Sorry for the absence yesterday. I was riding airplanes and sitting in airports and I'm not going to pay $15.95 for one hour of internet usage thank you very much. Anyway, an emailer pointed out it's been a long time since I gave a recruiting update, so let's go through and see how we're doing.
Projected Prospects = 1
Penn State has only had two targets on their radar all year: E.J. Manuel and Terrelle Pryor. Manuel committed to Florida State last month leaving Pryor as the only quarterback prospect left with an offer from Penn State. Pryor is rumored to be leaning toward Ohio State, but he says he isn't going to commit until close to signing day. It appears Penn State is still in pretty good shape with him and they plan on riding the Pryor train to the end of the line. If Penn State misses out it's pretty likely they will not sign a quarterback this year. Not a huge problem since Clark and Devlin have plenty of eligibility, but going two years in a row without signing a quarterback sets you up for depth issues down the road. Signing a quarterback in 2009 will be essential.
Projected Commitments = 2 or 3
The potential train wreck at quarterback in 2009 is here today at running back. After 2007 Penn State will only have Brent Carter and Evan Royster on the scholarship roster. Things eased up a little bit when the coaches told incoming freshman Stefphon Green he will be moving from cornerback to running back to start his Penn State career. Still, we need running backs bad in this class.
The ship has already sailed on Torrey Mack and Brandon Barnes. The captain is warming up the engine on Sam McGuffie and Ryan Williams. It's anybody's guess where we stand with Darrell Scott, but Penn State has not been officially eliminated. Besides Scott, Penn State is in good shape with a few other running backs. Michael Shaw is expected to make an unofficial visit this weekend. He has called Penn State his "dream school". Dontavius Jackson, Michael Cox, Brandon Beachum, and Cyrus Gray have all narrowed down their lists and Penn State is still in the running for these guys. Penn State should be able to land at least two of these guys.
Projected Commitments = 1 or 2
Penn State sent out nine scholarship offers to wide receivers and so far only Dejuan Miller has committed elsewhere. Some guys look like longshots at this point like Vaughn Carraway, Brice Butler, DJ Woods, and Cordale Scott. Kenny Tate is a wild card. He's handling all of his recruiting through his high school coach so nobody can get direct quotes from him. But Penn State is still in good shape with Deion Walker, Rotell Jenkins, and A.J. Alexander. Alexander just decommitted from Florida State last week which leads many to believe he's going to end up being a Nittany Lion. We should be able to get one or two of these guys and fill our quota.
Projected Commitments = 1
Penn State only offered two tight ends this year. Jake Stoneburner and Mark Wedderburn. Stoneburner committed to Ohio State early so he's off the table. Wedderburn is the younger brother of Floyd Wedderburn, a standout offensive tackle that played for Penn State in the 90's. He's been very vocal about the fact that Penn State is his leader, but last week he announced he's going to look around a little bit and take a few visits before he decides. Predictably, the message board recruitniks jumped off a cliff. I think he's a kid just enjoying the experience and when it's said and done he'll be a Nittany Lion. Look for him to commit the weekend of the Notre Dame game after his official visit.
Projected Commitments = 1 C/G and 2 Tackles
We already landed a great C/G recruit in Matt Stankiewitch who Rivals ranks as the #2 center in the country. Now we need to turn our focus on tackles. Graham Pocic, Lucas Nix, J.B. Shuggarts, and Michael Via are all off the table having committed elsewhere. Kenneth Page isn't showing us much love and all signs point toward him wanting to stay in the south. But Penn State is still in the running with Vinston Painter, James Bennett, Dalton Freeman, and Deon'tae Pannell. Tyler Sands is a local prospect that doesn't have an offer but has mentioned Penn State as a favorite a few times so he may be one we look to fall back on if need be.
Projected Commitments = 1 Defensive Tackle
This isn't a huge need for us this year since we're really loaded with young depth right now. I think ideally they are looking for a tweener that can play either tackle or end. We already whiffed on Dequan Bowers, Hafis Williams, and Mike Martin. Garrett Goebel named Michigan and Ohio State as his final two, so the chances of getting him are slim. But Penn State is still in good shape with Reggie Ellis, Jewhan Edwards, and Jack Crawford. I think Ellis is the top target, but if we don't land anyone it's not a huge problem given how small this class is.
Projected Commitments = 3
Penn State already has their quota with the three Mikes: Mauti, Zordich, and Yancich. They are still pursuing Brandon Beachum who can also projects as a potential running back. Mike Zordich is a high school teammate of Beachum's which gives the Lions an added advantage in recruiting him.
Projected Commitments = 1 Safety and 1 Corner
Jarred Holley is the only pure corner on the radar. His parents are shielding him from the recruiting process so it's hard to get a read on what he's thinking. Being from Allentown you have to think PSU will make his list when he narrows down his options.
At safety, Penn State is going after D'Anton Lynn, Will Hill, and Okechuckwu Okoroha. We seem to be in pretty good shape with these guys. Hill is the top target. He narrowed his list down to eight or nine and Penn State is still on it.
We're also recruiting a few athletes that could play either corner or safety. Michael Thomas and Marcus Davis both speak very highly of the Lions in interviews, so things are looking good there. We should be able to land two of these kids to round out the defense.
We're doing ok. It's not going to be a top five class this year, but then when you only have 11 or 12 scholarships to play with you have to expect that. Penn State was criticized by many for being slow out of the gate this year in getting offers out. But with such a small class you can't go handing out offers like candy. They had to be selective in who they picked. I think the coaches have done a great job of selecting some elite talent and we seem to be in the running with a lot of good recruits. It won't be a recruiting class that creates a lot of headlines, but they will address the needs of the team and fill the holes we have.