Stars debate? Stars debate. Sure it gets old sometimes when the same arguments are posited, which is why it's refreshing to see a trusted stats man come along and confirm what some have argued for in the past. Bill C. of just-about-everywhere fame noted in yesterday's Fun Stat Nerd edition that (GASP!) higher ranked recruiting classes lead to on-field success at a pretty good clip.
Taking the prior four years, and weighting the years for the upperclassmen (those most likely to be on the field), Bill found that 40 of the 60 teams in his Top 10 recruiting rankings also finished in the Top 20 of his F/+ rankings for that year. It's interesting to note that those at the bottom (e.g., the teams with highly rated recruiting classes yet poor success rates) included Bobby Bowden's On-My-Way-Out Seminoles, Rich Rodriguez' You-Have-To-Recruit-Linemen? Wolverines, and Randy Shannon's Hookeryachtgate Hurricanes.
For the rest, the evidence seems to show that if you recruit well over time, you will see success on the field. I'm not sure what his weighted calculation looks like, but in case you were interested, Penn State's four immediately previous classes heading into the 2011 season ranked as follows, per Rivals (which I'm not a fan of, but were used in Bill's rankings): 35 (2011), 12 (2010), 24 (2009), and 43 (2008). 2012's class is shaping up very nicely, though these guys won't see the field at Penn State for quite some time.
Speaking of the Class of 2012, Penn State picked up another commitment this week, though this one was under the radar. PA LB Bryton Barr has decided to walk on to Penn State as a member of the Class of 2012, eschewing offers from Cincinnati, Navy, and Temple, among others. To recap, a three-star linebacker has decided that it is a better career move for him, athletically, to walk on at Penn State than accept a full scholarship to a BCS conference school. Oh, Big East...
On with the show!
Penn State Class of 2012 commitments listed above each group in bold with commitment dates.
Quarterback (2012 Quota: 1-2)
Skyler Mornhinweg (PA, 7/19/2011)
1. Devin Fuller (NJ)
Analysis: Devin Fuller will be the only quarterback left in this class. If he chooses Penn State, he's been promised a shot at QB, but his future on the field is likely at another position. Some feel its unfair to blow smoke to these kids, but I think he'll legitimately get that shot if he comes to Penn State.
Running Back (2012 Quota: 1-2)
1. Will Mahone (OH)
2. Akeel Lynch (NY)
3. Kenno Loyal (GA)
Analysis: Akeel Lynch is currently committed to Boston College, but has said he will likely visit Penn State in the near future. Will Mahone, among many other top prospects, has said he will be visiting for the Alabama game, which is becoming one hell of a game, both on the field and off. There has been a lot of Kenno Loyal talk lately, but I'm not sure he'll be able to be lured out of the south.
Wide Receiver (2012 Quota: 2-3)
Eugene Lewis (PA, 8/10/2011)
1. Canaan Severin (MA)
2. Jordan Payton (CA)
Analysis: Severin and Payton are still there, but figuring out who, if either, will take the last WR spot is difficult. This position could be a casualty of the "no more spots" problem, but I expect one more wideout in this class.
Tight End (2012 Quota: 2-3)
Brent Wilkerson (MD, 3/26/2011)
Jesse James (PA, 3/28,2011)
J.P. Holtz (PA, 7/22/2011)
1. Kent Taylor (FL)
Analysis: Taylor recently announced a Top Four that included PSU and Florida (and Alabama and Georgia), the top two schools vying for the talented recruit.
Offensive Line (2012 Quota: 4-5)
Anthony Stanko (OH, 3/19/2011)
J.J. Denman (PA, 5/18/2011)
Joey O’Connor (CO, 6/28/2011)
1. Adam Bisnowaty (PA)
Analysis: With three linemen (Brian Gaia, listed most places as an OL, was recruited by PSU to play DT) in the bag, the staff could probably fit one more into the Class of 2012, but it will probably end with those committed. Greg Pyke committed to Georgia, so his name has been taken off the board.
Defensive Tackle (2012 Quota: 4-5)
Brian Gaia (MD, 5/9/2011)
Derek Dowrey (VA, 6/25/2011)
Austin Johnson (NJ, 6/25/2011)
Tommy Schutt (IL, 8/10/2011)
1a. Jarron Jones (NY)
1b. Jamil Pollard (NJ)
2. Faith Ekakitie (IL)
Analysis: Schutt's addition moves this position to "almost closed" status. Unless Pollard can get his grades up, this is likely down to Jones and Ekakitie, the latter of which was recently discussing official visits ($).
Defensive End (2012 Quota: 0-1)
1. Noah Spence (PA)
2. Noah Spence (PA)
3. Noah Spence (PA)
Analysis: Noah Spence-or-bust. He's set to decide in January at the Under Armour All-American Game. Noah was recently interviewed by PASWAG.com and had nice things to say about PSU (in addition to his other schools).
Linebacker (2012 Quota: 2-3)
Cam Williams (MA, 3/25/2011)
Nyeem Wartman (PA, 7/9/2011)
Analysis: This position is done for the year. Solid group, but even more special when you consider the fact that Cam Williams has become one of the better recruiters for the staff. Williams has been pretty active on Twitter recently, getting many PSU fans' hopes up with his promising-yet-cryptic news.
Defensive Back (2012 Quota: 4-6)
Jake Kiley (NH, 7/26/2011)
Armani Reeves (MA, 8/12/2011)
1. Demetrious Cox (PA) (S)
2. Malik Golden (CT) (CB)
3. Mike Tyson (VA) (S)
Analysis: Cox has recently had good things to say about Michigan State (and some not great things to say about Notre Dame), but he is now the top target in this position group. Malik Golden will be on campus Friday after a travel mix-up a couple of weeks ago. If you don't want to read that article, let me recap: Golden will be on campus Friday, wants to talk to some players, and then will decide by Wednesday at the latest. /heats up siren
Commits to Date: 16
Estimated Class Size: 21-25
Projected Positions Left: RB (2), WR, DB (2-3), OL, DT, DE, TE