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Committany Nation: Penn State Recruiting Notes (04.22.14)

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Franklin always keeps me busy.

LB Kareem McDonald
LB Kareem McDonald

I might as well just write up a full Recruiting Roundup soon, huh?
  • I spoke with 2016 prospect DL Anthony Long. Anthony hails from the Pennsylvania powerhouse Bishop McDevitt, which is also the school of current Penn State commit RB Andre Robinson. He is still taking his recruitment slow as of right now, because the whole process is still pretty new to him. However, he does have a group of schools who have been contacting him the most--those schools being Ohio State, Penn State, Georgia Tech, Purdue, and Maryland. He currently holds Ohio State, Penn State, and Maryland as his favorite three (in no specific order). He's very high on Penn State, and loves what Coach Franklin is doing (although he had high interest even before his arrival), but is going to keep his mind open to other options as well. He pointed out the facilities as a drawing point to the school so far. He enjoyed his visit to State College, and had the opportunity to speak and watch film with Coach Spencer along with touring the facilities and practice with his McDevitt teammates. The most interesting part of talking with him though came when I asked him about whether or not Andre Robinson was in his ear about Penn State yet:
  • "Actually, before he committed he used to talk to me about it all the time. 'How do you feel about Penn State' and stuff. That's back when Coach Johnson and Bill O'Brien were still there, so back then even he talked to me about Penn State. Before he went there, I honestly thought he was going to go to Notre Dame, but he committed to PSU. He's been in my ear about it."

    Long is planning on visiting Ohio State sometime soon, but wants to get back to Penn State as well.

  • It appears that Adam McLean's commitment has led to even more positive developments for the Nittany Lions. I spoke in my last update about McLean's commitment having a positive impact on good friend Darius Fullwood, who would go on to confirm that to me. Well, McLean is getting in plenty of other players' ears as well, and one player in particular has been drawn in by what he has to say. Kareem McDonald (2* OLB) (Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, DC) is a very close friend of McLean, and told me that said friendship is one of the reasons Penn State is now his number one school. Along with PSU, he named Michigan State, Nebraska, Kentucky, Arizona, Maryland, and Old Dominion as his favorite schools right now. He has a visit to State College scheduled for May 2, when he will visit with the staff alongside his family and McLean. He is confident that an offer is coming soon, as he has been in contact with the staff since their Vanderbilt days. He's currently being recruited by Coach Chaos, and is receiving a visit at his school from two of the coaches on staff sometime this week. I'll keep you updated on Kareem's recruitment as it progresses.
  • Last week we talked about the new 247 rankings. This week we'll talk about the new ESPN ratings. Just like last time, we'll run down the names of importance that made the cut for the ESPN Top 300. I've bolded the names that are high Penn State targets, and ones who have good shots at committing. I've italicized the names who are possible for Penn State, but not necessarily probable. Anyone else is someone who is most likely just a pipe dream.
#1- Trent Thompson (DT)
#10- Tim Settle (DT)
#13- Justin Hilliard (LB)
#16- Jashon Cornell (DE)
#65- Sterling Jenkins (OT)
#66- Jerome Baker (LB)
#67- Matthew Burrell (OT)
#77- Christian Wilkins (DT)
#100- Ryan Bates (OL)- Commit
#104- Chris Clark (TE)
#107- Brandon Wimbush (QB)
#110- Adam McLean (DT)- Commit
#118- Ricky DeBerry (LB)
#126- Brady White (QB)
#136- Jordan Whitehead (CB)
#162- John Reid (CB)
#181- Juwan Johnson (WR)- Commit
#185- Steven Gonzalez (OG)- Commit
#202- Van Jefferson (WR)
#218- Trent Irwin (WR)
#235- Grant Newsome (OT)
#254- Manny Bowen (LB)
#267- Andre Robinson (RB)- Commit
#283- Josh Barajas (LB)- Commit

There's not much new information on this list compared to the 247 list last week. It's good to see so many of the current commits make it into the ESPN 300, despite the fact that ESPN is not the first place most people will go to for information on recruiting. Ryan Bates checked in as the highest ranked Penn State commit,  at #100. Adam McLean followed him at #110, with Juwan Johnson, Steven Gonzalez, Andre Robinson, and Josh Barajas also making appearances on the list. If things continue to fall in place for the Nittany Lions, there should be at least four more names on this list that include the "-Commit" connotation by the time this recruiting cycle is done.

  • The Nittany Lions are the #1 ranked recruiting class no longer. After an absolutely absurd weekend of recruiting by Nick "Full Suit to the Spring Game Power Move" Saban and the rest of the Alabama staff, the Crimson Tide's 2015 class now includes Calvin Ridley (4* WR), Leo Lewis (4* ILB), Shawn Burgess-Becker (4* ATH), and Minkah Fitzpatrick (5* CB). Not only did this ridiculous Saturday put an end to Penn State's hold on that top spot in most recruiting website rankings, but it also ended the Minkah Fitzpatrick to Penn State saga. In reality, Penn State was never really an option for Fitzpatrick. While he did visit to participate in a camp last summer, that was really as far as his interest went in the Nittany Lions. Ohio State was believed to be a player for the 5* stud, but it was pretty much universally assumed (outside of Columbus) that he was heading down south. It was a nice pipe dream to imagine Fitzpatrick lining up on the outside for Penn State, especially after the excitement of the Jabrill Peppers story last year, but it was not to be.

**Special Note- There was actually more to the Jabrill Peppers saga than you knew about. Interested? In the Michigan preview of We Are! 2014, Seth quotes me on never-before-released information. Be sure to help us reach our funding goal to find out exactly what I'm talking about!

  • I spoke with 2016 4* DE Quayshon Alexander (Wayne, NJ) recently about his recruitment so far. He told me that he is really enjoying the whole process to this point, and is really resonating on the fact that so many different schools are calling for him. I asked him about his top schools at the moment, and he told me that Rutgers and Miami, as the two that have offers out to him at this point, are two that stand out right now, but he made it very clear that he will consider all the options he has available to him. He told me that he plans on being someone who takes full advantage of the recruiting process, and checks out all of the schools close to home, as well as visits schools down south and out west. That being said, he is interested in being close to home so his family can see him play as much as possible. He thinks highly of Penn State right now, he visited at the end of March and had a great time. He loves the facilities, the family atmosphere, the academic prowess of the school, and the passion of the fan base. He was able to not only talk with Coach Spencer while visiting, but also got some one on one time to speak with Coach Franklin as well, which tells you what kind of a priority he is. He's paid close attention to Penn State recruiting, and sees the drive to be number one in the nation as a major positive. He also works out regularly with high Penn State target, Brandon Wimbush. He knows he wants to take visits down to Georgia Tech and Miami at some point, as well as attending camps at Rutgers and Penn State this summer. I'll keep you up to date on what's happening in Quayshon's recruitment as it goes along.

Finally, because I mentioned the Alabama coaching staff outside of Nick Saban...