Penn State Recruiting Roundup

With the Nittany Lions' Class of 2012 set to sign Wednesday, we give the lowdown on how things are shaping up on the recruiting front.

Penn State has rounded up 19 commits in its Class of 2012 – with seven coming in the final weeks before signing day.

Thanks to a strong final surge by new head coach Bill O'Brien's staff, the Lions have come close to filling most positions of need.

"PSU is looking at a total of 22-23 total scholarships available in the 2012 class," Fight On State recruiting analyst Cory James said previously. Taking into a account potential transfers and scholarships that had been given to walk-ons, the Nittany Lions could easily squeeze in the limit of 25 prospects.

But in a recent interview with FOS, O'Brien said he would not settle for lower-level recruits just to reach the 25-man limit.

The Sandusky scandal and subsequent head-coaching change clearly had an impact on this class, as several high-profile prospects de-committed from PSU and will attend other schools. All in all, though, most experts consider this a solid class.

Fight On State has a position-by-position breakdown of what to expect Wednesday.

Wide Receiver:

Four-star WR (#13) Eugene Lewis (Wyoming Valley West High, Plymouth, Pa.)
Three-star WR Malik Golden (Cheshire Academy, Cheshire, Conn.)
Two-star WR Jonathan Warner (Camas High, Camas, Wash.)

This is perhaps the strongest group overall of the bunch, highlighted by No. 13 overall WR Lewis. Lewis remained mum throughout the past several months, but never seemed to waver on his commitment. Add to that Golden and PSU legacy Warner and it shapes up as a solid receiving corps.

Tight End:

Three-star TE (#16) Brent Wilkerson (Dematha Catholic High, Hyattsville, Md.)
Three-star OT/TE Jesse James (South Allegheny High, McKeesport, Pa.)

Wilkerson and James are both players who can play several positions on the field, but seem to be focusing on tight end — especially in O'Brien's new offense. James enrolled in PSU in January and as such will not have to sign a Letter of Intent Wednesday.

Running Back

Three-star RB Akeel Lynch (St. Francis High, Buffalo, N.Y.)

The lone back is one who many think could be a huge get for Penn State. Lynch, originally from Canada, boarded at St. Francis in Buffalo, N.Y., for his high school career — where he was named New York State Gatorade Player of the Year his senior year.

"Penn State did really well in addressing their need for a running back," James said. "With the departure of Stephon Green and Brandon Beachum. Akeel Lynch should be an early contributor as a change-of-pace for Silas Redd next year."


Two-star QB Steven Bench (Cairo High, Cairo, Ga.)

Bench was a late addition to the Class of 2012, and the lone representative from the South in the class. Getting him on such short notice is an indication of the new staff's strong recruiting ties in talent-rich Georgia.

Offensive Line

Three-star OG Anthony Stanko (Howland High, Warren, Ohio)
Three-star C (#20) Wendy Laurent (The Hun School, Princeton, N.J.)
Three-star OG (#24) Austin Johnson (St. Augustine Prep, Richland, N.J.)

Stanko was the Class of 2012's first commit, and has stuck with the Lions through thick and thin. Adding to new line coach Mac McWhorter's ranks are Johnson and recent addition Laurent — both of New Jersey.

Defensive Line

Three-star DT Brian Gaia (Gilman School, Baltimore, Md.)
Three-star DT Jamil Pollard (West Depford High, Westville, N.J.)
Three-star DT Derek Dowery (John Handley High, Winchester, Va.)
Three-star DE Evan Schwan (Central Dauphin High, Harrisburg, Pa.)

The one glaring need that FOS recruiting analyst sees that the Lions didn't fill? Defensive end.

"Penn State struggled to fill a major need at defensive end," James said. "The Lions only picked up Evan Schwan despite graduating two seniors in Eric Lattimore and Jack Crawford on an already unproductive depth chart."

Most thought five-star DE prospect Noah Spence was a lock for Penn State. But that changed after the events in November and he landed at Ohio State.


Three-star OLB (#32) Nyeem Wartman (Valley View High, Archbald, Pa.)

Originally, FOS predicted that PSU would take 1-2 linebackers, and that is exactly where it ended up with the No. 32 LB in the class — Wartman. The Lions lost a key commit when four-star LB Camren Williams reversed field and landed at Ohio State.

Defensive Back

Three-star CB Da'Quan Davis (Calvert Hall High, Baltimore, Md.)
Three-star S Trevor Williams (Calvert Hall High, Baltimore, Md.)
Three-star CB Jake Kiley (The New Hampton School, New Hampton, Nh.)
Three-star S Jordan Lucas (Worcester Academy, Worcester, Mass.)

Before January, the man on this list on the board for the Lions was Kiley. In the past several weeks Penn State has fared well in the secondary, picking up Lucas, Davis and Williams. But PSU did lose four-star DB Armani Reeves to Ohio State.

Stay on Fight On State as signing day rapidly approaches for the class of 2012.


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