Lion's Lounge: Year end wrap-up (Part 2)

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.
Quarterback:  Scholarship Breakdown
With no quarterback having been signed for two consecutive years, Penn State made it a priority to get at least one quarterback this year--a certain you know who.  But after getting spurned again by the process of putting all the eggs in one's basket, the Nittany Lions coaches searched high and low and may sign as many as three quarterbacks.

Daryll Clark- Youngstown, Oh.  (Ursuline HS)  6-2, 195
* * * *
Daryll (not Darryl) visited Penn State during the week of December 5th with the entire body of Nittany Lion verbals.  He admitted that he nearly committed to Penn State on that visit.  Daryll continues to list Penn State as his favorite school but he still plans on making visits to Nebraska and West Virginia.  A terrific run/pass combination quarterback, Daryll fits the mold of what the Penn State coaches have been doing with their quarterbacks in recent years.
JsT's pick: Penn State
SCurry's pick: Penn State

Jordan Lyons- Atlanta, Ga.  (Woodward Academy)  6-5, 225
* * * *
A tremendous athlete, Jordan has had schools recruit him as a quarterback, wide receiver, and tight end this year.  But throughout the process, Jordan has maintained he only wants to be a signal caller, spurning hometown Georgia in the process. This season for Woodward Academy, Jordan threw for over 1,400 yards and ran for over 1,000 yards.  He was originally scheduled to visit Penn State on December 5th on Nittany Lion verbal weekend, but a wicked snow storm allowed him only to get as far as Philadelphia.  He has since rescheduled his official to Happy Valley for January 16th.  Right now, Penn State appears to be Jordan's leader because he did not enjoy his visit to Michigan State; Maryland has a verbal from Jordan Steffy; Stanford did not admit him; and Georgia and North Carolina both want him as a tight end.  Notre Dame may offer, which could lead Jordan to visit there.  Stay tuned on this interesting situation.
JsT's pick: Penn State
SCurry's pick: Penn State

Danny Southwick- Saint George, Ut.  (Dixie State Junior College)  6-2, 210

The step-son of CNN broadcaster Larry King, Danny flirted with the possibility of taking an official visit to Penn State with his teammate and friend, Travis Brown (see below).  Travis, who recently verballed to BYU, has said that he expects Danny to stay at Dixie State one more year and then join him as a Cougar.

Adam DiMichelle- McKees Rocks, Pa.  (Sto-Rox HS)  6-1, 175

Although Adam may be a bit smallish for a D1 quarterback, his heart and athleticism are nearly immeasurable.  This year he became the WPIAL's all-time leading quarterback, finishing his career with 6,741 yards.  A three sport athlete (football, baseball, and basketball), he has stated that if Penn State offers, he would go to college rather than pursue a Major League Baseball career.  He is expected to be a high pick in the summer.  Adam will visit Penn State on January 17th.
JsT's pick: Major League Baseball
SCurry's pick: walk on at Penn State

others:
Bush Hamdan- Arlington, Va.  (Bishop Denis J. O'Connell HS)  6-1, 200
* Chad Henne- West Lawn, Pa.  (Wilson HS)  6-4, 210 [verbal - Michigan]
Bryan Savage- Haverford, Pa.  (The Haverford School)  6-4, 210 [verbal - Wisconsin]
* Jordan Steffy- Enola, Pa.  (Conestoga Valley HS)  6-2, 200  [verbal - Maryland]
Mike Teel- Ramsey, Nj.  (Don Bosco Prep)  6-3, 205 [verbal - Rutgers]
Anthony Turner - Dayton, Oh.  (Chaminade-Julienne HS)  6-3, 205  [verbal - Bowling Green]

Running Back:  Scholarship Breakdown
By bringing in three freshman tailbacks last year, Penn State did not recruit anyone heavily for this position.  Expect Penn State to make a heavy push for North Babylon HS junior runningback Jason Gwaltney.
 
others:
Kaysonne Anderson- Manasquan, Nj.  (Manasquan HS)  5-11, 185
* Thomas Brown- Tucker, Ga.  (Tucker HS)  5-10, 185 [verbal - Georgia]
Jean Beljour- Hackensack, Nj.  (Hackensack HS)  6-0, 195, 4.5
Anthony Heygood- Springfield, Pa. (Cardinal O'Hara HS)  6-1, 210
* Brandon Ore- Chesapeake, Va.  (Indian River HS)  6-1, 195
(FB) Chris Pressley- Woodbury, Nj.  (Woodbury HS)  6-1, 255
(FB) Tom Walls- West Deptford, Nj.  (West Deptford HS)  6-2, 240  [verbal - Boston College]

Wide Receiver:  Scholarship Breakdown
With Maurice Humphrey's arrest and subsequent expulsion from Penn State and Ernie Terrell's rumored move to the track team, the depth at wide receiver just got much thinner.  Even before its weeding, the position (as a whole) struggled mightily in 2003.  Donnie Johnson and Humphrey were switched after others proved they could not compete on a Big Ten level.

Travis Brown- Saint George, Ut.  (Dixie State Junior College)  5-10, 180  [verbal - Brigham Young]
* * *
Teammate of Danny Southwick, Travis will be one of the first junior college players to visit Penn State in recent memory.
Earlier this week he announced his commitment to BYU, but he should only be classified as a soft verbal because he still plans on visiting both Utah (Jan 9th) and Penn State (Jan 16th).

Devon Lyons- Pittsburgh, Pa.  (Woodland Hills HS)  6-2, 205
* *
Another in a long line of 1st Team All-State (AAAA) players from Woodland Hills HS that has flirted with the Nittany Lions (see Steve Breaston and Ryan Mundy).  Devon looked slim during the Nike Camp, but packed on the weight during the summer months and it really improved his stock among colleges.  The Nittany Lions may still get a visit if Tom Bradley can work his magic, but right now it appears to be a Notre Dame, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Miami (Fl) battle.
JsT's pick: Miami (Fl)
SCurry's pick: Ohio State

Derrick McPhearson- Hyattsville, Md.  (DeMatha HS)  6-1, 195
* * *
A recent addition to the Penn State recruiting list, Derrick opened up his recruitment after giving an initial commitment to Maryland.  TheInsiders #9 wide receiver in the country, Derrick brings big play ability any time he steps on the field.  Derrick's brother attends the University of Maryland and the Terps seem like the odds on favorite to sign him.  Under the supervision of Larry Johnson, Penn State has put a full court press on D-Mac, but the family connections and strength of Maryland's criminal justice program could be to difficult to overcome.
JsT's pick: Penn State
SCurry's pick: Maryland

others:
* Brandon Barrett- Martinsburg, Wv.  (Martinsburg HS)  6-1, 180  [verbal - West Virginia]
Michael Bell- Shaker Heights, Oh.  (Shaker Heights HS)  6-1, 180 [verbal - Michigan State]
* Fred Davis- Toledo, Oh.  (Rogers HS)  6-4, 210
* Doug Dutch- Washington, Dc.  (Gonzaga HS)  6-0, 200
* Chris Ogbonnaya- Houston, Tx.  (Strake Jesuit HS)  6-1, 200 [verbal - Texas]

Tight End:  Scholarship Breakdown
With three former walk-on seniors manning the position, the Nittany Lions have made it a priority to address this position.  Jed Hill is the only true tight end the staff has recruited, although Mike Lucian can fill in.

Doug Fife- McMurray, Pa.  (Peters Township HS)  6-5, 240

A former verbal of Akron, Doug visited to Penn State earlier this month, when the whole of Penn State commitments all made their official visits.  Doug added weight and strength during the summer between his senior and junior years, propelling him from a low to mid level Division 1 recruit.  Although Doug has not yet been offered, Penn State seems quite interested.  It seems right now Doug may get caught in a numbers game.
JsT's pick: Penn State
SCurry's pick: Penn State

Austin Gunder- Red Lion, Pa.  (Red Lion HS)  6-5, 240

Currently, Austin lists Stanford and Louisville as his two main schools, with the Cardinal leading the Cardinals.  He has, however, left the door open for the Nittany Lions in case they wanted to offer him a scholarship.
JsT's pick: Stanford
SCurry's pick: Stanford

others:
* Jason Chapman- Bedford, Oh.  (Bedford HS)  6-4, 240 [verbal - Wisconsin]
* Chad Hoobler- Carrollton, Oh.  (Carrollton HS)  6-4, 220 [verbal - Ohio State]
Craig McGovern- Princeton, Nj.  (The Hun School)  6-5, 235 [verbal - Michigan State]
* Rory Nicol- Beaver, Pa.  (Beaver HS)  6-5, 245 [verbal - Ohio State]
Ryan Purvis- Lancaster, Pa.  (Lancaster Catholic HS)  6-5, 235 [verbal - Boston College]

Offensive Line:  Scholarship Breakdown
Penn State has verbals from five offensive lineman in this class and appears done unless a blue-chip changes his mind and begs the staff to be a Nittany Lion.

others:
* Nyere Aumaitre- Camden, Nj.  (Woodrow Wilson HS)  6-5, 310  (Iowa, Nebraska)
* Ell Ash- Willingboro, Nj.  (Willingboro HS)  6-6, 275  (Tenn, Ncsu, Unc)
Craig Bokor- Aliquippa, Pa.  (Hopewell HS)  6-4, 275 [verbal - Pittsburgh]
* Brandon Braxton- Youngstown, Oh.  (Ursuline HS)  6-7, 305  (UGa, Lsu, Ou, Mia)
Scott Burley- Baltimore, Md.  (Woodlawn HS)  6-5, 325 [verbal - Maryland]
Ryan Ehrie- Bethleham, Pa.  (Freedom HS)  6-7, 285 [verbal - Syracuse]
Carlos Feliciano - Elizabeth, Nj.  (Elizabeth HS)  6-5, 280
* Alex Fletcher- Melville, Ny.  (St. Anthony's HS)  6-4, 275  [verbal - Stanford]
* Leon Hart- Columbia, Sc.  (Spring Valley HS)  6-5, 285  (Aub, SCar, tOsu, UVa)
Ben Iannachione- Pittsburgh, Pa.  (Baldwin HS)  6-4, 285 [verbal - West Virginia]
Jim Jadron- Joliet, Il.  (Joliet Catholic Academy)  6-5, 280  (Col, Ill)
* Kyle Mitchum- Erie, Pa.  (McDowell HS)  6-5, 265  (Iowa, Mich, UVa, tOsu)
* Steve Rehring- West Chester, Oh.  (Lakota West HS)  6-8, 320 [verbal - Ohio State]
Jon Skinner- Mount Carmel, Pa.  (Mount Carmel HS)  6-6, 270 [verbal - Ohio State]
Nick Smith- Canton, Oh.  (Glen Oak HS)  6-6, 285  (Pitt)
Jaimie Thomas- Harrisburg, Pa.  (Bishop McDevitt HS)  6-4, 320  (ND, UMd)
Phil Trautwein- Voorhees, Nj.  (Eastern HS)  6-6, 285

Defensive Line:  Scholarship Breakdown
In two years, under the tutelage of Larry Johnson, Sr., Penn State could have the top defensive line in America.  With young players at each position, the Nittany Lions need to add depth, specifically at tackle, so they won't get pushed around next year. The additions of A.Q. Shipley and Mike Lucian have addressed those needs quite well.  Ohrnberger can also play defense.  The loss of fifth year seniors Sam Ruhe (gave up football) and Jeremiah Davis (concussions) has lead the Nittany Lions to look for at least one more defensive end.

Jason Goode- Woodlawn, Md.  (Woodlawn HS)  6-4, 230
   
LionNews does not have enough information about Jason at this time, but we hope to have an update in the future.

Dwayne Hendricks- Millville, Nj.  (Millville HS)  6-4, 255
* * *
Dwayne, a defensive end and defensive tackle, is a disruptive combination of speed and strength.  He is a relatively new name when discussing Penn State recruiting targets, but after a visit by Joe Paterno to his high school, Dwayne may now visit us during January.  Dwayne was named as the #4 player on TheInsiders Atlantic Hot 100 and #35 player on TheInsiders Hot 100.  He has previously taken visits to Michigan (10/24), Iowa (11/14), and Virginia (11/28).  Long believed to be his leader, Dwayne travels to Miami (Fl.) on January 16th.
JsT's pick: Penn State
SCurry's pick: Iowa

Elijah Robinson- Camden, Nj.  (Wilson HS)  6-3, 300
* * * *
Elijah came down to Penn State and Tulane last season, choosing to sign with the Green Wave and his friend, Preston Brown.  But when he reached New Orleans, Elijah did not have a qualifying SAT score.  He came home to New Jersey and worked out his academics and body, scoring a 920 SAT and packing on thirty-five pounds, respectively.  He will be eligible to enroll in January, meaning he will be good to go for spring ball.  He will choose between Penn State and Purdue any day now.
JsT's pick: Penn State
SCurry's pick: Penn State

others:
* Shukree Barfield- Camden, Nj.  (Camden HS)  6-4, 285 [verbal - Clemson]
* Demonte Bolden- Chattanooga, Tn.  (Tyner HS)  6-4, 295  [verbal - Tennessee]
George Covington- Greenbelt, Md.  (Roosevelt HS)  6-3, 230
* Olu Hall- Fairfax, Va.  (Robinson Secondary HS)  6-4, 240, 4.8  (Vt, UVa)
*   Marquee Hall- Marshville, Nc.  (Forest Hills HS)  6-5, 305  (UNC, Ncsu, Tenn)
Brigham Harwell- Hacienda Heights, Ca.  (Los Altos HS)  6-3, 250 [verbal - Ucla]
* Will Johnson- Lake Orion, Mi.  (Lake Orion HS)  6-5, 278 [verbal - Michigan]
Lawrence Miles- La Quinta, Ca.  (La Quinta HS)  6-3, 260  [verbal - USC]
* Dane Randolph- Wilde Lake, Md.  (Wilde Lake HS)  6-4, 245 [verbal - Maryland]
* Chris Rogers- Wexford, Pa.  (North Alleghany HS)  6-3, 240 [verbal - Michigan]
Nhemie Theodore- Irvington, Nj.  (Irvington HS)  6-4, 285  (Minn, Rutg)

Linebacker:  Scholarship Breakdown
With the top linebacker group in the country (Connor, Brown, and Sales), Penn State may look for one more linebacker because 5th year seniors T.C. Cosby, Jimi Mitchell, and Tim Johnson all seem unlikely to return.

Kevin Grant- Herndon, Va.  (Herndon HS)  6-2, 235

Washington-Post All-Met selection at linebacker, the Northern Virginia Player of the Year recorded 77 solo tackles and assisted on another 66 (I don't know about you, but that's a lot of @&%#$ tackles!).  According to an article by Roanoke Times columnist Doug Doughty, Kevin maintains a 3.5 GPA and scored over a 1,000 on his SAT.  He has taken one official visit to William & Mary, but Penn State, Wake Forest, Boston College, and a host of other schools are interested.
JsT's pick: not enough information
SCurry's pick: not enough information

Brian Toal- Ramsey, Nj.  (Don Bosco Prep)  6-2, 228
* *
The top player in New Jersey, Brian could be an All-American linebacker or runningback on the next level.  Most recruiting gurus feel Brian will end up at one of two places--Boston College or Miami, Fl.  Greg Toal, Brian's older brother, just finished up his senior season at fullback for the Eagles.  Will that push him toward the Beantown?  Probably not alone, especially with the sights and sounds of South Beach still dancing in Brian's head--he visited Miami, Fl. during the weekend of December 19th.  Brian claims he may still take visits to Tennessee, Penn State, Notre Dame, or Virginia Tech, but those visits will be have to be spectacular to push out one of his two leaders.
JsT's pick: Miami (Fl)
SCurry's pick: Boston College

Brian Tracz- Philadelphia, Pa.  (St. Joseph's Prep)  6-2, 235

A 1st Team All-State (AAAA), Brian looks just like your prototypical middle linebacker should--ugly and nasty.  Currently, Brian only has offers from Big Ten rivals Indiana and Minnesota, but Kentucky, Boston College, West Virginia, and Penn State have all recently been in contact.
JsT's pick: Indiana
SCurry's pick: Minnesota

others:
Roger Allison- Lake Orion, Mi.  (Lake Orion HS)  6-2, 230 [verbal - Michigan]
Eric Andino- Buffalo Grove, Il.  (Buffalo Grove HS)  6-4, 220 [verbal - Michigan State]
Devonta Brown- Charlottesville, Va.  (Charlottesville HS)  6-2, 235  [verbal - Virginia]
Sam Carson- Downers Grove, Il.  (Downers Grove South HS)  6-2, 225  [verbal - Illinois]
Mark Hicks- Baltimore, Md.  (Edmondson-Westside HS)  6-1, 225  (Maryland)
* J.J. Justice- Norwich, Ct.  (Norwich Free Academy HS)  6-1, 215 [verbal - Maryland]
Scott McKillop- Vandergrift, Pa.  (Kiski Area HS)  6-2, 215 [verbal - Pittsburgh]
Chris Patterson- Chicago, Il.  (Hubbard HS)  6-3, 225  [verbal - Oklahoma]
Vernon Wilder- Miami, Fl.  (Carol City HS)  6-0, 235  
* Kyle Williams- Bolingbrook, Il.  (Bolingbrook HS)  6-2, 220  [verbal - Iowa]

Defensive Back:  Scholarship Breakdown
By moving Maurice Humphrey from corner to wide receiver, Penn State made a thin position even thinner.  Penn State has already gained a verbal from Tony Davis and hopes to nab at least two more corner commits.  If 2003 signee Jonathan Jackson is cleared to play football by the doctors, he will add depth also.  Safety is not much of a concern.  The Penn State coaches feel comfortable enough to potentially move Calvin Lowry to wide receiver and Donnie Johnson to free safety.  Ridenhour is a stud.

Dominic Berger- Hyattsville, Md.  (DeMatha HS)  5-11, 180

A teammate of Penn State recruit Derrick McPhearson, Dominic Berger has also seized the attention of the Nittany Lions. According to an observer of Maryland athletics, Dominic could really be a steal for the college that signs him, ranking up there with Andre Jones (Boston College), Quentin Brown (Syracuse) and Christian Varner (Maryland), all Washington-Post All-Met selections.  LionNews will continue to attempt to contact Dominic for a future story.
JsT's pick: Penn State
SCurry's pick: not enough information

Deon Butler- Woodbridge, Va.  (Hylton HS)  6-1, 165

Called "Sleeper of the Year" by the Roanoke Times columnist Doug Doughty, Deon could add to a team at either wide receiver or defensive back.  Another Washington-Post All-Met selection, Deon made the team as a specialty player, but during the season he caught 42 passes for 1,001 yards and 14 touchdowns.  On defense, Deon intercepted 8 passes taking 3 back for scores.  Right now, Deon has received late interest from Maryland, Wake Forest, Ohio and D1-AA Georgetown.  He has not yet received a Nittany Lion offer, but Deon will visit State College on January 16th.
JsT's pick: Penn State
SCurry's pick: Penn State

D.J. Davis- Fort Worth, Tx.  (Dunbar HS)  6-1, 180
* * *
One of the most interesting recruiting stories of the year, D.J. has an intense interest in Penn State in one update but a fading one in the next.  His roller coaster ride has been consistent all year.  Now Penn State has made his final three along with hometown favorite Texas A&M and surprise pick Missouri.  Despite playing for a losing team, D.J. recorded 58 tackles this season.  D.J. will play in this weekend's U.S. Army All-American game and plans to announce his final choice at half-time of the game.
JsT's pick: Texas A&M
SCurry's pick: Missouri

Leo Ferrine- East Orange, Nj.  (St. Peter's HS)  6-0, 180
* * *
Leo, the cousin of Nittany Lion safety coach Brian Norwood, has a written offer from Penn State.  Although he admitted that in a perfect world, he would go to a school in a warm weather climate, Leo has offers from Rutgers, Penn State, Georgia Tech, Virginia, and Virginia Tech.  A transfer to St. Peter's from Bishop Francis, Leo was recently named one of the 2003 Tri-State All-Stars with the likes of Brian Toal, Matt Hahn, and Dwayne Jarrett.  He really improved this season, showcasing his talents against some of the toughest teams in New Jersey.  He will visit Penn State on January 17th.
JsT's pick: Rutgers
SCurry's pick: Penn State

others:
Kevin Akins- Lansdale, Pa.  (North Penn HS)  6-2, 180 [verbal - Boston College]
* Ted Ginn- Cleveland, Oh.  (Grenville HS)  6-1, 170  (tOsu, Mich, USC)
  Donta Herrod- Washington, Dc.  (Woodson HS)  6-2, 180
Mortty Ivy- Monroeville, Pa.  (Gateway HS)  6-2, 200 [verbal - West Virginia]
* Darelle Revis- Aliquippa, Pa.  (Aliquippa HS)  6-0, 180 [verbal - Pittsburgh]
* Purnell Sturdivant- Norfolk, Va.  (Lake Taylor HS)  5-11, 210  (VT)
* Christian Varner- Randallstown, Md.  (Randallstown HS)  5-11, 180  [verbal - Maryland]
* Anthony Vernaglia- Orange, Ca.  (Lutheran HS)  6-3, 215  [verbal - Notre Dame]
* Brandon Underwood- Hamilton, Oh.  (Hamilton HS)  6-1, 170 [verbal - Ohio State]

Specialists: Scholarship Breakdown
Penn State will probably not take a scholarship kicker this season.  Jeremy Kapinos will be just a redshirt freshman, while Robbie Gould is a junior.  The Nittany Lions may take a walk-on specialist with the intentions of giving him a scholarship somewhere down the road.

Gerry McGroarty- Wilkes-Barre, Pa.  (Bishop Hoban HS)  6-1, 180

The 1st Team All-State (AA) kicker, Gerry still maintains contact with Penn State, although the Nittany Lions have not offered him yet.  Many became familiar with McGroarty after he nailed a 64 yarder earlier this season.  Buffalo remains his only offer.

others:
Chris Gould- Lock Haven, Pa.  (Central Mountain HS)  5-11, 180  [verbal - Virginia]

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