Lion's Lounge: Year end wrap-up (Part 1)

Who are the PSU coaches zeroing in on? Which bluechips have we offered? Find out all you need to know about Penn State recruiting in this edition of the Lion's Lounge, the most complete and fun source for Penn State targets on the internet.

At the end of each month, LionNews puts together an up to the minute offers/interests page, tabbed the Lion's Lounge--a place where Penn State fans can come and find out what has transpired with Nittany Lion recruits over the last months.

LionNews' Prospect Key:
* * * * * - Penn State verbal commitment!
     * * * * - Penn State leads or co-leads.
          * * * - Penn State is very much in the picture.
               * * - Penn State is barely in the picture.
                    * - Prospect choose other than Penn State.
                    - Penn State has not currently offered.
                     - Incomplete information exists.

Commitments: Scholarship Breakdown
Currently it is unclear how many athletes Penn State will sign with its class of 2008--there has been speculation about early enrollers, grey shirts, and fifth year seniors not returning.  Until more information becomes available, it is no more than speculation.

Matt Hahn- Melville, Ny.  (St. Anthony's HS)  6-1, 215
* * * * *
Projected as a running back or fullback, Matt helped lead St. Anthony's to a terrific season.  This season he ran for 2,036 yards and 36 touchdowns.  When Matt committed to Penn State back in February 2003, he kicked off what has been one of the best collection of talents that Penn State has put together.  If Matt does not work out at on the offensive side of the ball, he showed tremendous instincts and skills at linebacker during St. Anthony's championship game on MSG.

2. Greg Harrison- Shenandoah, Pa.  (Shenandoah Valley HS)  6-5, 295
* * * * *
"Once I commit, this is going to be my team.  You're only as good as the [people] you surround yourself with, so I wanted to surround myself with the best athletes possible."
- Greg Harrison said of his recruiting class in an August 1st article by the Daily Collegian

Greg made the Penn State coaching staff and fans thrilled when he gave his verbal commitment to Penn State on the day of the Blue White Game.  He has been doubly important to Penn State's current class--he is a stud offensive lineman and has acted as a sort of liason/recruiter for Penn State.  He rivals Erie lineman Kyle Mitchum as the top trench guy in Pennsylvania, although TheInsiders Midwest evaluator, Chris Pool, ranked Greg as the seventh best player in the entire region.  The 1st Team All-State (A) selection has been projected as a guard on the next level, but could play tackle.

3. Wyatt Bowman- Mechanicsburg, Pa.  (Cumberland Valley HS)  6-6, 315
* * * * *
"The closer we are now, the closer we'll be up there and that's key in a winning football team." - Wyatt Bowman said of his class in a August 1st article by the Daily Collegian

If it weren't for an inch or two and a couple pounds, it would be difficult to make the distinction between Wyatt and Greg Harrison.  Both are stud lineman.  Both committed on the day of the Blue-White Game.  And both have formed a friendship that will be the backbone of this class.  On the field, Wyatt projects as your prototypical tackle, with long arms and great feet.  What separates him from some of the larger offensive lineman Penn State has brought in over the last ten years is his nasty misdemeanor.  Earlier this spring at Penn State's Nike Camp, the coaches who worked with the offensive lineman named him the best lineman at the camp, which led to Wyatt being named Student Sports Nike Football Training Camp All-Americans.

4. Dontey Brown- McKeesport, Pa.  (McKeesport HS)  6-3, 245
* * * * *
"The kid's an animal. He kills people whenever he hits." - A.Q. Shipley on Dontey's playing style

A true middle linebacker, Dontey hails from the same school as former Nittany Lion Brandon Short.  Described by many who see him as tough as nails, Dontey surprised many Pennsylvania observers when he committed to the Nittany Lions back in April over Pitt.  The 1st Team All-State (AAAA) at linebacker led McKeesport with 93 tackles (65 solos) and four sacks.

5. Tony Davis- Warren, Oh.  (Howland HS)  5-11, 180
* * * * *
"Tony has been a true leader for the Howland football program since the very first day he stepped foot in the school. He played a major role in steering our program in a new direction." - Dick Angle

Before committing to Penn State, Tony was not even a blip on the radar of most Ohio high school football watchers.  Davis had a terrific senior season, garnering Trumbell Country Player of the Year and the Associated Press Co-offensive Player of the Year for Ohio's Division II.  Although he'll be a cornerback at Penn State, Tony actually made his mark on offense this season, rushing for 1,818 yards and 17 touchdowns.  Tony choose Penn State over Pittsburgh, Michigan State and Wisconsin.  While Michigan did not offer, the Wolverines continued to flirt with Tony right through the summer months.

6. Spencer Ridenhour- White Plains, Ny.  (White Plains HS)  6-0, 215
* * * * *
Named to Student Sports Nike Football Training Camp All-Americans earlier this summer, Spencer turned everyone's heads with his size, speed, and agility.  A strong safety on defense, you will be hard pressed to find a more imposing looking  player outside of a NFL training camp.  The early knock on Spencer is that he doesn't play against a high level of competition.  Those who have seen him live and in the flesh, know that Spencer will be an enforcer in the Nittany Lion secondary for years to come.

7. A.Q. Shipley- Corapolis, Pa.  (Moon HS)  6-3, 278
* * * * *
"He's going to be tearing through kids if he works hard.  He was lighting kids up up there, left and right." - Greg Harrison on A.Q.'s Michigan State camp performance

A future nose guard at Penn State, A.Q. may be, pound for pound, the strongest player in Pennsylvania.  A.Q. joins the list of Nittany Lions who named to Student Sports Nike Football Training Camp All-Americans.  After a terrific senior year in which he amassed 42 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks, A.Q. was named both 1st Team All-State (AAA) and as a member of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette's "Fab 22."  Because of his work ethic and intense motor, A.Q. could be a major help to a defensive line that struggled mightily in 2003.

8. Jed Hill - Struthers, Oh.  (Struthers HS)  6-4, 247
* * * * *
"He said that (Jed's) a freak of nature.  He's a mammoth.  There's no body fat on him.  He's just something else." - Coach Gary Zetts recounting Nebraska defensive coordinator Bo Pelini's comments

Jed fills at least part of Penn State's dire need for a tight end in this class.  A true unknown coming into the summer, Jed received the only offer he really wanted during Penn State's summer camp.  After missing nearly his entire junior year, Jed posted a very good senior year.

9. Mike Lucian- Frederick, Md.  (Linganore HS)  6-3, 255
* * * * *
A versatile big man, Mike projects for a couple different positions on the college level.  He plays tight end in high school, but Mike could get a look at defensive end, defensive tackle, or offense line in college;  he's hoping he gets a shot somewhere on the defensive line.  His position is contingent on his physical maturation over the next year (his dad is 6'6'' or 6'7'') and Mike is just 16 years old.  TheInsiders Atlantic Region analyst ranks Mike as the number twelve player in Maryland next year.

10. Dan Lawlor- Mechanicsburg, Pa.  (Cumberland Valley HS)  6-3, 235
* * * * *

A well rounded fullback, Dan's coach compares him favorably to former CVHS star Jon Ritchie.  It appeared that Dan was leaning toward Notre Dame during the early period of his recruitment, but with teammate Wyatt Bowman extolling the virtues of Penn State on a daily basis, Dan couldn't help but see the light of day.  With Sean McHugh and Paul Jefferson (unless he redshirts) on the roster, Dan could be a prime candidate for very early playing time.  After a terrific junior year, Dan made 2nd Team All-State (AAAA) linebacker despite putting up big numbers from his fullback position.

11. Austin Hinton- Secaucus, Nj.  (Secaucus HS)  6-4, 280
* * * * *
Austin's name first surfaced when Tom Lemming named him as the  preseason#13 overall tackle.  While the Lemster may not be the recruiting god that he perceives himself to be, he did recognize Austin's quickness and tremendous footwork.  Austin gives Penn State another agile offensive lineman, most likely beginning his career at guard.  LionNews' MarshCreek talked with a coach who worked with Austin at Penn State camp and he said that Hinton is a very athletic, but raw offensive lineman.  After a redshirt year, Austin should be ready to block for another Austin.

12. Mark Rubin- Amherst, Ny.  (Amherst HS)  6-4, 210
* * * * *
"Coach (Dick) Anderson said that I reminded him of Joe Jurevicus.  That's great to be mentioned with a great receiver like that." - Mark, explaining Penn State's offensive line coach's comments

Mark did not have any major D1 offers (just MAC cellar dweller Buffalo) heading into summer camp season.  In a short time period, Rubin wowed the coaches at Boston College, Syracuse, and Penn State enough that each coaching staff offered him a scholarship.  Mark, a long time Penn State fan, decided to jump on the Nittany Lions' offer almost immediately, despite keeping it a secret until he could tell Syracuse.  A tall receiver, Mark has lowered his 40 yard speed from the 4.6 range last season, down to the 4.45 area now.  During his senior season, Mark set or broke (more like shattered) many of the receiving records of western New York state.  Some more skeptical "fans" may be calling Mark a stretch, but for someone who has not focused his complete attention on football yet, his future looks very bright.  

13. Trent Varva- Lake Orion, Mi.  (Lake Orion HS)  6-3, 300
* * * * *
"He's a mauler.  He's got the size, speed, and strength and he uses it.  There's no messing around." - Lake Orion HS coach Chris Bell on Trent

While Trent's critics say he may have maxed out his potential, especially compared to teammate and Michigan commit, Will Johnson, he's a great get for the Nittany Lions.  If you have seen film of both Will and Trent, you'll why the coaching staff is thoroughly excited about this youngster.  Another quick and tough lineman, Trent brings versatility to the line--he can play center or guard for the Nittany Lions.  Trent had a terrific senior season, which propelled him to the prestigious Detroit Free Press Dream Team.

14. Rich Ohrnberger- East Meadow, Ny.  (East Meadow HS)  6-3, 275
* * * * *
"Coach Anderson said to me, when he was watching him move and watching him do the things he was asking him to do, he kept seeing Mike Munchak." - East Meadow HS coach Vinny Macia

A candidate to play either offensive line or defensive line, Rich was an unknown heading into this year because he only weighed in the ballpark of 220 pounds.  After adding 55 pounds through hard work and maturation, Rich was able to keep his 4.9 speed despite the additional weight.  Although Rich had offers from Syracuse and Boston College, he jumped at the Penn State offer. He helped East Meadow HS rebound from a series of poor records, allowing him the chance to play in the Nassau Country All-Star game in which he amassed 18 pancake blocks.  He also was named the top lineman in Nassau County (Martone Award) and top player in Nassau County (Thorpe Award), becoming only the third lineman to win the award.

15. Josh Gaines- Fort Wayne, In.  (Northrup HS)  6-3, 255
* * * * *
"There aren't too many kids at 260 pounds who can do what he can do athletically." - Northrup HS coach Matt Stinson on Josh from Fort Wayne's The News-Sentinal

Talk about a perfect example of "mother knows best," Josh admitted to LionNews that his mom wanted him to go to Penn State while his dad favors Michigan State.  Josh's commitment came as a bit of a surprise, but after visiting Penn State his whole family fell in love with what the Nittany Lions could offer him.  A jumbo athlete, Josh can play multiple positions but defensive end seems to be his likely final destination.  Josh was named 5A Defensive Player of the Year in Indiana this season.

16. Dan Connor- Wallingford, Pa.  (Strath Haven HS)  6-3, 215
* * * * *
"He's the best all-around (high school) football player I've ever seen.  Aside from his physical capabilities, the man--he's not a boy--never gets tired. In big games, he takes over. On both sides of the ball, he can absolutely dominate a game." - Upper Darby coach, Rich Gentille, on Dan in the Delco Times

The best linebacker to come from Pennsylvania in a long time (maybe since Lavar Arrington), Dan chose the Nittany Lions earlier this year over Notre Dame and Michigan.  Dan has been on D1 radars since early in his career, helping lead Strath Haven HS to three straight Pennsylvania AAA Championship games.  Although Strath Haven fell short this season, falling to Manheim Central, Dan still had a terrific senior year--so good he was named AAA Player of the Year.  An athletic linebacker with tremendous aggressiveness, Dan plays like the son of a coach, exhibiting text book fundamentals.  Dan steps into a great situation at linebacker for Penn State with six 'backers graduating in the next two seasons.  Dan is poised for early playing in the Blue and White.

17. Gerald Cadogen- Portsmouth, Oh.  (Portsmouth HS)  6-7, 310
* * * * *
"Gerald had a great year. He really cam along. I was a college offensive lineman and ended up in a few pro training camps so I know line play. This is a special one." - Portsmouth HS coach Curt Clifford

A model left tackle, Gerald choose Penn State over Michigan, Northwestern, and Boston College in early August.  Although he visited Ohio State for the Buckeyes clash with Purdue, Gerald is firmly committed to the Nittany Lions.  Gerald was named 1st Team All-State after his senior season.

18. Tyrell Sales- Butler, Pa.  (Butler HS)  6-3, 231
* * * * *
Despite playing for a very underachieving Butler HS squad, Tyrell had a very good senior season, racking up 96 tackles, 11 for a loss, four sacks, causing four fumbles and two interceptions in 2003.  Although he did not make any post season team or award, Tyrell still seems poised for a nice college career.  Many observers who have seen him play, rave about his athletic ability, but insist he just needs a bit of refinement to become a dominant player.  Tyrell, who is also having a terrific senior basketball campaign, choose Penn State over Pittsburgh, Ohio State, and Virginia.

19. Kevin Suhey- State College, Pa.  (State College HS)  6-2, 195
* * * * *
"I've been a big Penn State fan since I was little, so it's always been a dream to play up there.  I can see the (Beaver Stadium) from outside of my bedroom window.  I go to bed every night looking at it." - Kevin stated in his December 7th LionNews update

Grandson, son, and nephew of former Penn State greats, Kevin has Nittany Lion blue in his blood.  A good athlete, Kevin lead State College HS to within one game of the PIAA Quad-A Championship game.  Currently, Kevin's future remains a bit clouded.  It's a definite he will be a Nittany Lion, but will Kevin greyshirt (enrolling in January 2005) or will he join the squad in the summer?  Also, despite being known as a high school quarterback, Kevin could also play safety at the next level.  Either way, Penn State picked up a great athlete and leader, poised to bring Penn State back to the days of its dominance.

20. Paul Ciancolo- Fort Dorchester, Sc.  (Fort Dorchester HS)  6-5, 228
* * * * *
Penn State's first true quarterback commit since Chris Ganter, Paul was a virtual unknown until putting together a stellar senior season.  Paul threw for over 3,100 yards and 30 touchdowns.  Although he declines to name his other two scholarship offers, Paul garnered a lot of interest from large schools since the beginning of his senior season.  Despite being considered a prototypical drop-back passer, Paul has enough athleticsm to move to tight end if warranted.  Paul has a brother at the Air Force Academy and his father is an Air Force pilot.

more to come........

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