantage. As I mentioned in in my Signing Day recap, he tends to hit a little high, which could lead to some broken tackles early on in his career. However, I don't think it will take him very long to adjust to tackling college level athletes, and before long he will be fighting for a starting job. I think that by the end of this season, Reeder will be playing at least 35% of the snaps on defense. As for his future, he should eventually become Penn State's starting middle linebacker (which could happen as early as 2015). His speed and coverage ability should allow him to stay on the field for every snap, and don't be surprised to see him put up modest sack numbers as well. Reeder looks every bit like the next great linebacker to come through Linebacker U.
Cari: Jason Cabinda
I think I've well documented my love for the linebacker on BSD...and Jason falls well into that category, despite being described as an "athlete" by some recruiting services. Beyond that, his clear love for the school, his excitement about PSU and the recruiting class and the fact that he was able to bring Koa Farmer and Saeed Blacknall into the class so late in the game (yeah, I guess we can attribute that to Franklin, but Cabinda was on the ground and publicly vocal about being in their ears as well) and the fact that he was the first one to get his LOI in on signing day made me like him that much more. Plus, the fact that we're pretty thin at LB means he just might see the field (at least on special teams) pretty quickly.
Also, have you seen that grin? He just looks so incredibly happy, humble and grateful to be around. Seems like a genuine guy. How can you not like him?
Devon: Koa Farmer
There's no doubt that linebacker is a position of great need for Penn State--and either Reeder or Cabinda will probably start the year as the fourth linebacker behind Mike Hull, Brandon Bell and Nyeem Wartman. But with the graduations of Penn State's two scholarship safeties, the top of the depth chart is a combination of walk-ons, unproven freshmen and sophomores who haven't seen the field. Unlike plenty of Penn State's other defensive back recruits, Farmer isn't rehabbing an injury, or better suited to play corner, and he already has the body to come in and lay the boom on receivers coming over the middle. Given that his frame looks better suited to play linebacker two or three years down the line, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him slot down there in a nickel look, much like how John Butler used Stephen Obeng-Agyapong a year ago. Farmer has as good a chance as any other player in this class to be starting by the end of the season, and if his highlight reel is any indication, he might be ready far earlier than that. And, of course, with his size and athleticism, he's a good bet to be a special teams ace even if he can't crack the two-deep from day one.
Bill: Marcus Allen
You can never have enough help in your secondary, and I think that Marcus Allen is going to be the best member of our secondary of the current recruiting class. While he isn't the best safety against the run, Allen has the potential to be a monster cover safety, and has the size to match up with almost any big receiver that Penn State could face. However, everyone in the secondary is raw, and that includes Allen. If Allen lives up to his potential -- and of course, that's the big question with every recruit -- he has the potential to be really, really good. Regardless, he will have a year to learn behind Adrian Amos, and I wholly expect him to be an impact player down the road.
Jared: Koa Farmer
There are plenty of talented new Nittany Lions on the defensive side of the ball, but Farmer is the one I'm most anxious to see what he can do on Saturdays. Farmer comes in as a safety, but is likely to end up at outside linebacker. It's no secret that LBU could use a shot in the arm, and Farmer seems destined to be one of the new faces to carry on the tradition. He has tremendous instincts, fantastic speed and can knock a ball carriers socks off. He also has the personality that will quickly transform him into a fan favorite once he gets in front of the Penn State community. Better yet, the California native could open new doors on the west coast as the talent-rich region gets to see one of their own in the blue and white.
Ben: No one
No, I don't have a defensive "most excited about" selection either. See my rant in the offense section. I'll tell you that I do get excited about the NFL draft. Why? Because of the stupidity. ESPN's Todd McShay may be one of the dumbest homo sapiens on Earth; dude is a certified mouth breather. I get an immense kick out cats like McShay and Kiper, speaking out of their asses like they get paid by the word. I love the whole vocabulary they created. I love when they talk out of their asses, bragging up a guy like Jimmy Kennedy, spouting off things that completely defy what I just spent the past 3 years seeing in person. Hilarious. Similarly, I love watching General Managers pass on guys like Sean Lee and NaVorro Bowman, in order to select some height-weight workout warrior who didn't make 5 plays in 4 years at NoWhere U. Also - I love watching the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns draft. Trade four future draft picks to move up 15 spots and select QB, Notre Dame, Brady Quinn? I nearly piss my pants from laughter. EJ Manual, no wait - JP Losman is your man? He'll be the guy to lead you to the Super Bowl? I mean, it doesn't get much better than that, does it?
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