Ask the Experts: Penn State Edition

The Scout.com team of recruiting experts provides the answers to the questions posed by the the FightOnState.com community in this exclusive feature.

The FightOnState.com community asked the questions, and the FOX Sports NEXT team of recruiting analysts chimed in with their answers, opinions and thoughts.


Q: What is the national opinion of Michael O'Connor as a prospect?
A:
From Jamie Newberg, who covers Florida and saw him throw this spring: "Honestly, I don't think there is much of one now. He left the state of Tennessee to play at IMG. There he fined-tuned his game, earned a bunch of offers and just committed to Penn State. I think the national recognition will come. As I said last month, I have seen MOST of the QBs in this state live at some point or another and I would rank him as the top signal caller in Florida right now.
I will be anxious to see how he does at Elite 11. I will bet right now that he does incredibly well in the classroom sessions.


De'Andre Thompkins is rated as a top 200 recruit on 3 different recruiting sites. Scout currently lists 66 other WR's ahead of him including some with only MAC offers. Can we expect an reevaluation of him?
A:
Thompkins is now the No. 50 receiver in the nation by us. When it comes to rankings, I think fans sometimes forget how subjective they are, and how evaluators look for different things and always to benefit the team the cheer on (and I know and expect this).
For example, we have Marcus Allen as the No. 22 safety and a four-star. Another service as him at No. 32 and a three-star. We have Troy Apke as the No. 45 receiver and a four-star, and another network has him as the No. 59 receiver and a three-star. We have Jared Wangler as a three-star, and another network has him as a two-star.
So, should we take another look at their rankings and make an adjustment there? (Of course not, but I think you understand my point.)
As for Thompkins, though, this is from Michael Clark, who covers the Carolinas for FOXSportsNEXT: "Absolutely. He has had a very impressive spring and will have a chance to compete against the nation's best at Nike's "The Opening" this summer. If he performs well there, look for him to move up quickly in the rankings. He will be a very good player at Penn State."


What are Penn State's coaches telling recruits about the number of 'ships available as the math right now says there's only one left for 2014?
A:
There is not really a math lesson that goes with it. The Penn State coaches have been telling players the whole time there are limited options. I am not speaking out of turn, nor criticizing, since it has been publicized and since it happens at many others schools, there has been some squeezing going on.
But take Chris Godwin for example. He was told Penn State had one scholarship for a receiver, and Troy Apke commits. It was explained to him Penn State meant one receiver for his position. Penn State is using the scholarship crunch to its advantage right now, and it is working out well right now.


Is PSU done with O Line recruiting now that Beh is on board? Or will it make room if Bookser should want to commit?
A:
I wouldn't say it is done at this point, but getting Beh on board was big because Penn State liked him for a while and Beh always seemed Penn State-bound, if the Nittany Lions wanted him. Alex Bookser is the kind of kid Penn State would take at any point, and make room for him if it had to. I still think Bookser stays home or heads to an Ohio State-type, but Penn State is in the running, and it helps to have Apke there every day to sell the Nittany Lions.


What is PSU's plan at DT? Do you envision them taking 1 or 2? And where does PSU stand with each of Nnadi, Walker, Clarke, and Holley? What is your opinion as to who will wind up in this class?
A:
First of all, I don't like predictions for two reasons:
First, it puts a kid in a tough spot and could potentially steal his thunder. We usually know where kids are going before they commit, but we are told in confidence so doing predictions is something that I think is unfair to the player.
Second, I think work has to be done for Derrick Nnadi and Ricky Walker. At this point, I see Penn State taking one. Jeremiah Clarke could go either way, as a defensive end or defensive tackle, but Thomas Holley is a straight-out defensive tackle. If Penn State got Holley and Clarke, I think it would take both because of Clarke's versatility.


What is your educated opinion on Dravon Henry? Not much news on him lately. I know it is basically OSU, PSU, WVU, & Pitt .. and he is likely to stay close to home. I can't see him at UCLA.
A:
There has been plenty on Henry lately. It's just not much is happening. I did a story on him recently and Greg Pickel also caught up with him. However, he has not set visits nor trimmed his list since he originally said he had a top four only to add more schools after that.
At the end of the day, I think he stays close to home. He is very close to his dad, and I think Dravon has strong relationships with the local coaches. I can see him at Penn State as much as I can see the other schools.


Troy Vincent? Is PSU still in good shape for him?
A:
So far, so good. He wanted to take a little longer and look things over, but I know his father, Troy Sr., was really impressed by Penn State coach Bill O'Brien and the education the school offers.


Another guy I'm interested in is Malik Hooker. How hard is PSU pursuing him and at what position? Do you have any thoughts as to what he plans to do? I would like to know your evaluation of him.
A:
Hooker is a very intriguing prospect who can play on both sides of the ball, but right now I like him more as a receiver. That could change when I get to see more of him, but he runs well, accelerates and is elusive. Penn State likes him a lot, but it is for the secondary. But I would be lying if I said I had a strong feel for what was going on with Hooker's recruitment. He is waiting and taking his time.


Does Brady Hoke still have the policy where he will pull the offer of any verbal commit who takes a visit to another school?
A:
I don't think it's a cut-and-dry policy, but my understanding is if a kid take a visit after committing, Michigan could still recruit the kid and won't cut ties with him, but the staff also knows it has a lot of work left to do with said kid.


I would like to know if PSU is talking to any recruits about the possibility of grey shirting?
A:
I have not heard of Penn State talking to kids as grey shirts, and as has been mentioned on the board, it won't help the situation.


A question related to scholarships and the 65 limit: Could they award 1/2 scholarships to two players and that would count as one or would it still count as two scholarship players?
A:
No. Football and basketball are not allowed to give half scholarships. They must be full scholarships. Also, if an athlete is playing two sports and football is one of the sports, he must be placed on a football scholarship. Otherwise, schools would take every 4.4 kid and every linemen/discus thrower and put them on the track team, then have the kids play football.



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