The Linebacker Big Board

Greg Pickel takes a closer look at at some of the 'backers the Penn State staff is targeting for the Class of 2013 (and 2014).

With Penn State hot on the recruiting trail, linebacker is one position from which the Lions have yet to garner a commitment. However, it's on par with prior years. In fact, Mike Hull was the only prospect to commit to Penn State before June in each of the last five classes. With June on the horizon and the verbal commitment period warming up, we take a look at the Big Board for Penn State at linebacker.

OLB Alex Anzalone:

Arguably the biggest curiosity on Penn State's prospect list in general, Anzalone was briefly committed to Ohio State before opening back up a couple of weeks ago.

While Anzalone has been on Penn State's campus a couple of times previously, our Mark Harrington -- combined with notes from Scout's Brian Dohn -- has learned that Anzalone plans to visit Notre Dame the second week of June. H also may head back to Stanford, USC and Penn State, joining a trip to Florida he made in May.

Anzalone has said he has no timetable for a decision, and may take the process into the fall if he takes his officials. But the Nittany Lions seem to be right in the chase.

The Wyomissing, Pa., backer has kept his top schools close to the vest while doing plenty of interviews

Fight On State's Odds: We'll cap Anzalone at a 30-40 percent chance to attend Penn State as a member of the 2013 class. That's for the time being. We will adjust as this fluid situation unfolds.

MLB Al-Rasheed Benton:

Benton, a Malcolm X. Shabazz (Newark, N.J.) prospect, picked up a Penn State offer a couple weeks back in early May. Of all the linebacker recruits, he seems most likely to jump on board very soon. He sent his tape to Penn State, attended the spring game once invited, and was thrilled to receive a call from Bill O' Brien giving him a verbal offer. He says he will wait and see what other offers come about, but would choose Penn State at this point.

Fight On State: For the time being, I'd be hard pressed to see Benton head anywhere else when the recruiting process is all said and done. Having his high school athletic director as a Penn State graduate certainly doesn't make him a lock, but it's an added presence in his ear.

MLB Brandon Bell:

One of the top players in New Jersey just picked up an offer from Penn State, and the Oakcrest High (Mays Landing) immediately jumped Penn State to the top. Both Scout's Brian Dohn and I learned from Bell that Penn State is very high on his list, and he received a personal call from Bill O'Brien with an offer. From Dohn's interview, you can see O'Brien is very high on Bell.

Fight On State Odds: While Bell hasn't named a top five yet or ranked his suitors, Penn State seems to have a very good shot at landing him.

OLB Zayd Issah:

The Central Dauphin High (Harrisburg, Pa.) outside 'backer gave rave reviews of his trip to the Blue-White Game. While he's going to wait until after his senior season to make a decision at this point, Penn State's staff has been into see his head coach (Ron Vanderlinden and Larry Johnson both stopped by to review Issah's academic progress).

Penn State is the only Big Ten school to offer Issah, doing so at a Junior Day. Issah has said he plans on making a return trip to Happy Valley this fall, and Penn State has to like its chances at this point in the game.

Fight On State's Odds: We'll put Issah as a strong chance to be a Lion in 2013. Between the early offer impression, the Blue-White Game experience, and an expected visit for a game this fall, Issah seems to be very impressed by Penn State.

OLB Doug Randolph:

The Woodberry Forrest (Va.) High prospect originally committed to Stanford. While he remains committed to the Cardinal, he is taking a few visits and may end up checking out PSU. It doesn't seem likely that Penn State pries Randolph away from Stanford. But who know what may happen of he actually visits campus?

OLB Marcus Newby:

Newby is a three-star prospect out of Quince Orchard High (Gaithersburg, Md.) who picked up a Penn State offer. The news has been light on him since. He has visited Rutgers and Maryland, and will visit Nebraska in June. He expects to make an announcement this summer. Penn State appears very likely to make his final cut.

MLB Michael Deeb

Deeb's recruitment has taken off of late, and an offer from Penn State was one that stuck out to the American Heritage School (Plantation, Fla.) prospect from what he told Scout's Beth Long when he received it back in March. Deeb is likely to make a Northern swing this summer, and Penn State is likely to be one of his stops.

Camping Prospects:

Unlike the secondary, Penn State -- at this point -- does not appear to have many 2013 linebackers slated to attend its two advanced skill camps. Matt Galambos (Haverford, Pa.), Nick Sorrenti (Endwell, N.Y.), and T.J. Armstrong (Clarion, Pa.) are the biggest name 'backer we've identified as being scheduled to camp at PSU. New Jersey prospect Quashae Hendryx may camp, but was still undecided last I spoke to him.

2014 Offers Out

Penn State has made a move recently on a 2014 inside linebacker, visiting Sycamore High (Cincinnati) prospect Tinahse Bere. Bere will camp at Penn State on June 2. Expect the Lions to take a long look at Bere when he camps.

OLB Dante Booker of St. Vincent-St. Mary High (Akron, Ohio) also picked up a Penn State offer recently, though it's not clear if he will camp.

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