My overall take on the Class of 2012 is one of cautious optimism. I really believe that this class has the making of something special, because of the kind of people the commits are. They truly love Penn State, and they are very excited to be Nittany Lions. To me, that is exactly what Penn State needed in this class. Nineteen recruits who bleed blue and white.
2. WHAT LETTER GRADE DO YOU GIVE IT AND WHY?
I would give the Class a B, because all things considered I think they did a pretty good job.
3. DO YOU EXPECT ANY SURPRISES FOR PENN STATE -- POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE -- BETWEEN NOW AND THE END OF LOI DAY?
Of course anything can happen, but I expect this class to pretty much stay the way it is between now and the end of LOI day.
4. DID THE SCANDAL AND COACHING CHANGE HAVE MORE OR LESS OF AN IMPACT ON THIS CLASS THAN YOU ORIGINALLY THOUGHT THEY MIGHT?
The scandal and coaching change had less of an impact on this class than I originally thought. When everything happened, one had to expect that most of the recruits in the class would look elsewhere. But it seemed to have the opposite effect, at least immediately. In the end, several commits did take offers to other schools, but the bulk of the class stayed together.
5. HOW DID BILL O'BRIEN AND HIS STAFF DO IN THE LIMITED TIME THEY HAD TO WORK ON THIS CLASS?
If we were grading, I would say A. Honestly, he and his staff did much better than what I would have expected. They had less than a month to work with, and ended up with 19 commits and at this point the fifth best class in the Big Ten on Scout.com. That's pretty impressive, in my opinion.
6. WHERE DID PENN STATE MEET NEEDS WITH THIS CLASS?
Two big ones -- at RB with Akeel Lynch and at DB with four total commits. As many have said, the cupboard was getting bare at DB, and they brought in four recruits to help out.
7. WHERE DID PENN STATE FAIL TO MEET NEEDS WITH THIS CLASS?
I don't think Penn State left any glaring need in this class. Sure it could have benefited from a very high profile player in any position group, but I think they covered the essentials.
8. WHO IS THE BEST GET IN THIS CLASS?
Two of them. On paper, it's Eugene Lewis, the lone four-star commit in the Class of 2012. Lewis, whom I have seen on several occasions, is such a fluid receiver. He's very athletic. I can't pick between Lewis and Lynch, the RB originally from Canada who played his high school ball in Buffalo. Lynch has plenty of speed, is a bigger back, and I cant wait to see him on the field.
9. WHO IS A SLEEPER IN THIS CLASS?
I think it's two-star QB Steven Bench. From what I have seen and heard from the Scout.com experts, he had moment's of brilliance in summer camps. Although the pool is slim of prospects at this point, O'Brien reached out to Bench knowing that he needed a QB in this class. To me that means that Bench was exactly what O'Brien wanted -- and now he's got him for the next four years.
10. WHICH LOST COMMIT HURT THE MOST?
This is a two part answer to me. If we're talking off the field, Camren Williams. He's one of those kids who loved Penn State through and through, and is an outspoken leader. On the field, I believe the biggest loss was Armani Reeves. He's an athlete and was really expected to come straight onto the field and compete for playing time early.
11. WHICH LOST PROSPECT (NON-COMMIT) HURT THE MOST?
The prospect that many felt Penn State had and lost was Noah Spence, who ended up at Ohio State . I think that hands down this was the lost prospect that hurt the most, especially with a need for a play-maker at defensive end.
12. HOW DOES PENN STATE STACK UP AGAINST THE REST OF THE BIG TEN?
According to the Scout.com rankings Penn State is fifth in the Big Ten as of this writing, behind Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Iowa.