With than in mind, FightOnState.com takes a look at six areas of Penn State recruiting that are picking up steam heading into the holiday season.
Penn State 2013 verbal commit and Northview High (Century, Fla.) CB Neiko Robinson still hasn't stepped foot on University Park soil, even though he committed way back in the summer. That will change in the near future, though. Northview is preparing for the Florida 1A state championship against Trenton Dec. 7, which nullifies the opportunity Robinson had previously planned to visit University Park (with the rest of the Nittany Lions' 2013 verbal commitments as well as some key prospects). There aren't many better excuses then a state final, though, and O'Brien learned all about that Monday. Coach O'Brien stopped in to see me Monday, and it was nice to just sit and talk with him, Robinson said. And we also picked a new date for me to visit, so that was great, too. Robinson will take his official visit to Penn State over the weekend Jan. 18-20.
Of late, Nittany Lion quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher has been most talked about for discovering and recruiting Iowa West Community College JUCO quarterback Jake Waters. But while not in Iowa, Fisher has been patrolling the western portion of Pennsylvania, and one stop he's made is of new note to recruiting diehards. Fisher visited Highlands High (Natrona Heights, Pa.) to learn more about 2014 tight end/linebacker Allan Cratsenberg, who Highland head coach Sam Albert calls our all-everything junior tight end/linebacker. Albert informs me that Cratsenberg is a two-time All-Conference tight end, and at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, he will likely pique the Nittany Lions' interest at both positions.
Penn State will hold a Junior Day sometime at the end of January. After receiving a visit from PSU, two Pennsylvania juniors are already in the mix to attend. The first is Neshaminy High (Langhorne) tight end Luke Carrezola, who was invited to the event when Nittany Lion secondary coach John Butler stopped by the school Tuesday to pick up his highlight tape. The other is Governor Mifflin (Shillington) offensive lineman Connor Morehart. Likewise, he got an offer after to visit for Junior Day when Butler stopped by his school to pick up tape. Stay tuned to FOS as we continue to add potential visitors for the big event.
I spoke to Iowa Western JUCO running back Aaron Wimberly this week, and he reports back that he is still interested in Penn State and holds weekly phone conversations Fisher and running backs coach Charles London. Wimberly called his visit to Iowa State a couple weeks back good, saying I liked what I saw football-wise and academic-wise. Still with a Boise State visit to go, Wimberly, will then take a week to absorb everything he's seen with his family and coaches before making a decision. I think Penn State is in the mix, but I'm just not sure Wimberly wants to decommit from Iowa State. The picture should be clearer after he visits Boise State.
O'Brien said during his post-Wisconsin news conference that he and his staff would be checking out some Pennsylvania high school football playoff action, and there's plenty of potential prospects still to be seen. The PIAA rundown starts in A competition, where 2014 offensive lineman James McHale and his Dunmore side will square off with District 6 top dog Bellwood-Antis Friday at Central Mountain High. On the flip side, coveted WR Tyler Boyd and Clariton will face off with District 9 champion Port Alleghany in Cheswick, also Friday night. There's numerous Penn State prospects expected to line up in one AAA semifinal, as well, as Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt, headlined by Class of 2013 wide-receiver Brian Lemelle, will take on Eric Cathedral Prep, which boasts linebacker Jake Plonski, who the Nittany Lions have been keeping an eye on as a potential run-on candidate.
As we've been tracking and noting for the last couple of weeks, Penn State will have a big official visit weekend this week, with a number of prospects expected to be in town. The list includes committed prospects as well as uncommitted ones, and includes:
TE Adam Breneman* (Cedar Cliff High, Camp Hill, Pa.), LB Brandon Bell* (Oakcrest High, Mays Landing, N.J.), DL Curtis Cothren* (Council Rock North, Newtown, Pa.), S Kasey Gaines* (Grayson High, Loganville, Ga.), QB Christian Hackenberg* (Fork Union, Fork Union, Va.), OL Tanner Hartman* (Lynchburg Christian Academy, Lynchburg, Va.), LB Zayd Issah (Central Dauphin, Harrisburg, Pa.) OT Brendan Mahon* (Randolph High, Randolph, N.J.), OL Andrew Nelson* (Hershey High, Hershey, Pa.), DB Jordan Smith* (H.D Woodson High, Washington, D.C.), DB Deondre Singleton (Archer High, Lawrenceville, Ga.) and LB Jonathan Walton (Bayside Academy, Daphne, Ala.). *Penn State commits.