After wrapping up his final regular season press conference Saturday, Penn State interim head coach Tom Bradley said he and members of his staff were hitting the recruiting trail. Get the latest on their travels here.
This week Penn State interim head coach Tom Bradley gave his squad a break from the practice field, as members of the coaching staff hit the road to preserve and possibly build on the Class of 2012. As one program observer said, "Tom has repeatedly said he wants to put the program in the best position possible regardless of what happens after the bowl game. That shows what kind of man he is."
Bradley has personally hit the road, joining a number of his lead recruiters to visit prospects and pledges alike to "discuss concerns and answer questions." Bradley has been very upfront about the state of Penn State's coaching situation, but also made it clear "he wants the job."
Without knowing where Penn State's coaching situation stands for 2012, what is he pitching to these players?
"He's selling Penn State – a great program that has been built on a foundation of academics that prepares young men for life," one observer said.
As Bradley told USAToday, "I sell all the positives of Penn State - academics, the campus, (a large) alumni association, the family atmosphere. Penn State is still Penn State. It's a great academic institution. It's a great college town. It's Big Ten football. None of that is going to change."
Bradley's focus is solely on the players who have committed to Penn State and those athletes the Lions were recruiting before the Sandusky scandal broke. He will not go after anyone new unless he lands the head coaching position.
Here is an overview of where the coaches have been slated to visit this week:
Visited J.P. Holtz (Pa., TE) Monday. Holtz visited Purdue last week and has shown a renewed interest in Pittsburgh. Expectations at this point are that Holtz will continue to look elsewhere to play his collegiate football. (Update: Bob Lichtenfels reports that Holtz is now decommitted from Penn State.)
Visited Jesse James (Pa., OL/TE) Monday with Bill Kenney. James remains committed to PSU at this stage and is expected to make his official visit to University Park next week.
Visited Nyeem Wartman (Pa., LB) with Dick Anderson Tuesday. Wartman appears to be still committed to Penn State.
Visited Eugene Lewis (Pa., WR) Tuesday with Anderson. Lewis also appears to still be committed to Penn State. He is expected to make his PSU official visit in January.
Visited prospect Demetrious Cox (Pa., DB) Tuesday with Kermit Buggs. Cox was contacted by new Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer this week and continues to be recruited by a variety of programs.
Expected to visit Austin Johnson (N.J., OL) Thursday. Johnson's commitment status is unclear, although there have been no indications he has waivered on his pledge at this point.
Expected to visit Camren Williams (Mass., LB) on Friday with Bill Kenney. Williams is believed to be still committed to Penn State.
Expected to visit Armani Reeves (Mass., DB) on Friday with Bill Kenney. Reeves is believed to be still committed to Penn State.
Expected to visit Jake Kiley (N.H., DB) on Friday with Bill Kenney. Kiley is believed to be still committed to Penn State.
Expected to visit Skyler Mornhinweg (Pa., QB) later this week. The status of Mornhinweg's commitment is unclear at this point.
Visited prospect Noah Spence (Pa., DE) and his family Tuesday. Indications are that PSU will remain in the running as long as Johnson is on the staff. Spence has been contacted by Meyer and is being heavily recruited by programs like USC and Miami.
Visited pledge Brent Wilkerson (Md. TE) Wednesday. Wilkerson visited Virginia last week, but indicated he was still committed to Penn State after the visit with Johnson.
Expected to visit Tommy Schutt (Ill., DT). There were initial indications that Schutt was waivering on his pledge to PSU, but at this stage he appears to be still committed.
Expected to visit Brian Gaia (Md., DL) Thursday. Gaia has already indicated he is still committed to Penn State.
Visited Derek Dowrey (Va., DT) Wednesday. Dowrey appears to be still committed to PSU.
Visited Malik Golden (Conn., WR) Wednesday. Golden appears to be still committed to Penn State.
As an aside, Anthony Stanko (Ohio, OL) issued at statement to FOS Nov. 13 where he reaffirmed his pledge to Penn State. The PSU coaches have been in close contact with Stanko.
At this stage it appears that the vast majority of pledges are still committed to Penn State. The only certain decommits are Holtz and Colorado offensive lineman Joey O'Connor. And even O'Connor told Scout.com, "just because I decommited, doesn't mean I've completely ruled Penn State out."
Where players like Schutt and Mornhinweg stand at this stage is unclear. Both have been reluctant to address the situation publicly.