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Nitt Picks Jumps Over The Back

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It's Christmas Eve for recruitniks today. Tomorrow is National Letter of Intent Day. Doesn't that sound like it should have some kind of sponsership? Why hasn't corporate America got on this yet? I propose next year we call it the Craftsman Lawnmowers National Letter of Intent Day. Make that happen.

Terrelle Pryor will be making his big announcement tomorrow. Or maybe not. He's definetly 80-90% sure he's maybe going to announce his decision...or wait a few days.

Decision day will be at noon Wednesday for Terrelle Pryor.

Pryor, star quarterback at Jeannette High School, said today he is "80 to 90 percent sure" he will announce his choice at a news conference Wednesday. He had been considering pushing back his decision a week or so, and possibly visiting the University of Oregon.

But Pryor said he will not visit Oregon and the Ducks are out of the picture.

"I have to call them today and tell them," Pryor said.

Pryor said he will decide among Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State, although Ohio State and Michigan have been the leaders all along.

As you can see Penn State is still in the running. This is good because the last quarterback prospect we had on the table was pulled off the table yesterday.

Penn State missed out on what could have been its back-up plan should Terrelle Pryor not choose the Nittany Lions.

Virginia Beach athlete Marcus Davis, who Penn State was recruiting as a quarterback, verbally committed to Virginia Tech over the Nittany Lions on Monday.

Davis, listed as a three-star prospect by, is the second Ocean Lakes player to commit to the Hokies this week, joining wide receiver Randall Dunn.

Dunn was supposed to take an official visit to Penn State on Dec. 14, but cancelled because of bad weather and never rescheduled.

We'll go over the recruiting class after Wednesday when everything in finalized, but let me just say I'm not pleased this year. Our biggest needs were a quarterback, two wide receivers, two offensive tackles, and two running backs. We got two good running backs and one good wide receiver, but we missed out on our top offensive line targets and totally whiffed on quarterback if we don't get Pryor.

The Marcus Davis article kind of hints on the problems with Penn State recruiting this year.

"There are several reasons Marcus picked them, No. 1 was that they did a great job recruiting him," Davis' high school coach Jim Prince told "They got on him way before everyone else and kept in touch. That was important to Marcus. (Virginia Tech offensive line) Coach (Curt) Newsome and the staff at Tech outworked a whole lot of schools.

This is a recurring theme with all of the recruits we missed out on. A lot of kids had us in their top two or three but just couldn't pull the trigger and pick Penn State. I hate to say it, but Joe Paterno is to blame for this. Penn State was slow in sending out scholarships this year allowing the competition to wow these kids and even lock up some of them before we had a chance to offer them. Then while the other coaches were out accumulating the frequent flyer miles visiting all of these kids Paterno was home in State College recovering from the flu. Terrelle Pryor was the only recruit to get an in home visit from Paterno this year, and that's probably the only reason we're still in it with him.

The other major factor causing all of these recruits to shy away from Penn State is Joe's contract status. As in he doesn't have one after 2008. Immediately after signing day the University has to make some kind of announcement. Either give Joe an extension or name a successor. We are going to have a full 25 scholarships to offer this year. We can't afford to take a full class of two and three star kids.


Make sure you go check out There is No Name On My Jersey who does a masterful job of google-stalking to bring you highlight video of some of Penn State's verbal commitments.

Stop Your Whining

You had to know that when Penn State gets a big win in basketball there are going to be those who try to explain it away.

The losses have eliminated Michigan State's margin for error, and they have sent Izzo searching for answers.

"I'm not one that loses good," he said Monday. "I'm not even one that wins good."

He spent much of Monday talking about what his team can do better. But there is an elephant in the room, and it keeps blowing a whistle.

Iowa shot 29 free throws and Michigan State shot four. Penn State shot 51 free throws and MSU shot 21. Free-throw disparities, on their own, never tell the whole story. But still: 29 to 4? Fifty-one to 21?

Some things to consider:

  1. Those 51 free throws represent one of the highest totals in modern Big Ten history.
  2. This Michigan State team is not as physical as past versions.
  3. Some players are so good, you have no choice but to foul them. By NCAA mandate, Penn State is not allowed to have any of those players.
  4. Come on ... who needs to foul Penn State 51 times?
With some better officiating, Michigan State would be at least 8-1 in the league, maybe even 9-0. But that's kind of tough to put on a banner, too.

Wacca wacca wacca! Penn State blows! Isn't that funny? You know what else is funny? 85-76. That's friggin' funny.

Of course. It must have been the officiating. It had to be rigged. How else could Penn State possibly beat Michigan State? Well, MSU beat writer Joe Rexrode took the time to review the entire game looking at each foul call and judging it. And the results are pretty conclusive that the officials were fair. (Lengthy but worth the read)

Now here's what might be the most telling statistic -- the types of fouls called.

Of MSU's 31...
11 were fouls at the rim, stopping Penn State from easy baskets, all good calls.
5 were on purpose at the end.
6 were bumps/holds on the floor, five good calls and one iffy.
4 were over-the-back calls, two good, one iffy, one bad.
3 were whistles on strips, two good calls and one bad call.
1 was a moving pick, and it was a good call.
1 was a foul on a jumper, and it was iffy.

Of Penn State's 21...
7 were fouls at the rim, and all good calls.
6 were bumps/holds on the floor, four good and two iffy.
2 were fouls on jump shots, one iffy and one bad.
2 were over-the-back calls, both iffy.
2 were moving screens, one good and one iffy.
1 was a block on a charge-block, iffy.
1 was an offensive hook, iffy.

    What does it all mean, aside from the fact that I've gone way overboard?

    To me, it should silence anyone who wants to make this loss all about the officiating. Or mostly about the officiating. Or somewhat about the officiating.

Conclusion, the game was called pretty tight, but the officials indicated it would be that way early. Penn State adjusted. Michigan State didn't.

Etc. - Anthony Scirrotto is going to cut a plea deal to avoid trial.