But even as Nittany Lion fans were mourning the passing of major-college football's all-time wins leader, the PSU program was in the process of shoring up things for the future.
Four high school prospects, including coveted New York running back Akeel Lynch, made verbal commitments to the Nittany Lions Sunday.
All four prospects visited campus over the weekend, even though new Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien was not there. The New England Patriots' offensive coordinator, O'Brien is staying with the NFL team through the playoffs. The Patriots beat the Baltimore Ravens Sunday to advance to the Super Bowl.
Penn State now has 17 firm verbal commitments for its Class of 2012, which appears to be a sign that the Jerry Sandusky scandal that rocked campus and led to Paterno's firing in early November may not have been the devastating blow to recruiting many anticipated.
O'Brien was named Paterno's replacement Jan. 6 and had most of his staff assembled within a week. Eight assistant coaches are already working on campus, handling the bulk of recruiting.
I was interested in them before and then all the scandal stuff happened, Lynch told FOXSportsNEXT. I kept an open mind and listened to what the coaches had to say. I wanted to take the visit and make sure it was right. This is something you only go through once. I have always had an admiration for Penn State. I spoke with the staff and felt they were going to take the program in the right direction.
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According to Scout.com's database, Penn State has not had four prospects make public commitments to the program in the same day in at least a decade.
Recruits can't sign letters of intent with schools until Feb. 1
Here is a quick look at the Nittany Lions' latest commitments:
Da'Quan Davis, CB: Davis was a former pledge to West Virginia with offers from programs like Arizona, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. Davis, who is close with current PSU player Adrian Amos, became interested in the Lions when assistant coach Larry Johnson (a holdover from the former staff) offered him a scholarship last week. Once he visited PSU, he was sold. Penn State is a great school, especially academically, he told FOXSportsNEXT.
Akeel Lynch, RB: Hailing from from Athol Springs, N.Y., he holds offers from programs like Oklahoma, Iowa, Connecticut, Boston College and Mississippi. He committed to PSU's new recruiting coordinator, Charles London.
Jonathan Warner, WR: The son of Penn State running back legend Curt Warner, Jonathan Warner is considered a sleeper prospect. He played in a state not know for producing an overwhelming number of BCS prospects. But once Johnson saw film of the receiver, he made an offer. When asked about his feelings for Penn State, Warner told FOXSportsNEXT, "I love it there."
Trevor Williams, S/WR: Williams was also offered by Johnson. He had previously committed to West Virginia but changed his mind on his Penn State visit. The two-way standout told FOXSportsNEXT, "To be honest, Penn State is my dream school."