I typically start these posts the weekend prior, which allows me to tweak the Big Board accordingly, as well as get a jump start on the week and keep up with the goings on. When I started on Sunday, the lead stories were Danny O'Brien and the weekend visitors. Well, things have changed.
D.O.B.B.O.B. Danny O'Brien, who some thought would take until late April to make a decision, was Part One of the Great March Penn State Tailspin yesterday, when he announced, via slowly leaked news, that he will be attending Wisconsin next year. And the cast for the 2010 2011 2012 Penn State quarterback debate is set.
Weekend Visitors, A Week Ago. Heading into last weekend, many analysts and fans were looking forward to this upcoming weekend as a potentially big one for Penn State recruiting. PA OL Mike McGlinchey and WV WR Ryan Switzer were set to visit, and many thought one or both would end up Class of 2013 commitments by weekend's end.
McGlinchey committed to Notre Dame at the Irish's Junior Day last weekend. This is unfortunate given PSU's need for tackles this class, as well as their perceived mutual interest with McGlinchey. From reports, it appears McGlinchey was pressured into his ND commitment, having been told that there was one spot left, and he would have to move quickly to take it. Which, I get. It's pretty much what Penn State did to Ryan Burns and Christian Hackenberg. But it still stings.
And then Ryan Switzer compounded Penn State fans' frustrations yesterday, when his news, also slowly leaked by his high school coach, broke that he would be choosing UNC instead of Penn State, as many expected would be the case. Hopefully more will come out about Switzer's commitment; if asked two days ago, I would have said Penn State was in great shape. Switzer was at Penn State's Junior Day, and told me "there is nowhere else I'd rather be." Then he took a trip to UNC this past weekend, had a great trip, and is now a future Tar Heel. Oh well. You win some, you lose some. You can't get hung up on the ones you lose, even the ones you thought were certain. As seen below, there are plenty of pass-catching fish in the sea.
Mid-Week Visitors. On Monday, Penn State hosted Florida LB Ryne Rankin, who walked away with an offer, and seemed pretty jazzed about it. His visit to Penn State was part of a pretty intense trip, so it's tough to gauge how much mutual interest there is, but we'll hopefully have more from Rankin in the near future.
Despite the drama on Wednesday, two recruits were on campus. IN OL Dan Samuelson was a somewhat surprise visitor yesterday. Standing 6-5, the tackle prospect has offers from Illinois and Pitt, among others. Look for an update from Dan later today.
Additionally, Adam Breneman made the short trip with head coach Jim Cantafio and Class of 2014 QB Andrew Ford. As Michigan fans can attest to, having a top commit just a couple of hours from school, able to be around any time a top recruit is around, is an invaluable tool. This won't be Breneman's only trip though, as he'll be on campus again...
Weekend Visitors, Now. ...this weekend, along with a couple of his fellow Class of 2013 commits and a couple highly rated recruits. Breneman will be joined by Ross Douglas and Christian Hackenberg on campus. Joining them as planned will be PA RB David Williams, a top in-state recruit, and recent addition NJ DE Dajuan Drennon. From Timber Creek HS, Drennon is a teammate of Greg Webb, who was on campus last weekend and had a good visit.
Penn State Recruiting Class of 2013 Big Board
Estimated Class Size: 16-22
(Recruits listed in no particular order...yet)
1. Christian Hackenberg (Fork Union (VA)) (Committed: 02/29/2012, Recruited by Charles London)
Others: Damion Terry (Erie Cathedral Prep (PA))
Notes: Not much here, and I don't expect there to be much movement unless the staff starts pursuing some sort of quarterback/athlete prospect that can be plugged in elsewhere if needed. Malik Zaire committed to Notre Dame. Zaire told me a month or so ago that he was trying to play college ball with Robert Foster (the two are friends), but I don't think ND is a player for Foster, so that's good for PSU. Terry is set to visit Michigan State again soon.
Running Backs (1-2)
1. David Williams (West Philadelphia Catholic (PA))
2. Richie Anderson (Johnson (MD))
Others: Derrick Green (Hermitage (VA)), Greg Bryant (American Heritage School (FL)), Ty Isaac (Joliet (IL)), Ezekial Elliott (John Burroughs (MO)), Austin Brown (FB) (Easton Area (PA)), DeShawn Coleman (Hickory (PA))
Notes: As stated, Williams will be on campus this weekend. His recruitment likely isn't going to end during or shortly after this weekend, but he has a great relationship with Charles London, so Penn State is in good position here. Other backs with offers include Green, Bryant, Elliott, and Isaac, but I don't think any of them will end up at Penn State. Anderson, son of the former Penn Stater by the same name, is likely a player the staff can wait on, should the need arise for another running back.
Wide Receiver (1-3)
1. Robert Foster (Central Valley (PA))
2. Brian Lemelle (Bishop McDevitt (PA))
3. Tyler Boyd (Clairton (PA))
4. Kyle LaPorte (Piscataway (NJ))
5. Paul Harris (Frederick Douglass (MD))
Others: Shaquille James (West Philadelphia Catholic (PA)), Laquon Treadwell (Crete-monee (IL)), Delando Johnson (Calvert Hall College (MD)), Uriah LeMay (David W. Butler (NC)), William Fuller (Roman Catholic (PA)), Myles Nash (Timber Creek (NJ))
Notes: You know the story on Foster by now (best WR prospect in the country, quiet recruitment, etc.), but I don't think he's as big a need as some others. Sure landing him would be great, but NOT landing him probably won't change the BOB offensive attack, which is likely to be more focused on the TE and short/crossing route WRs. With Switzer out of the picture, Lemelle is probably the top slot receiver target on the board.
Tight End (0-1)
1. Adam Breneman (Cedar Cliff (PA)) (Committed 03/09/2012, Recruited by the ENTIRE STAFF)
Offensive Line (3-5)
1. Brendan Mahon (Randolph (NJ)) (Committed 03/17/2012, Recruited by John Strollo)
2. Dorian Johnson (Belle Vernon (PA))
3. Brad Hanson (Monsignor Donovan (NJ))
4. Jaryd Jones-Smith (West Philadelphia Catholic (PA))
5. Ethan Pocic (Lemont Township (IL))
Others: Tommy Hopkins (Westlake (NY)), Jordan Page (Pennington (NJ)), Dan Samuelson (Plymouth (IN)), Tevin Montgomery (Tabor Academy (MA))
Notes: Thanks to Notre Dame, this Big Board segment looks markedly different now. The Irish secured three offensive tackle commitments last weekend, including PA OT Mike McGlinchey, who many thought would be on commit watch next weekend, as he was scheduled to visit PSU. With interior lineman Mahon in the fold, the staff will look to solidify outside. Unfortunately, Johnson is the only OT target with a realistic shot to pick PSU. With an estimated three or four tackle spots in this class, the staff will be looking to get more offers out soon.
Defensive Tackle (1-2)
1. Greg Webb (Timber Creek (NJ))
2. Justin Moody (George Washington (PA))
3. Donovan Munger (Shaker Heights (OH))
4. Donta Wilkins (Potomac (VA))
5. Henry Poggi (Gilman (MD))
Others: Rod Crayton (Dadeville (AL)), , Eddie Vanderdoes (Placer (CA)), Poet Thomas (Detroit Country Day (MI))
Notes: Given Webb's history with Penn State, it was surprising to see him on campus, let alone having such a good time. He reportedly had a great visit, and is one of the main reasons Dajuan Drennon is on campus this weekend.
Defensive End (2-4)
1. Garrett Sickels (Red Bank Regional (NJ) (Committed 03/04/2012, Recruited by Jon Strollo)
2. Curtis Cothran (Council Rock North (PA)) (Committed 03/26/2012, Recruited by John Butler)
3. Dajaun Drennon (Timber Creek (NJ))
4. Wyatt Teller (Liberty (VA))
5. Tracy Sprinkle (Elyria (OH))
Others: TaShawn Bower (Immaculata (NJ)), Jonathan Allen (Stone Bridge (VA)), Alquadin Muhammed (Don Bosco Prep (NJ)), Nick Arcidiacono (Archbishop Wood (PA))
Notes: With two commits on board, the defensive end position probably only has one spot left open, if any at all. Drennon would be a great addition to this group, as would any of the others listed, but Penn State isn't at the top of many of these lists.
1. Alex Anzalone (Sam LB) (Wyomissing (PA))
2. Buddy Brown (Williamstown (NJ))
3. Michael Deeb (MLB) (American Heritage (FL))
4. Ryne Rankin (East River (FL))
5. Zayd Issah (Central Dauphin (PA))
Others: Marcus Newby (Quince Orchard (MD)), Tim Kimbrough (Warren Central (IN)), Ben Gedeon (Hudson (OH)), Jake Plonski (Erie Cathedral Prep (PA)) Micah Kiser (Gilman (MD))
Notes: Alex Anzalone was at Notre Dame last weekend, and will be at Ohio State this weekend. After that, he's got a West Coast swing planned, and then he's looking to pare down his list. However, he may be planning a return trip to Penn State within a couple of weeks, so anything could happen here.
Defensive Back (3-4)
1. Ross Douglas (CB) (Avon (OH)) (Committed 02/29/2012, Recruited by Stan Hixon)
2. Devin Butler (CB) (Gonzaga (DC))
3. Anthony Averett (S) (Woodbury (NJ))
4. Kirk Garner (S) (Good Counsel (MD))
5. Reon Dawson (S) (Trotwood-Madison (OH))
Others: Tim Harris (S) (Stone Bridge (VA)), Delando Johnson (S) (Calvert Hall College (MD)), Delton Williams (S) (Erie Cathedral Prep (PA)), Darian Hicks (CB) (Solon (OH))
Notes: Butler visited Penn State recently and came away very impressed. He has other trips planned, but is very high on the Nittany Lions, and will make his decision May 12. Penn State extended offers to a couple of other defensive backs, including Chris Hawkins from California and Vernon Hargreaves III from Florida, but there is little-to-no return interest. However, it is nice to see the staff reaching out to prospects in every corner of the country.