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Committany Nation (10.14.14): Quarterbacks and Cornerbacks and More

Some targeted signal callers share their thoughts on Penn State, we take a look at what's next for Penn State's cornerback efforts, and more.

PSU Commit and future All-American Game participant, DT Adam McLean
PSU Commit and future All-American Game participant, DT Adam McLean

Penn State has hit a bit of a rough patch over the last few weeks, not only on the field, but in recruiting as well. First, there was long time target Jordan Whitehead choosing to commit to the Pittsburgh Panthers over Penn State and others. Then, Brandon Wimbush flipped his commitment from Penn State to the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Finally, it was announced that Penn State was pulling the scholarship offer to Myles Hartsfield due to concerns over his possible involvement in the Sayreville War Memorial High School hazing scandal. Needless to say, Penn State recruiting has seen better days.

That being said, there are still a lot of positive things happening for Penn State recruiting amidst the aforementioned events and the disappointing stretch on the field. So let's take a look at what Penn State fans need to know heading into the bye week.

What did the Football Coach say to the Broken Vending Machine?

Last week, we briefly discussed some of the options Penn State was looking at for the quarterback spot in both the 2015 and 2016 classes. Thankfully, I was able to get in touch with a few of those guys to talk about their feelings on Penn State in the wake of the Wimbush news. You can check out Jake Zembiec's interviewBrandon McIlwain's interview, and Tommy Stevens' interview.

I'll also summarize what I feel like I really took out of each interview.

Zembiec: Definite strong Penn State interest. The Nittany Lions seem to be the leaders at this point in time, although Michigan State's recent offer seems to have him quite intrigued as well. He has great points of contact from the school in Christian Hackenberg, 2015 WR commit Juwan Johnson, and 2016 DE commit Shane Simmons. If I were to handicap the race between PSU and MSU at this moment, I would say the Nittany Lions are favored about 70-30.

McIlwain: Has been interested in Penn State for some time. The Lions will stay in it until the end, but he seems South Carolina-bound.

Stevens: A very firm Indiana commit. Seemed regretful a bit that Penn State didn't pay him more attention early on though.

Haskins: I didn't get the chance to speak with Haskins yet, but teammate and Penn State commit Jonathan Holland gave me the inside scoop on his opinion of his quarterback's situation.

"It's early, Dwayne is still a junior right now. But he told me that he's narrowing down his decision, and right now Penn State is number one after they offered him a couple weeks ago. So I'm just staying on him, Dwayne knows how I feel about him and I believe he's Penn State for several reasons. The coaching staff and the players that we have already, and the players that we're getting in, I feel like they'd all be great assets for Dwayne if he comes in to play, and hopefully potentially play early. I know it would be a great place for him to end up and also he's be a real weapon to have after I get there and our whole recruiting class gets there. I'll stay on him about Penn State, I mean he never hears enough of it. I feel like he knows where he's going to go, it's just a matter of time so I'll stay on him. Right now it's between Penn State and I think Ohio State, but I know we'll be able to get him, no doubt in my mind."

So all in all, the quarterbacks are still a work in progress with some positive steps being taken. Three star Minnesota commit Demry Croft has said that he will be interested in Penn State once the Lions officially offer him, so there could be something there at some point. Just not yet.

Shoring up the Secondary

The makeup of the secondary of the is much different than what many Penn State fans assumed it would look like a few weeks ago. Instead of John Reid, Jordan Whitehead, and Myles Hartsfield holding down the cornerback spots, with Jarvis Miller, Daiquan Kelly, and Ayron Monroe providing the thump at safety, only Reid, Miller, Kelly, and Monroe are still slated to become Nittany Lions. With the secondary still being a position of need for the team, the coaching staff has amped up their efforts to add to the cornerback contingent in the 2015 class. Let's check out the names to know.

Name Position Star Rating High School Height/Weight Current Commitment
Garrett Taylor CB ★★★★ St. Christopher's School (VA) 6'1"/195 Michigan

Despite being currently committed to Michigan, Taylor recently set his official visits according to Ryan Bartow of 247Sports. He will visit Happy Valley to see the Lions take on Michigan State a few days after Thanksgiving, as well as travel to Columbus to see the Buckeyes and Blacksburg to see Virginia Tech. Taylor's commitment to Michigan is shaky to say the least, and will likely meet its end upon the likely firing of Brady Hoke at the season's end. Taylor would be the highest ranked commit the Nittany Lions would have, should he be coerced into trading in the Maize and Blue for the Blue and White.

There are a few other names to remember as Franklin and the staff continue their march towards filling the 2015 class.

Name Position Star Rating High School Height/Weight Current Commitment
Ugo Amadi CB ★★★ Overton (TN) 5'10"/182 Ole Miss
Juwuan Briscoe CB ★★★ Thomas Stone (MD) 6'0"/182 Clemson
Dionte Austin CB ★★★ Calvert Hall College (MD) 6'0"/150 Wake Forest

Honestly, I don't have a lot to say about any of these guys at this point in time. Amadi and Briscoe are scheduled to be in State College for the whiteout against Ohio State, and Austin camped at Penn State this past summer. I'm trying to get into contact with them so I can deliver more information. For now, go check out Sean Fitz's breakdown on the cornerback recruits if you haven't already.

I'm Proud to be an American, Where at Least I Know I'm Free

The number of Nittany Lions set to participate in the Under Armour All-American Bowl has officially grown by three. Future teammates Ryan Bates, Sterling Jenkins, and Adam McLean will be joining forces in Florida this January as part of the showcase event. Videos from the ceremonies for the three are embedded below for your viewing pleasure.

Adam McLean

Ryan Bates

Sterling Jenkins

This year's Under Armour All-American game will air on ESPN at 4:00 ET on January 2, 2015 from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Other Tidbits and Links

  • I spoke to 2016 four star WR Steven Smothers about his recruitment. He told me that Penn State currently sits around number eight on his top ten, but he thought the whole "James Franklin showing up to his game in a helicopter" thing was pretty cool. He told me that he gets a chance to talk with someone from the coaching staff every other week or so. He pointed out the idea that Franklin is clearly looking to create a faster and more athletic roster as a positive. The school that he has had the most contact with thus far is West Virginia, and they remain his number one option thus far. I asked him what would have to happen for Penn State to start to jump up his list a bit, and he said that he would want to see them play in and win a BCS bowl game in the next two years. Clearly Penn State has some work to do before they can start to seriously consider Smothers as a option.
  • In more news on DT commit Adam McLean, he has set two of his official visits that he announced he would take via twitter.
  • For the record, I fully expect McLean to remain in Penn State's recruiting class. His attitude about the visits seems to be that since he has them, he might as well use them.

    That's all for this edition of Committany Nation. As always, leave any questions in the comments section or tweet them to @TheRealNPolak or @BSDRecruiting.