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Recruiting Roundup (7.3.13)

Update on The Opening, Lasch Bash, and more

Some new changes to Roundup again. Per a suggestion, I'm going to include an overall Big Board of my personal rankings of the players left being recruited. I'm also going to create a scholarship matrix similar to the one that Eric and Chad use for the basketball team, to help paint the picture of the future of the roster with the 65 man limit flying at us like a runaway train. Also, The Lone Ranger comes out today, and it's going to be awesome. It's being produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, directed by Gore Verbinski, and stars Johnny Depp (AKA the same team that made Pirates of the Caribbean, my favorite movie). You should all find your way to a movie theater to see it. But enough of that, here's your Office clip, and let's talk 'crootin.

The Opening

If you're not already aware, there are a few different people of interest participating in Nike's "The Opening 2013" this week in Oregon, for Penn State fans. Current 2014 commits, De'Andre Thompkins and Troy Vincent, Jr. are there representing Penn State. Current PSU targets Thomas Holley, Montae Nicholson, and Minkah Fitzpatrick (2015) are there as well. Vincent and Thompkins each performed well in the Sparq Combine on Monday, finishing at 71st and 72nd, respectively. Vincent performed well in each event, posting solid numbers throughout. Thompkins ran a very impressive 4.46 in his 40 yard dash, which helped propel his climb up the field of 168. Both are competing in the 7-on-7 tournament with team #VaporCarbon. Thomas Holley scored just below Thompkins and Vincent, while Nicholson and Fitzpatrick were able to finish a little higher than the pair. Holley and Nicholson are competing with team #LandSharks, and Fitzpatrick with team #FieldGenerals. Holley was named here ($?) as the top DT on Tuesday (Ahead of 5* UVA commit Andrew Brown). I have a ton of links for you to read all about The Opening, so I'm going to list them off below.

Full Results from Sparq Testing, Full 7-on-7 team rosters, SB Nation page for everything The Opening, ESPN page for The Opening, 247Sports page for The Opening.

And most importantly, follow Bud Elliot (@SBNRecruiting) here for up to the second updates on the action, as well as the official account for The Opening (@TheOpening_2013), right here.

Lasch Bash

One week ago today, a group of current 2014 Penn State commits, as well a number of uncommitted recruits ($), came together for a nice family style BBQ in State College. Marcus Allen, Mark Allen, Troy Apke, Noah Beh, Michael O'Connor, Chris Godwin, and Troy Reeder all attended as the 2014 commit group, with Troy Vincent Jr. joining that group later on. I was able to speak with Mark Allen and Michael O'Connor about their experiences a little bit. They both told me that it was a very family-style meeting, as they sat around talking, played games, and ate (Allen gave me the inside scoop on the food- burgers, mac 'n cheese, lots of potatoes, and bread, among other things). O'Connor told me that he was able to meet a good number of the commits in the class who he hadn't met yet, and that "...just being on campus again felt awesome." While it was known beforehand that Marcus Allen had been in Vincent's ear about Penn State, Allen told me that he was at it again during the BBQ, and clearly it paid off. He also told me that he personally, spent a lot of time getting to know, and talking to Alex Bookser (2014 OL). Whether it was Mark's smooth recruiting ways, the BBQ, or something else, Penn State has reportedly moved up Bookser's list a bit ($). Along with Bookser, 2015 stud recruits Ricky DeBerry (OLB), Daivon Ellison (CB), and Sterling Jenkins (OL) also were in Happy Valley for the BBQ. I'll write a little more about them later in this article. This looks like it could become a signature event for Penn State recruiting for years to come.

All of that being said, O'Brien and the staff have 2 more spots to fill for this class. So let's see what they have left on the board. And this week, instead of simply saying "Done" when I don't have notes to add for a position, I'm going to put a quote from Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.

Penn State Recruiting Class of 2014 Big Board

Estimated Class Size: 15

Current Commitments: 13

1. Michael O'Connor (IMG Academy (FL)) (Committed 6/8/13, Recruited by Charlie Fisher)

Notes: "The 5 D's of dodgeball: Dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge."

Running Back
1. Nick Scott (Fairfax (VA)) (Committed 2/23/13, Recruited by Larry Johnson)
2. Mark Allen (DeMatha Catholic (MD)) (Committed 10/16/12, Recruited by Larry Johnson)
3. Qadree Ollison (Canisius (NY)) (Lead Recruiter: Stan Hixon)

Notes: If you missed it, Ollison named his Top 5 last week, which consisted of Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse, and Wisconsin. While taking 3 running backs in one class may seem excessive, especially with the scholarship limits, the roster is definitely in need of new blood at running back. When the 2014 class gets on campus, Zwinak and Belton will both have 1 year of eligibility left, and Lynch will have 3. So having 3 new runnings backs to add to the stable for 2014 and beyond, could be in the staff's best interest.

Wide Receiver
1. De'Andre Thompkins (Swansboro (NC)) (Committed 4/20/13, Recruited by Stan Hixon)
2. Chris Godwin (Middletown (DE)) (Committed 4/23/13, Recruited by Ron Vanderlinden)
3. Troy Apke (Mt. Lebanon (PA)) (Committed 4/13/13, Recruited by Charles London)

Notes: "I know you. You know you. And I know you know that I know you."

Tight End
1. Mike Gesicki (Manahawkin (NJ)) (Lead Recruiter: Ron Vanderlinden)

Notes: 18 of the 19 predictions on the 247Sports Crystal Ball, have Gesicki choosing Ohio State (including myself). When Gesicki first picked up his Penn State offer, it sure looked like he was going to end up in State College. That changed with he picked up his OSU offer, though. He had named Urban Meyer's squad in his top 4, before even holding an offer from them, which tells you how highly he thinks of the Buckeyes. When he finally did pick up that offer, he had great things to say about it. I think Penn State is very much still alive in this race, but I don't see Meyer being bested in this battle. This shouldn't be too disappointing for Nittany Lions fans though, because we are ridiculously spoiled with tight ends.

Offensive Line
1. Noah Beh (Scranton Prep (PA)) (Committed 6/1/13, Recruited by Mac McWhorter)
2. Alex Bookser (Mt. Lebanon (PA)) (Lead Recruiter: Charles London)

Notes: As I mentioned above, Bookser attended the Lasch Bash, where the staff was able to make a good impression on him, despite the fact that his parents weren't able to attend as originally planned. He names Penn State, Ohio State, and Pitt in his upper echelon of his top 8, so he definitely remains near the top of the list. He appears to not really be sure about when he is going to make a decision, although he has mentioned that he thinks he wants to take his official visits. We continue to be in wait-and-see mode with Alex, as he has played his recruitment very close to the chest since the beginning.

Defensive Tackle
1. Antoine White (Millville Senior (NJ)) (Committed 7/1/13, Recruited by Ron Vanderlinden)
2. Ricky Walker (Bethel (VA)) (Lead Recruiter: Charles London)
3. Thomas Holley (Abraham Lincoln (NY)) (Lead Recruiter: John Strollo? Not sure if this one is right)
4. Derrick Nnadi (Virginia Beach (VA)) (Lead Recruiter: Larry Johnson)

Notes: In case you missed it, Antoine White committed on Monday. The staff seems to be going all out with the "first come, first serve" approach with its remaining scholarship openings, and White took advantage. Click the link for further analysis on him. I've moved Walker ahead of Holley on this list, because as time goes on, I think Holley slips further and further from Penn State's reach. While Walker has spoken about Penn State nearly every time he's asked about his recruitment, Holley has been speaking more about Florida, FSU, OSU, and Notre Dame recently, although he does stil list Penn State as one of his favorites (presumably due to his strong relationship with Larry Johnson). Holley talks about his recruitment here between drills at The Opening. Nnadi was supposed to spend the latter half of last week in State College, but apparently never made the trip. I think he's going to end up at Virginia Tech, personally.

1. Troy Reeder (OLB) (Salesianum (DE)) (Committed 2/26/13, Recruited by Ron Vanderlinden)
2. Jared Wangler (OLB) (De La Salle Collegiate (MI)) (Committed 5/10/13, Recruited by Ron Vanderlinden)

Notes: "Nobody makes me bleed my own blood. Nobody!"

Defensive Backs
1. Daquan Worley (CB) (Coatesville Area Shs (PA)) (Committed 5/3/13, Recruited by Ron Vanderlinden)
2. Marcus Allen (S) (Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. (MD)) (Committed 5/10/13, Recruited by Larry Johnson)
3. Troy Vincent Jr. (CB) (Gilman (MD)) (Committed 6/26/13, Recruited by Larry Johnson)
4. Dravon Henry (CB/S) (Alquippa (PA)) (Lead Recruiter: Charlie Fisher)
5. Montae Nicholson (CB) (Gateway (PA)) (Lead Recruiter: Charles London)
6. Malik Hooker (CB) (New Castle (PA)) (Lead Recruiter: Charlie Fisher)
Dropped Out: Anthony Davis (S) (Gateway (PA)) (Committed to Temple)

Notes: Vincent finally made the call that he had been expected to make for some time now, and joined the 2014 class of future Nittany Lions. After him, it's very unclear as to what is going to happen. Any of the three guys could end up in State College, or none of them could. Neither would be surprising at this point. Nothing has changed recently with Henry or Nicholson. Both still name Penn State as one of their favorites, but both appear to still need some time in making their decisions. Hooker named Penn State in his top 5 ($) a little over a week ago, along with OSU, WVU, Michigan, and Pitt. He still reportedly wants to take his official visits before making a decision.

Overall Big Board of 2014 Recruits

This board will be a ranking of the remaining recruits based on my opinion of who the staff desires most. It will not take into account the likelihood of their commitment.

1. Dravon Henry

2. Thomas Holley

3. Montae Nicholson

4. Alex Bookser

5. Derrick Nnadi

6. Ricky Walker

7. Mike Gesicki

8. Malik Hooker

9. Qadree Ollison

Class of 2015 (And Beyond) Updates

Names wil be followed by Year, Position, High School, and Star Rating According to 247Sports.

Austin Clark (2015) (OL) (Rockbridge County (VA)) (4*)- Offered after camp on 6/22- Doesn't have a favorite yet, but really likes Penn State- Planning on visiting for a game or two

Tristen Hoge (2015) (OL) (Highland (ID)) (4*)- Offered after camp on 6/22- Also offered at ND after camp on 6/26- One quote about Penn State: "It is an amazing school with tremendous academics and spectacular athletics"

John Reid (2015) (CB) (St. Joe's Prep (PA)) (4*)- High on Penn State- Holds more than 10 offers- Trying to come back for a visit

Grant Newsome (2015) (OL) (Lawrenceville School (NJ)) (4*)- Picked up offer on 6/21- His father originally committed to Notre Dame, then de-committed, which is awesome

Sterling Jenkins (2015) (OL) (Baldwin (PA)) (4*)- Reportedly had a great time at the Lasch Bash- Wants to visit Michigan and WVU

Other 2015 and beyond recruiting notes can be found here.

Recruiting Mailbag

Still don't know how I feel about the Recruiting Mailbag. If you want me to keep using it, keep commenting with questions and I'll answer them. If not, then I'll just leave this part out. As for this week's question...

Question for the next edition- With this recruiting class filling up quickly and being able to reasonably predict some of the players leaving next year due to graduation, what do you think the breakdown (by position) of next year's class might be? - Drea1020

In response to this question, I decided that it might be beneficial to create a new scholarship matrix, like the one we use for basketball, as I mentioned in the intro. That's a work in progress (It's hard to make, and I'm still new at this), so once I am able to make it the way I like it, I will post it on the site and continually update it. But for now, I don't really know what next year's class will look like outside of a few things. I know I sure didn't think we would have 3 receivers in this class before it happened. This staff is willing to go outside of the box, so it's tough to predict. That being said, based on who they have been actively recruiting for next year already, and the lack of them in this class, I would assume at least 3 offensive linemen next year. If I had to guess, I would also say at least one LB, and one or two DE's. And that's all I really feel comfortable predicting at this point.

Finally, I leave you with this tweet from good ol' Adam Breneman

Happy Wednesday, and let's hope Adam's a little better at football than mini golf.

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