The Lion's Lounge: June (Part 1 - Offense)

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.

LLPost At the end of each month staring in June, 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.

Although the Class of 2004 filled most of Penn State needs (including linebackers and lineman), the Class of 2005 will be critical for the Nittany Lions to target skill players (mainly wide receivers and corners).  Today's Lounge will take a look at the offensive side of the ball.  One thing that Penn State must practice over the coming months is patience.  From all indication, Penn State is involved with some really quality players.  Quality players don't always make the earliest decisions, so a lack of early verbals does not indicate the staff (seemingly invigorated with the enthusiasm of Mike McQuery) is not working their butt's off to bring in a great haul and get the talent level even with the Michigan's, Usc's, and Miami's of this world.

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.
                    * - Penn State has offered but is not involved.
                    - Penn State has not currently offered.
                     - does not have enough information.

With two freshman (Anthony Morelli and Paul Cianciolo) coming in this season and Daryll Clark probably prepping at Kiski Prep, it is highly unlikely for the Nittany Lions to recruit a quarterback.  

Greg Boone- Chesapeake, Va.  (Oscar Smith HS)  6-4, 265
* *
Although Boone wants to be a quarterback in college, outside of the pleasantly plump ex-Kentucky quarterback Jarod Lorenzen, not many schools are looking for a 265 lb signal caller.  Despite his size, Greg is quite agile and according to his coach he has a gun, but right now college recruiters project him to play tight end, linebacker, or even defensive end.  It would seem that the Virginia Tech Hoakies have the inside position for Greg, but don't count out Maryland, who could use the old "you'll be a quarterback until you get to fall camp so you can't decommit" mind trick.

Bobby Rome- Norfolk, Va.  (Granby HS)  6-1, 205

Bobby hails from a Penn State friendly school in Virginia that has sent both Anthony King and Levi Brown up north in recent years.  A very athletic, but not tall quarterback--he's probably more like 5'11'' than 6'1'', he could play QB or potentially safety in college.  He has stated that Penn State has verbally offered him a scholarship, but unless it is written down, we don't count it (see Mazzie Drummond for you recruiting fans with good memories).   What makes Rome even more attractive is that he has a stud wide receiver teammate, named Chris Bell (6-3, 190), who's but a junior-to-be. video #1, video #2, video #3

Ike Whittaker- Germantown, Md.  (Northwest HS)  6-4, 205
* *
Another very athletic quarterback, Ike hails from the same school as current Nittany Lion Anwar Phillips.  Although the Nittany Lions do not appear to be active players from Ike, he has mentioned Penn State during past interviews.  It currently looks like a trio of ACC schools--Virginia Tech, Maryland, and Clemson--should be considered his favorites.

others: Nick Worzel- Wayne, Nj.  (Wayne Hills HS)  6-4, 205

going elsewhere Gino DelleDonne- Wilmington, De.  (Salesianum HS)  6-6, 215  [verbal - Duke]

Running Back:
It surprised just about everyone when Long Island tailback Jason Gwaltney verballed to West Virginia a couple months ago.  Is it solid?  Time will tell.  The Nittany Lion coaching staff are very high on Jason.  With Austin Scott, Tony Hunt, Rodney Kinlaw, and probably Matt Hahn at the running back position for the next 3-5 years, Penn State may try to sign at least one RB to add depth.  They could also hold off and make a push for Harrisburg (Bishop McDevitt HS) sophomore sensation LeSean McCoy, who enjoyed Penn State at the Nike Camp.

Mike Davis- Columbia, Sc.  (Columbia HS)  5-10, 210
* * *
A self-described "Eddie George-type" running back, # 2 ranked player in South Carolina has said that his recruiting process is wide open.  Although running back is not a priority for Penn State, Davis would fit nicely into a system which values a strong runner who can hold up to the riggers of the Big Ten slate.  Davis could be a guy that Nittany Lions fans either hear a lot from this fall or falls off the map.  We'll see if the staff makes another strong push into the Palmetto State for another stud. video #1, video #2, video #3, video #4

Mikell Simpson- Harrisburg, Pa.  (Harrisburg HS)  6-1, 195

A quick riser up the Pennsylvania charts, Mikell is another fantastic athlete that wants to play running back in college.  Although the Nittany Lions didn't show him much love in the beginning, a Penn State coach (presumably Brian Norwood) took a real interest in Mikell during the 7-on-7 matchups.  During that scrimmage he went head to head with Gateway HS and claimed to score 4 or 5 touchdowns (though he did not go against King).  Simpson has a very nice list of offers from some big names, but no schools stands out as having the edge.  If the Lions offer him, they could get in the thick of things really quick.
Steve Slaton- Fairless Hills, Pa.  (Conwell-Egan Catholic HS)  5-9.5, 195

Slaton was the top rated skill-player in Eastern Pennsylvania when LionNews published it's first Top 25 list last month.  Steve had a great Nike Camp at Penn State, which confirmed the fact that he is a big-time prospect despite people questioning his level of competition.  The Nittany Lions interest may hinge on the insistence that he be a running back in college, especially because of his height.  He recently stated that Maryland leads for his services (The Fridge must have a hot wife or something, they lead for everybody) but he wants to take some official visits before he pulls the trigger.  It would seem unlikely that Penn State offers unless he concedes that he would play defense or some more highly rated running backs on their board fall through.

others: * Toney Baker- Jamestown, Nc.  (Ragsdale HS)  5-10, 220; Donald Brown, Jr.- Red Bank, Nj.  (Catholic HS)  5-10, 180; Ed Collington- Pittsburgh, Pa.  (Penn Hills HS)  6-0, 205; Connell Davis- Portland, Tx.  (Gregory-Portland HS)  6-3, 210; Ovid Goulbourne- Easton, Pa.  (Easton HS)  6-0, 200; Ryan Greiser*- Perkasie, Pa.  (Pennridge HS)  6-1, 215;  J.R. Hasty- Bellevue, Wa.  (Bellevue HS)  5-10, 200; Mario Henry- Erie, Pa.  (Strong Vincent HS)  6-0, 200; * Elan Lewis- Hampton, Va.  (Phoebus HS)  5-9, 190; Ike Nduka- White Plains, Ny.  (White Plains HS)  5-11, 200; Davon Smart- Hackensack, Nj.  (Hackensack HS)  5-10, 185; Tyrell Sutton- Akron, Oh.  (Hoban HS)  5-9, 185

going elsewhere: * Morgan Green- White Plains, Md.  (Lackey HS)  6-0, 190  [verbal - Maryland]; * Jason Gwaltney- North Babylon, Ny.  (North Babylon HS)  6-0, 235; * Kenny Jefferson*- Hyattsville, Md.  (DeMatha HS)  6-0, 235  [verbal - Virginia Tech]; Kennedy Tinsley- Greensboro, Nc.  (Dudley HS)  6-1, 195  [verbal - North Carolina]

* - indicates fullback

Wide Receiver:
With the recent transfer of Josh Hannum from Penn State there is a gaping hole at its wide receiver position right now.  Any class the Nittany Lion coaches bring in will have to contain at least 3 wide receivers.  With Anthony Morelli, the most publicized throwing quarterback we have signed since Kerry Collins, Penn State needs to sell its future as a passing team.

Kevin Cousins- Richmond, Va.  (Huguenot HS)  6-4, 190
* * * * *
Penn State's first commitment of 2004 came after a great Nike Camp showing.  A very fluid receiver and a legit 6'4'', he was easily up there in the cream of the crop.  Although he plays for Coach McFee, a well-known Penn State supporter (his son played here in the late '90's) and handler of his kids scholarships, Kevin may not be a rock solid verbal just yet.  He took an unofficial visit to Maryland and may take official visits if other schools offer him a scholarship.  But didn't Michigan and others offer?  They may have, but unless we're Coach McFee's mailman, we may never know.  Doesn't matter, the kid will help our ailing wide receiver corp tremendously.

Nyan Boateng- Brooklyn, Ny.  (Lincoln HS)  6-3, 190
* * *
We're in, we're out.  I want to play basketball.  I don't like rural settings, I'm from the city.  Nyan recruitment has gone every which way.  An electric receiver, the true test for Nyan will come when he visits the pastoral landscapes of Happy Valley during an unofficial visit in July.  Born in Brooklyn, Nyan is a self-professed city kid and an unofficial visit to West Virginia didn't go well because there was to much green stuff on the ground and not enough horns honking.  Penn State has made his list of eight possible schools, so we'll have to wait with great anticipation for July and hope that a drought moves in to turn everything brown.

Antonio Bass- Jackson, Mi.  (Jackson HS)  6-2, 185
Penn State chances with Antonio are actual lower than Blutarsky's GPA in "National Lampoon's Animal House."  If he wants to be a wide receiver--bet on the skunk bears from up north.  If he wants to be a quarterback--look no further than Virginia Tech or Syracuse.

David Harvey- Pittsburgh, Pa.  (Penn Hills HS)  6-1, 175
* * * *
Harvey, Anthony Morelli's former favorite pin cushion, has really had an outstanding spring.  Although Penn Hills does not feature a modern attack, David still managed to showcase his skills last fall enough to get him ranked #6 prospect in Pennsylvania.  He's super quick and has great hands.  Like most people in the free world (and a small pocket in communist China), David became enamored with Michigan for a bit.  However, Penn State has now pulled even after David realized Michigan has quite a bit more depth than the Nittany Lions.  Although Penn State has Morelli in their favor, this one is not signed, sealed, and delivered quite yet. video #1, video #2

Darrius Heyward-Bey- Owing Mills, Md.  (McDonough HS)  6-3, 195
* * *
Darrius can best be described using poetic device.  For those stuffy individuals, it might be best said using a simile--'Darrius Heyward-Bey is like a bullet.'  However, those who have seen him play usually state it more directly in metaphor--'#$@%#$@ Darrius is a bullet.'  Potato, potatoe; the kid can run ripping off a 10.4 100 meter time this spring.  Not to mention he has a 40 inch vertical.  Darrius almost seems like a Ernie Terrell clone, who can play football.  Besides Penn State, he has offers from Alabama, Maryland, Virginia, Marshall, Michigan State, and Boston College.

James McDonald- Washington, DC.  (Dunbar HS)  6-3, 195
* * * *
Although James may not be your classic burner according to Internet standards (where everyone runs a 4.4 or lower), he is another tall, fluid wide receiver who the Nittany Lions have targeted to reclaim their passing attack.  He was impressive at the Nike Camp at Penn State, despite just coming off minor surgery.  Despite not being mentioned by a rival[s] recruiting analyst (who likes high white socks, Shirley Temple's, and long walks on the beach) in a recent article, Penn State still has an excellent shot at James.  They have been on him since the beginning and should be a player right up to the end. video

Clarence Megwa- Binghampton, Ny.  (Binghampton HS)  6-2, 195

A relative unknown from a area of New York not known for putting out football talent, as you would guess, Clarence Megwa has a lot of unknowns known about him.  He planned to camp at Penn State this summer, so he will be one to keep an eye during the fall.

Brian Robiskie- Chagrin Falls, Oh.  (Chagrin Falls HS)  6-3, 190
* * *
The son of Cleveland Brown offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie, Brian will be out to make a name for himself in college.  Another tall, fluid receiver (you noticing a trend developing), Brian has offers from a number of Big Ten teams.  Right now, the Nittany Lions are listed as one of his favorites though he has not tipped his hand.  He could be a very high riser in Ohio if he attends summer camps because it seems the only question college coaches have on him is his forty time.

Jarmal Ruffin- Scotland, Pa.  (Scotland School for Veterans Children)  6-3, 200

Pennsylvania's second best receiver (behind only Harvey), Ruffin displayed great hands and good speed at the Nike Camp.  Penn State has not offered Jarmal, despite the Nittany Lions being at or very near the top of his list.  According to Ruffin, Penn State wanted to see him at their summer camp before making any decisions on him.  He did not play wide receiver last year, due to a lack of talent at the tight end position at his school.  Jarmal has a great frame and very long arms, so a future at tight end may not be out of the question, but can he put on enough weight.  This is one that we should know more about in the near future.

Derrick Williams- Greenbelt, Md.  (Eleanor Roosevelt HS)  6-1, 185
* * *
The nation's # 1 receiving prospect and very well its #1 player, Derrick does not have a fleeting interest in Penn State.  From what's been said lately, the Nittany Lions are a very legitimate player in the Williams sweepstakes.  Derrick has received offers from everywhere--including Oklahoma, Florida State, Texas, Tennessee, and USC--all schools that his father said standout.  Also included in that list was--drum roll please--Penn State.  DWill is looking at a number of things in college that Penn State has, including education (check), early playing time (quadruple check), and a good environment (check).  In addition to his tremendous ability, Derrick hopes to graduate high school early and be available for next year's spring game, ala Dan Connor and Greg Harrison.

others: Rahmir Cottman- Red Bank, Nj.  (Red Bank HS)  6-3, 180; Brock Harner- Littletown, Pa.  (Littletown HS)  6-4, 185; Brian Hartline- Canton, Oh.  (Glen Oak HS)  6-3, 185; Gregory Harris- Mount Vernon, Ny.  (Mount Vernon HS)  6-1, 180; Selwyn Lymon- Fort Wayne, In.  (Harding HS)  6-5, 195

going elsewhere: * Eric Huggins- Conway, Sc.  (Conway HS)  6-2, 195  [verbal - Oklahoma]; Kevin Ogletree- Flushing, Ny.  (Holy Cross HS)  6-2, 175  [verbal - Virginia]; Trey Stross- Avon Lake, Oh.  (Avon Lake HS)  6-3, 195  [verbal - Iowa]

Tight End:
Along with the wide receiver position, Penn State must shore up its future at tight end.  Prior to the move of John Bronson, a former defensive end, Penn State had just one scholarship tight end on its roster.  Both Jed Hill and Jordan Lyons, signees from 2004, add depth, but Lyons may end up at quarterback.

Jonathan Hannah- Hope Mills, Nc.  (South View HS)  6-6, 265
* * *
Called by many observers at the Nike Camp in May, a "man-child", Jonathan could bring something to the table that the Nittany Lions have not had in a while--a bona fide passing catching, run blocking tight end.  He's athletic and very powerful.  He enjoyed his visit to Penn State tremendously and with a little luck and a few wins in the left column, Penn State may just steal this Tar Heel state standout.

Kyle Newell- Bethlehem, Pa.  (Bethlehem Catholic HS)  6-4, 225
* * *
Although Kyle could be listed as a defensive end, his speed and athleticism could be just what the doctor ordered in a Galen Hall stretch the field type system.  Blessed with a tremendous build (long arms and broad shoulders), Kyle has been timed in the forty in the low 4.5's.  He has claimed that at least one school likes him as a wide receiver.  He could be an asset on either offense or defense.

others: Jose Cruz- Johnstown, Pa.  (Bishop McCort HS)  6-5, 230; Jim Dray- Bergen, Nj.  (Bergen Catholic HS)  6-4, 220; Trent Flander- West Des Moines, Ia.  (Dowling HS)  6-4, 235; Brandon Flores- Enfield, Ct.  (Enrico Fermi HS)  6-5, 230; Garrett Graham- Brick, Nj.  (Brick Memorial HS)  6-4, 215; Mickey Shuler, Jr.- Pennsboro, Pa.  (Pennsboro HS)  6-4, 210

going elsewhere: none

Offensive Line:
Penn State signed a nice core group of offensive lineman last season, covering every position along the line.  With skill players being at such distinct need in this class, it would be surprising if the Nittany Lions signed more than two lineman (with the premium being on tackle and center).  As you'll see listed below, Penn State has offered just three offensive lineman.

Thomas Austin- Camden, Sc.  (Camden HS)  6-4, 270
From the same high school as former Nittany Lion great Bobby Engram, Thomas may be the best center on the east coast.  While the Nittany Lions have offered, Thomas will most likely end up playing for in-state school, Clemson.  He's narrowed his list down to Vanderbilt, Auburn, and Clemson.  After a visit to Auburn, unless he is blown away, he will most likely be wearing the purple and orange of Clemson.

Jason Kacinko- Harrison City, Pa.  (Penn-Trafford HS)  6-5, 295

Pennsylvania's top line talent, Jason has not received much interest from Penn State.  He athletic and powerful with great feet, but it appears the Nittany Lions have highlighted other players on their board.  Don't be surprised to see Jason end up in Oakland, where lineman are about as scarce as people in the seats these days.

Dennis Landolt- Delran, Nj.  (Holy Cross HS)  6-5, 275
* * * *
One of the most athletic lineman on the east coast, Dennis has been very impressive in every combine that he has attended so far this summer.  A one time Virginia lean, Dennis soured on the Cavaliers a bit once they received four offensive line commits.  Penn State stayed on him and now it appears the Nittany Lions are the clear cut leader for his services.  Because of his great feet and frame, Dennis could be either a tackle or guard on the next level.  It shouldn't surprise if he verbals before the end of the summer.

Kurt Mattes- Kingston, Pa.  (Wyoming Valley West HS)  6-6, 255

Brother of Notre Dame lineman Brian Mattes, Kurt is a very agile lineman who has the body type that the Iowa Hawkeye coaching staff just loves.   Tall and thin, Kurt has a tight end type body now that when matured could easily handle forty more pounds of weight.  The Nittany Lions have not offered and Kurt, it seems, has taken them out of his top five.

Brandon Richardson- New Brighton, Pa.  (New Brighton HS)  6-5, 325

Brandon was impressive at last year's Nike Camp as a junior-to-be.  Another great big man athlete, Brandon would be best served if he trimmed down a bit to better his agility and mobility.  Brandon thought Penn State was interested enough to offer him a scholarship, but they currently have not.  He seems to be another kid leaning towards the Panthers.

Dace Richarson- Wheaton, Il.  (Wheaton South HS)  6-6, 300
* * *
Although LionNews has not spoken to Dace about his interest level in the Nittany Lions, we do know that they have offered the Illinois standout.  Although he has not mentioned any leaders, teams like Iowa, Usc, Michigan, and Michigan State are very high on him. video

Marques Slocum- Philadelphia, Pa.  (West Catholic HS)  6-6, 330

Another in a long list of athletic freaks of nature that Penn State is recruiting this year, Marques can really move for a big man.  Although he does not have a Penn State offer, speculation is that he may as soon as his grades check out.  Right now it appears that Slocum has 28 offers.  This summer he transferred from St. John Neumann HS to West Catholic HS after his coach apparently left.  He and Derrell Hand (who will be featured on the defensive section) form probably the largest inside defensive duo of any high school in the state.  Marques insists that he wants to be a defensive player on the next level and while it's not prudent to argue with a man his size, the sight of him shooting out of his guard stance on a trap or pull has got to send shivers down a linebacker or corner back's spine.

Kevin Wiggins- Washington, Dc.  (Dunbar HS)  6-7, 320

To be quite frank (I try to only be positive about the student-athletes I write about), Kevin Wiggins was disappointing at the Penn State Nike Camp.  It would be shocking if Penn State offered Kevin based on his body type.  He needs to work a lot on strength and conditioning before he ever steps onto a college field.

others: John Bachman- Moon, Pa.  (Moon Area HS)  6-4, 250; Ryan Blaszcyzk- Medford, Nj.  (Shawnee HS)  6-4, 290; Frank Carduff- Shenandoah, Pa.  (Shenandoah Valley HS)  6-4, 285; Austin Giles- Marshfield, Ma.  (Marshfield HS)  6-3, 270; Nate Hartung- Butler, Pa.  (Butler HS)  6-4, 395; Zach Haulman- Altoona, Pa.  (Altoona HS)  6-2, 285; Greg Isadener- Merion Station, Pa.  (Episcopal Academy)  6-5, 295; Kevin Johnson- Newton, Nj.  (Newton HS)  6-4, 290; Kevin Leary- West Chester, Pa.  (West Chester East HS)  6-4, 285; Ben Maderia- Sidman, Pa.  (Forest Hills HS)  6-4, 275; Mike Maruschak- Pittsburgh, Pa.  (Northgate HS)  6-5, 295; Mike Schmeding- Rutherford, Nj.  (St. Mary's HS)  6-8, 285; Morgan Thomas- Oreland, Pa.  (Parkland HS)  6-3, 305; Jon Walko- Germantown, Md.  (Seneca Valley HS)  6-6, 280

going elsewhere Joe Akers- Parkton, Md.  (Hereford HS)    6-2, 310  [verbal - Connecticut]; Alex Boone- Lakewood, Oh.  (St. Edward HS)  6-8, 280  [verbal - Ohio State]; Matt Lowry- Springfield, Pa.  (Cardinal O'Hara HS)  6-6, 300  [verbal - Virginia]; Dave McClain- Doylestown, Pa.  (Central Bucks West HS)  6-5, 325  [verbal - Maryland];  * Eugene Monroe- Plainfield, Nj.  (Plainfield HS)  6-5, 310 [verbal - Virginia];  Justin Schifano- Webster, Ny.  (Webster Schroeder HS)  6-5, 300  [verbal - Michigan]

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