Matt Burrell Commits to Ohio State
I will be recieving my degree and competing for a national championship @ The Ohio State University #Buckeyes !!— Matthew Burr€ll Jr! (@HeaftyLefty) November 18, 2014
In case you didn't see the news yesterday, four star 2015 OT Matthew Burrell (Woodbridge, VA) committed to Ohio State, choosing the Buckeyes over Penn State, Tennessee, and LSU. The other top contender, Florida State, was eliminated when Penn State moved into his top three.
It's possible that Burrell reconsiders his decision before National Signing Day, but his commitment to Ohio State seems very solid, so don't bank on James Franklin being able to pull any voodoo here. I received some questions on twitter asking who other potential targets were in the 2015 class, and I'm here to let you know that there are two main guys to think about right now, but neither one is particularly likely.
Emanuel McGirt (Durham, NC) was up at Penn State for the Whiteout game in late October, and told me he had a good time while visiting. He also voiced his desire to return for an official visit before the season was over, and named the Temple game a possibility for said visit. He wasn't able to make it to State College for the Temple game, and I haven't been able to get in contact with him yet about his plans, but it's hard to imagine anything happening for Penn State here until/unless he gets back on campus. He did sound very interested in making that happen though, so we'll see. Georgia and North Carolina look like the biggest players for the four star offensive tackle.
The other target to remember is Isaiah Prince (Greenbelt, MD). The #1 player in Maryland is in the process of setting up his official visits right now, and the word on the street is that one of those unfilled visits could go to Penn State. The Nittany Lions haven't been seen as much of a player for Prince's services for some time, but an official visit could give Penn State at least a fighting chance.
Punting News? Punting News.
Maybe the coaching staff reads things from the Penn State internet after all, because they are actively recruiting a punter. Hunter Lent (Elon, NC) told me that he has been hearing from both Penn State and Minnesota lately through both twitter and on the phone. He told me that the staff has let him know that they are "most likely" bringing in a punter in the 2015 class. He went on to tell me that they are currently talking to 2-3 other guys aside from him, and they aren't sure yet if his potential Penn State offer would be for a walk on spot or a scholarship.
Penn State and Minnesota are his top two schools right now, and he has very high interest in joining both programs. Lent also offers the extremely unique ability to both punt and play tight end in a pinch. He originally started playing tight end in high school simple because he was tall, and from there, his experience as a goalie in soccer helped him win the punting job. Hunter is rated by ProKicker.com as the 15th ranked punter in the country for 2015. In high school, his average punting distance is 42.24 yards with a long of 48, and an average hang time of 3.85 seconds. Lent is trying to get back to State College some time soon.
Jake Zembiec Will Return
Just got a message from Jake Zembiec that he'll be at Penn State for the Michigan State game (11/29/14)— Nick Polak (@TheREALNPolak) November 18, 2014
2016 four star quarterback, Jake Zembiec, told me yesterday that he will be visiting Penn State for the Michigan State game, adding to what is shaping up to be quite a weekend for recruiting.
Recently, Zembiec seemed close to making an announcement on twitter, and the general consensus seems to be that he was ready to officially narrow down his list. It is assumed that Michigan State and Penn State are the top two choices at this point, with either team possibly being on top.
The good news for Penn State fans though, is that he will be back in State College before making any major decisions (or so it would seem at this point).
Checking up on the Verbal Commits
Once all of Penn State's verbal commits have finished their seasons, I'll have a bigger post with all of their stats and awards for their exploits in the world of high school football. But there are a few quick things to update you on first.
Five star 2016 defensve end commit Shane Simmons and DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, MD) will be taking on former Penn State target Darius Fullwood and Good Counsel this Saturday for the WCAC Championship. I'm looking into trying to get to this game, as both of these teams are loaded with Penn State targets. Shane Simmons and 2015 Penn State safety commit, Ayron Monroe, were both named to the all-WCAC first team, along with tons of other names Penn State fans are familiar with. 2016 defensive end Terrell Hall and 2016 linebacker Keandre Jones were both also named to the first team, while 2016 offensive line targets Terrance Davis, Jay Jay McCargo, JP Urquidez, and Jauan Williams were all named to the second team.
Also still alive in their high school playoffs, are Ryan Bates and Jake Cooper of Archbishop Wood (Warminster, PA). For those of you in Pennsylvania, their game this Saturday against Imhotep Charter for the District 12 Championship should be on television, so be sure to tune in and watch those two go to work.
As I mentioned, once all of the commits have finished up their seasons, I'll have a post outlining all of their high schools statistics (and boy, are they impressive).
That's all for today. And in case there is any question, no, nothing in this post is suggesting that Hackenberg is transferring.