Penn State Signing Day Analysis

Meet the prospects expected to sign binding letters of intent with Penn State on Wednesday, and check out what FOXSportsNEXT's recruiting analysts say about each one.

Penn State already welcomed five scholarship members in January, and the rest of coach Bill O'Brien's class is due to sign Wednesday. O'Brien and his staff did a remarkable job holding the class together after it was hit by NCAA sanctions, and we take a look at how the scholarship players set to sign Wednesday bring to the Nittany Lions' program.


DaeSean Hamilton, WR, 6-0, 180, Mountain View High, Stafford, Va.
Brian Dohn, recruiting analyst, says: Hamilton was a very good pickup and came after the sanctions, which is important. He has sure hands and runs well, and isn't afraid to go over the middle. He is not the fastest but he has burst and can gain separation on route. Hamilton also possesses very good body control, and despite being a bit of a tweener when it comes to size and speed, he is a very good player.


Zayd Issah, OLB, 6-4, 215, Central Dauphin High, Harrisburg, Pa.
Dohn says: Issah is also a good running back but he is best at linebacker. He reads plays well, gets off blocks and can make the tackle. He can run a play down and also is comfortable rushing the quarterback, so he could be utilized well in blitz packages heading into the backfield. His length is also a big asset but he needs to work on his cover skills.


Parker Cothren, DE, 6-5, 265, Hazel Green (Ala.) High
John Garcia, recruiting analyst, says: He's a high-motor guy, a strong guy. He's not going to surprise anybody but he's relentless and powerful at the point of attack. He's also versatile against the run and the pass. He can do it both.


Tanner Hartman, OG, 6-4, 265, Lynchburg (Va.) Christian Academy
Dohn says: Hartman flipped from Maryland to Penn State and gives the Nittany Lions another player for the interior of the offensive line. He needs to improve his strength but he has good footwork and is nimble enough to get out and pull. Hartman needs to play with a lower level and work on his initial punch, His length is an asset.


Kasey Gaines, S, 5-10, 160, Grayson High, Loganville, Ga.
Chad Simmons, recruiting analyst, says: He's undersized and he played a lot of safety in high school. His instincts and nose for the football back in the secondary are good. He's a sure-handed kid. He's not that big, not overly fast, but he's a hard-nosed football player.


Brandon Bell, MLB, 6-2, 220, Mays Landing High, Oakcrest, N.J.
Dohn says: Bell is a physical and plays extremely hard. His strength is in reading the run and shooting into the gap. He reads plays well and gets through traffic and off blocks, but he needs to improve his speed to get to plays on the edge. Bell also needs to gain more comfort in pass coverage, but he is very receptive to coaching.


Neiko Robinson, S, 6-0, 170, Northview High, Century, Fla.
Jamie Newberg, recruiting analyst, says: I saw him play in the state title game and was impressed with his play. Robinson is terrific in run support, showing an aggressive and hard-hitting game. Sometimes, though, he's a tad over aggressive and over runs plays. Robinson has good speed and covers a lot of ground in a hurry. He's fearless in the secondary. Robinson mainly plays free safety but sometimes lines up near the box.


Andrew Nelson, OT, 6-5, 260, Hershey (Pa.) High
Dohn says: Nelson has very good length and moves his feet well. He will enter Penn State as a tackle and should fit in well. Like nearly every lineman, he needs to improve his strength but he has a good kick to get back in pass protection. He gets low in run blocking and can get to the second level. Nelson also has the athleticism to pull.


Curtis Cothran, DE, 6-5, 245, Council Rock High North, Newtown, Pa.
Dohn says: Refining his technique is the biggest issue with Cothran, but he has tremendous athleticism and body control and can get through smaller cracks in the line. He is long and can play defensive end and drop into coverage. He needs to get off blocks better. Cothran could also grow into a defensive tackle.


Brandon Mahon, OG, 6-5, 300, Randolph (N.J.) High
Dohn says: Mahon is a classic road grader. He gets his hands on a defender and it is over. He will push them back into the secondary and not stop until they after flattened. He was recruited to play guard but played center in the U.S. Army all-star game and could also do that. Mahon is strong and thick, but he needs to work on becoming more flexible and improving his foot speed.


Garrett Sickels, DE, 6-4, 230, Red Bank Regional High (Little Silver, N.J.)
Dohn says: Sickels is athletic and tireless, two top qualities, especially when you're dealing with a prospect of his size. He reads plays well to get into the backfield and also has the speed to chase plays down. His length is also very good and he is comfortable in coverage. He still needs to improve his strength.


Christian Hackenberg, QB, 6-4, 210, Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy High
Dohn says: The lone knock on Hackenberg entering his senior season was his penchant to throw too many interceptions. He cured that with better decisions. He has above average arm strength, sees the field well, moves in the pocket, is tough and can get yards with his feet.


Check out our analysis of Penn State's early enrollees, including tight end Adam Breneman and quarterback Tyler Ferguson, at this link.

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