PSU Future Focus: 2015 QBs & RBs

It is never too early to start looking ahead in the recruiting process. So we're giving the lowdown on Penn State's targets in the crop of high school juniors-to-be. In this installment, we zero in on the offense.

NCAA sanctions limit the number of prospects Penn State can take in its Class of 2014. The Nittany Lions have 15 spots open, and may be able to count a couple of early enrollees to their Class of 2013.

With 13 commitment already in the fold, PSU has actually had to turn away some strong prospects it might have taken if it had a full complement of 25 slots open.

If there is positive out of the restictions, it is that with so much of the work already done for the Class of 2014, Bill O'Brien and his staff have been able to devote a significant amount of time to the Class of 2015 (and even beyond).

With that in mind, we decided to let you know where Penn State stands with a host of juniors-to-be following the summer camp season. In our first installment, we break down the quarterbacks and running backs.


Committed: None
Expected 2015 Roster: Christian Hackenberg, Tyler Ferguson, Michael O'Connor

Names to Watch: An offer has not been extended yet to a junior-to-be signal caller, and like the 2014 class, you can expect for it to stay that way for a while. Both O'Brien and quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher have shown their interest in seeing plenty of film, plus in-person evaluations, before extending an offer.

Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) 6-foot-2, 205-pound QB Nick John put on a strong showing at the June 8 Advanced Skills Camp, and St. Peters Prep (Jersey City, N.J.) QB Brandin Wimbush, who already claims four offers, set the tone at the Lions' first camp of the summer. As always, I'd expect a quarterback or two to pop up as new season film becomes available.

Numbers Game: Will Penn State continue its trend of taking a quarterback in each class? It's possible, especially with Ferguson's situation in flux this summer, and, fairly or unfairly, State's recent track record of keeping quarterbacks in the stable. Staying consistent, it will be one or none in this cycle.

Looking Beyond: Though State has shown the aforementioned mindset of waiting to see plenty of a signal caller before offering, but two already comes to mind for the class of 2016 after strong camp showings. One is Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.) QB Jarrett Guarantano, the other Council Rock North (Newtown, Pa.) hurler Brandon McIlwain. Both stood out at the June 8 ASC, and are names to keep in mind for (way) down the road.

Committed: None
Expected 2015 roster: Akeel Lynch, Nick Scott, Mark Allen

Names to Watch: A few Southern players claim Lion offers already, but with all three appearing unlikely to travel north at any point in their recruitment, the name to watch early on is that of Bishop McDevitt (Harrisburg, Pa.) burner Andre Robinson. With five offers already — including one from PSU — he told Cuse Nation that Penn State, along with Pittsburgh, were "coming at me the hardest" in June.

Outside of offered prospects, a few backs circulated their names during the camp cycle. One is St. Edward High (Lakewood, Ohio) 6-1, 200-pound bruiser Andrew Dowell. Lincoln (N.J.) speedster Devell Jones also told Fight On State he talked to the Lions staff during a camp, and another Gonzaga prospect, 5-10, 175-pound back Reggie Corbin, is another name we are watching after a good camp performance.

Numbers Game: Expect Penn State to try to carry at least four scholarship backs while dealing with the NCAA limits. That means the Lions will like land at least one in this class, ideally a bigger, between-the-tackles type.

Looking Beyond: With State still poking around at what the class of 2015 has to offer at the position, a few running backs are already claiming interest from the Lions. We're interested to watch what sophomore-to-be Lorenzo Harrison does at DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) before Allen returns to the gridiron, while Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville, Fla.) back Jalin Buie makes our list because he's already claiming a State offer, per an assistant at the school.

Next time, we tackle the receivers and tight ends.

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