clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2009 Offer Board - Running Backs

Moving along with the 2009 offer board let's take a look at the running backs. I believe Penn State is going to look for two running backs in this class, one smaller speed guy to move around the backfield and play the slot similar to Derrick Williams and one guy to play the bruising fullback type. Let's take a look at the list of guys I've been able to determine Penn State is looking at.

2009 Running Back Recruiting Board

Name/State Measurables Junior Stats Offer? Visit? Links

Tavon Austin
Baltimore, MD

5'9.5"
175 lbs
4.47
2500 yds, 40 TD Y Y

Scout Profile
Rivals Profile
Google News

Brandon Wegher
Sioux City, IA

5'11"
187 lbs
4.43

2334 yds Y Y

Scout Profile
Rivals Profile
Google News

Theo Riddick
Somerville, NJ

5'10"
185 lbs
4.4

1192 yds, 13 TD Y Y

Scout Profile
Rivals Profile
Google News
Committed to Notre Dame

Jordan Hall
Jeannette, PA

5'10"
185 lbs
4.5

891 yds, 20 TD Y Y

Scout Profile
Rivals Profile
Google News
Committed to Ohio State

Shawne Alston
Hampton, VA

5'11"
220 lbs
4.5

1684 yds, 27 TD Y Y

Scout Profile
Rivals Profile
Google News

Curtis Dukes
Philadelphia, NY

6'2"
225 lbs
4.4

1342 yds, 15 TD N N

Scout Profile
Rivals Profile
Google News

De'Antwan Williams
Woodbridge, VA

5'7"
207 lbs
4.5

2247 yds, 27 TD Y Y

Scout Profile
Rivals Profile
Google News

Dominique Wallace
Fredricksburg, VA

6'1"
231 lbs
4.48

1540 yds, 23 TD Y N

Scout Profile
Rivals Profile
Google News
Committed to Virginia

David Wilson
Danville, VA

5'11"
192 lbs
4.4

1550 yds, 21 TD Y N

Scout Profile
Rivals Profile
Google News

Mike Marrow
New Albany, OH

6'1"
235 lbs
4.85
800 yds, 13 TD N Y

Scout Profile
Rivals Profile
Google News

Devon Smith
Waldorf, MD
5'7"
150 lbs
4.25
1209 yds, 16 TD N Y Scout Profile
Rivals Profile
Google News

I had a request for some thoughts on these kids last time, so I'll give it a go here leaving out Riddick, Hall, and Wallace since they have already committed to other schools.

Tavon Austin

The first thing that jumps out at you is his small 5'9" 175 lb frame, but after watching his film he doesn't play like a small guy. Dunbar isn't afraid to run him inside with the big boys, and he does extremely well showing patience and using his blocking. He'll bounce it outside when it's there, but he doesn't try to do it on every play like a lot of high school scat backs. He's got some sick moves that can make guys look silly. He also showed excellent hands in outjumping defensive backs on several deep throws. One thing he'll have to watch is the hot dogging. He likes to high step in the open field or pull up and show off a little bit as he crosses the goal line. Joe Paterno won't stand for that, but it's fun to watch.

His recruiting got off to a slow start, but after attending a few camps he's becoming a hot commodity lately. Most of the Big East schools are after him pretty hard but he's starting to see interest from some Big Ten and ACC schools as well. He's visited Penn State several times and speaks very highly of them. There are rumors circling that he'll be a Nittany Lion soon, but he just can't seem to pull the trigger. But our recent verbals from Maryland are all in his ear, and the next time the Larry Johnson Sr. bus tour drives through Maryland I have a feeling it will be stopping to pick up a passenger in Baltimore.

 Brandon Wegher

Wegher may be the most complete back of this group. He can bounce it outside and take it to the house or he can lower his shoulder and knock a linebacker on his ass. He uses his blockers well showing patience in the hole but not just dancing around hoping for things to open up. Every step is going forward. He also shows good hands catching several down field passes.

For a while Wegher was showing a lot of interest in Penn State even flying out to State College on his own dime for an unofficial visit. But things have kind of cooled off lately. I think he saw Penn State's depth chart and thought he would have a chance to come here and play right away, but since then his recruiting has blown up and boosted his confidence as almost every major program in the country has offered him. I think he loved Penn State at one time, but now he sees he can stay closer to home and still play right away at a place like Nebraska or Iowa.

Shawne Alston

When I see this kid run I swear I'm watching Tony Hunt. It takes him a few steps to get up to speed, but once he's there you can see linebackers cringing to get in his way. He bowls people over and isn't one bit shy of contact. But he also lacks breakaway speed just like Hunt did. When he makes a cut he loses all his momentum and it takes him a few steps to get it back again. I didn't see him catch any passes so you have to wonder about that. He would make a good running back in a single set with two tight ends, or maybe a good fullback.

He had a knee injury his junior year so maybe that's why the major programs are slow to offer him. Right now his only two offers to speak of are Maryland and Penn State, but he is seeing interest from some other schools. My gut tells me he's holding out for a Virginia Tech offer, and it will come down to Maryland or us as his Plan B if the Hokies don't come through.

Curtis Dukes

There is no film available on the recruiting sites so I don't know what to think about this kid. He has a large frame that makes you wonder if he wouldn't be better suited for linebacker. He's another North-South runner that just gets the tough yards and keeps going.

His only written offer is Syracuse and he claims he's high on them, but he also claims he's high on Penn State. My gut says if we offer him he'll probably commit unless he starts getting attention from somewhere else. This may be a Plan B kid if our top targets don't work out.

De'Antwan Williams

De'Antwan, which is French for "Of Antwan", is like a little sherman tank with his 5'7" 200 lb frame. Guys that try to hit him high just bounce off and land on the turf. He has a nice compact running style with very little wasted motion. I like how he reads his blocks well and then he makes one cut and commits to it.

Williams has some pretty impressive offers including Alabama, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Illinois, and Maryland in addition to Penn State. The LJ Sr. Bus has a regular route through Maryland, but it doesn't dip down into Virginia too often. My gut tells me this kid is going to stay in the south in either Maryland or Virginia Tech.

David Wilson

Wilson is a shifty back with good cutback ability and breakaway speed. But don't get too excited about this kid. He has an offer from all the ACC schools and he says coaching stability is one of his highest priorities. I don't think we'll get more than a passing look.

Mike Marrow

Your first impression when you look at Marrow on film is "Holy Cripes! This kid is ginormous!" He's huge and has to be running down hill to get yards. He'll plow through the line and brush off a linebacker, but then he'll get caught from behind by the defensive end. But he's an absolute load to bring down and sheds tackles well. Most schools are looking at him as a linebacker, but Penn State wants him for running back, and I believe more specificially as a fullback.

There were reports a while back that Penn State was going to offer and quotes from his dad, who coaches at Toledo, suggested he would jump on a Penn State offer right away. But as time goes by he's still waiting on the offer from Joe. In fact, he's seeing a lot of interest from some big programs, but nobody wants to offer this kid yet. My guess is it's probably due to his speed or lack thereof.

Devon Smith

Smith is electrifying to watch on film. He has amazing speed as proven by his recently timed 4.25 40-yard dash at a camp. Oh but if he wasn't so damn little. He reminds me a lot of Mike Archie back in the 90's. A little scat back that you can move around in the backfield and get out in the flat or line up in the slot like Derrick Williams. Last year he won the MVP for wide receivers at the PSU camp, so you know he must have good hands.

Smith goes to the same high school that Derrick Williams attended and says he talks to DWIll a lot. Darrell Givens is also in his ear about Penn State so I like our chances with this kid. He says Penn State is going to offer after they evaluate his grades. My gut says if we offer he'll be a Nittany Lion.

Conclusion

So there it is. These are the running backs we're looking at in this class. If I had my wish Penn State would get two of these kids. One guy would fill the fullback role and the other would be a speedy slot/scat back type guy. Tavon Austin and Devon Smith would be tied at the top of my list for the small guys and I think we have a good chance at both of them. If both wanted to come here we would probably take them and move Smith to wide receiver or maybe cornerback. For the bigger back Curtis Dukes would be my first choice followed by Mike Marrow.