After securing commitments from two four-star prospects at the Army All American game, and then nabbing two more four-star commits the following week, the Nittany Lions hit the jackpot this past week when five players announced that they would be going to Happy Valley next fall. The headliner of the group is five-star offensive line prospect Antonio Logan-El, who committed Tuesday afternoon on ESPNews. Logan-El, the No. 5-ranked offensive line prospect on Scout.com, gives Penn State some options as he is big enough to play tackle and could play guard as well. The Forestville, MD native, who had originally committed to Maryland, became the sixth resident of the Old Line State to choose Penn State this recruiting season.
It did not take long for Penn State to get number seven. Shortly after Logan-El made his announcement, four-star defensive tackle prospect Phillip Taylor of Brandywine, Md. also declared for the Lions. Like Logan-El, Taylor chose Penn State over Maryland. At 6-4, 340-pounds, there is no doubt that Taylor will play defensive tackle in college. Penn State now has six defensive tackle commitments and they will join the five returning defensive tackles already on their roster.
The fifth defensive tackle commitment came on Sunday when Johnnie Troutman of Pemberton, N.J. chose Penn State over Ohio State. Also, running back Evan Royster from Westfield High School in Chantilly, Va. picked PSU over Nebraska.
None of these commitments were surprises as Penn State had been rumored as the favorite to land each of these recruits for the past several weeks. That is not true in the case of Pat Devlin. Devlin, a four-star prospect from Downingtown, Pa., had committed to Miami back in July. However, this past weekend the No. 4-ranked quarterback prospect on Scout.com decided to visit Penn State. It obviously went well because on Monday Devlin reneged on his pledge to the Hurricanes and decided to join up with Joe Paterno and company. Devlin is the second quarterback in this recruiting class, joining three-star prospect Brett Brackett.
There may be another player that is committed elsewhere on Penn State‘s radar screen. Superstar wide receiver prospect Vidal Hazelton is said to be reconsidering his commitment to USC and is looking once again at Penn State. His father told Scout.com's Bob Lichtenfels that distance from home is a key factor in why the Staten Island, N.Y. native is now looking at Penn State. Hazelton is the No. 1-rated receiver on Scout.com and would join five-star prospect Chris Bell at the wide receiver position if he were to choose Penn State. The thought of being able to utilize those weapons must put a smile on Pat Devlin's face.
While USC fights to hold on to Hazelton, two five-star running backs that were being heavily recruited by the Trojans decided to go elsewhere. Michael Goodson of Klein Collins High School in Klein, Texas picked Texas A&M over USC. Goodson is a versatile back as he can catch the ball out of the backfield and can return kicks. Goodson committed to Oklahoma State in July then seemed to waver between A&M and USC until his announcement on Sunday.
The other five-star running back that turned down USC was Keiland Williams from Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va.. The 6-0, 225-pound Williams is a power back in the mold of LenDale White. He decided to attend LSU instead of Southern Cal and Ole Miss. The No. 3-ranked running back on Scout.com grew up a Tiger fan in Lafayette, LA and is excited by the prospect of playing close to home. Williams was a teammate of Vidal Hazelton at Hargrave.
Despite these two losses, Pete Carroll did score one big recruiting victory this week by obtaining a commitment from five-star athlete C.J. Gable of Sylmar, Calif.. Gable will be either a running back or a safety for the Trojans., depending on who else commits and what position someone like Taylor Mays winds up playing. He has stated that he does not really care on which side of the ball he plays. Gable chose USC over the Arizona Wildcats. Like Williams, being close to home was a big factor in his decision.
While Penn State was adding players this week, Big Ten rival Ohio State was not getting left behind. The Buckeyes received three commitments including four-star linebacker Thaddeus Gibson of Euclid, OH. Gibson becomes the fourth four-star linebacker to commit to Ohio State, and with loss of A.J. Hawk, Bobby Carpenter, and Anthony Schlegel, these players will have an opportunity for early playing time. The Buckeyes also got pledges from three-star running back Aram Olson of Columbia, SC and four-star athlete Ray Small from Cleveland. Small, like Michael Goodson and Keiland Williams, also considered USC.
A few other interesting recruiting notes from the past week. Former Tennessee Volunteer quarterback Brent Schaeffer will be back in the SEC next year, this time with the Ole Miss Rebels. After spending a year playing junior college ball at the College of the Sequoias, Schaeffer will now have three years to play two at Mississippi. He left Tennessee after being convicted of an assault charge in April.
Much has been made about the big three offensive lineman at St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, FL: Sam Young, Dan Wenger, and Marcus Gilbert. This week a fourth lineman from the school, Marcus Lind, committed to Duke. Lind missed five games because of an injury, but still managed to attract interest from Miami, Tennessee, and Auburn.
Finally, this week Rutgers got a commitment from wide receiver Tim Brown. This Tim Brown is a 5-8, 165-pound two-star prospect from Miami and is no relation the Irish Heisman Trophy winner of the same name. One of his other schools of interest, ironically, was Michigan State.