The Lion's Lounge: June (Part 2- Defense)

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.

LL06-D 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.
                    * - Penn State has offered but is not involved.
                    - Penn State has not currently offered.
                     - LionNews.com does not have enough information.

Defensive Tackle:
Teams that recruit don't need freshman to come in and challenge for playing time--anything you get should be a bonus.  Penn State is most stocked at defensive tackle in 2004, but with most guys reaching their junior year, the Nittany Lions need to sign two defensive tackles to shore up the future.

Walker Ashley- Eden Prairie, Mn.  (Eden Prairie HS)  6-5, 285
* * * *
Son of former Nittany Lion linebacker, Walker Lee Ashley, young Walker is a mountain.   He displayed great quickness and strength at Nike, which placed him only behind Melvin Alaeze (soon to be spotlighted himself).  That's some pretty good company.  Born in Minnesota because his father played for the Vikings, Walker has both the Nittany Lions and Gophers on top of his list.  He once thought he would make an early verbal, but has since backed off that idea and will probably take at least some visits.  It's hard to believe that his dad would not pull quite strongly for Penn State and JoePa, but Walker will make his own decision.  He would be a great addition to the solid, young group of defensive lineman Penn State is amassing.

Mataele Pau'u- Manhattan Beach, Ca.  (Mira Costa HS)  6-3, 300
* *
A nose guard from the land of sun and fun, Mataele has mentioned that he would like to get a chance to see Penn State sometime this summer for an unofficial visit.  While I'm sure the Nittany Lions would love to land him, getting a kid to travel nearly 3000 miles on his own dime is quite tough.  Besides it looks like both Arizona and Oregon have been, as Pau'u says "showing him the love."  Could you imagine the press conference where JoePa trys to pronounce that name?  That would be worth the price of admission alone.

Ekom Udofia- Scottsdale, Az.  (Chaparral HS)  6-2, 290
*
Just about everyone in the world has offered Ekom (yes even the French), after he blew the competition away at a west coast Nike Camp.  Ekom is a strong, low to the ground player, who uses that leverage to blow up opposing offensive lineman.  Penn State will be on the outside looking in for this prospect--he's been hearing the call of the USC Trojans.

Kade Weston- Little Silver, Nj.  (Red Bank Regional HS)  6-5, 300
* * *
Another monster on the defensive front, Kade recently made an unofficial visit to Penn State and came away very impressed with everything the Nittany Lions had to offer.  As a junior, Kade recorded 114 tackles, 20 tackles for a loss, 14 sacks and 5 forced fumbles.  Even if he played twenty-five games, those are incredible numbers from someone on the defensive line.  The only knock on Kade right now would be his bench (285lbs) because of his long arms, but a college weight room would really help to optimize his potential.  Weston should narrow his choices down in the near future so look for the Lions to be involved with him until the end.

Insiders.com video

others: Derrell Jones- Waldorf, Md.  (Westlake HS)  6-3, 285; Antwon Hight- Canton, Oh.  (McKinley HS)  6-3, 295

going elsewhere: * Todd Denlinger- Troy, Oh.  (Troy HS)  6-3, 275  [verbal - Ohio State]

Defensive End:
What was mentioned above, also relates to the defensive end position.  Penn State will look to sign two players who will contribute in the future.

Melvin Alaeze- Randallstown, Md.  (Randallstown HS)  6-2, 275
* *
When Alaeze walks into a room, he should actually be serenaded with the song "Super Freak" by the unconventional Rick James.  As part of his super freaky nature, Melvin is blessed with tremendous speed (in the high 4.5-low 4.6 range).  He gets off the snap from his defensive end position and spends more time in the backfield than most quarterbacks.  Another attribute that defensive line coaches love are his long arms.  He may only be 6'2'', but his wingspan is that of a much taller man.  He is reminiscent of current Nittany Lion Tamba Hali when you watch him on film.  Just about every school in the country has been in touch with the Randallstown HS star.  Although he his ranked the #6 defensive tackle by Insiders.com, Melvin is clear that he wants to be a defensive end in college.  With his explosion off the ball, who can argue.


Everette Brown- Wilson, Nc.  (Beddingfield HS)  6-4, 235
* * *
Everette just returned from camp at Penn State (June 20-23) and the Nittany Lions are still on his list of favorites with NC State, Unc, Tennessee, and the Florida schools.  Brown is another multi-dimensional player, who could line up at either defensive end or tight end.  As his video shows, he has great explosion and hands.  One would look at Penn State's depth at tight end should really intrigue him.

Insiders.com video #1, Insiders.com video #2

Jeffrey Fitzgerald- Richmond, Va.  (Hermitage HS)  6-5, 255
* * *
Another defensive end or tight end, Jeffrey has some impressive offers from Nebraska, Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech, in addition to Penn State.  Still raw in terms of football skills, Jeffrey brings basketball athleticism to the football field.  He plans to narrow down his list by the end of the summer, in preparation for official visits this fall.  The cousin of Richmond Huguenot head coach Richard McFee, Jeffrey should be considered a dead bolt lock (tongue planted firmly in thy cheek).

Insiders.com video #1, Insiders.com video #2

Raymond Henderson- Oak Creek, Wi.  (Oak Creek HS)  6-6, 240
* * *
It's very rare that Penn State will go all the way to beautiful Wisconsin (where I once spent an hour under a bridge underpass while a tornado whistled right past) to offer a player.  Such is the case with Raymond and his teammate Travis Beckum, listed below.  Another athlete with tremendous speed coming off the edge, Penn State will have to compete with Miami, Oklahoma, Iowa, Notre Dame, and Wisconsin to get a visit from Raymond.

Insiders.com video

Lawrence Wilson- Akron, Oh.  (St. Vincent-St. Mary's HS)  6-6, 235

A former teammate of Cleveland Cavaliers uber-rookie Lebron James, Lawrence has grown into a formidable force on the gridiron and hardwood.  While he does not have a Penn State offer, Lawrence recently stated to the Ohio guru, Duane Long, that Ohio State just extended an offer and the Nittany Lions should in the near future too.  Basketball will be a factor in his ultimate decision, so by reading recent Penn State history, Joe Paterno has let some of his players compete in dual sports as long as their academics are in order (see Titcus Pettigrew and David Macklin - basketball, Rod Perry - baseball, Ernie Terrell - track, and Tom McHugh - ultimate fighting).

Doug Worthington- Buffalo, Ny.  (St. Francis HS)  6-7, 255
* * * *
On film Doug is very reminiscent of current Nittany Lion defensive end Lavon Chisley when he was in high school, except with more size and strength.  Doug has had very complementary things to say about the Nittany Lions since the beginning of his recruitment.  He just recently returned from Ohio State camp, where the Buckeyes impressed him, but but he has not taken all of his scheduled unofficial summer visits yet.  One of those destinations will be to Penn State.  With academics a priority to his family, expect the Nittany Lions to make a hard sell to the Worthington family especially in comparison to Ohio State.

Insiders.com video #1, Insiders.com video #2, Insiders.com video #3, Insiders.com video #4

others: Christian Fleming- Erie, Pa.  (Strong Vincent HS)  6-5, 245

going elsewhere: * Auston English- Canadian, Tx.  (Canadian HS)  6-4, 220  [down to Oklahoma/Oklahoma St.]; * Jeremy Navarre- Joppatowne, Md.  (Joppatowne HS)  6-4, 245  [verbal - Maryland]

Linebacker:
With a young and inexperienced linebacking core, the Nittany Lions should, on paper, have a very bright future.  The kids at linebacker now are quite intent on bringing back the tradition of Linebacker U.  But with a lot of the depth leaving for various reasons (Jimi Mitchell, Lamar Stewart, Tim Johnson, T.C. Cosby, etc.), Penn State needs to add quality depth.

Paul Anderson- Brooklyn, Ny.  (Poly Prep HS)  6-2, 215

A safety sized linebacker, who will only get bigger once he reaches college, Paul believes that Penn State (along with Virginia and Maryland) may be very close to offering him a scholarship in the near future.  He currently boasts offers from the likes of Michigan State, Syracuse and Boston College.  Although Penn State has not had much recent success mining some of the talent from Poly Prep HS, Paul has shown a legit interest in the Nittany Lions, visiting unofficially at least once.  With its need for linebackers and his emphasis on education, if Penn State offers, they could be difficult to beat.

Travis Beckum- Oak Creek, Wi.  (Oak Creek HS)  6-5, 215
* *
Although the Nittany Lions have offered both Travis and Raymond Henderson (above), Penn State is mentioned with far less frequency than his with his teammate.  Travis, who could also play defensive end once he eats something, has his sights set on Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Tennessee, and USC.

Brian Cushing- Bergen, Nj.  (Bergen Catholic HS)  6-3, 220
* *
An outstanding athlete who has been compared to his former rival, Boston College freshman Brian Toal, Cushing may be the best player in New Jersey.  The nation's #10 ranked linebacker, Brian recorded 120 tackles 9.5 sacks and 7 interceptions last season.  With Toal departed from Don Bosco, Cushing has the spotlight in northern Jersey.  Penn State has been mentioned from time to time, but the poor man's Mack Brown, Al Groh, and Virginia look nearly impossible to beat for his services.  It was rumored he nearly committed when Eugene Monroe did.  Now that Mike Brown has committed, it will only be a matter of time until the next domino has fallen.

Insiders.com video #1, Insiders.com video #2

Anthony Felder- Seattle, Wa.  (O'Dea HS)  6-2, 215
* * *
Penn State again heads to the Great Northwest to look for talent.  Felder has been offered by some impressive schools besides the Nittany Lions, like Notre Dame (verbally), Ohio State (verbally), Louisiana State (written), and Washington (written).  Although Penn State has had recent success in Washington (with former linebacker Mac Morrison and current players, John Bronson and Ryan Scott), the Nittany Lions don't have what you would consider a pipeline.  Felder, however, had Penn State in his top five before they ever offered him.  The linebacker, who sports 4.5 speed, plans to take all of his official visits before he makes a decision.  A true indication of his interest will be if Happy Valley gets a visitor from Seattle sometime this fall.

Jerome Hayes- Bayonne, Nj.  (Bayonne HS)  6-3, 225
* * *
The 13th rated linebacker by Insiders.com, Jerome is said to enough athleticism to play either outside linebacker or even running back in college.  Sporting almost 40 offers, Jerome has stated that he hopes to narrow his choices down to a manageable ten in the near future.  He's already been to Penn State on an unofficial visit, so the Nittany Lions should be a good bet to at least make his Top Ten.  A raw player, with pure athleticism, Jerome could benefit from a redshift year sitting behind Nittany Lion youngsters Paul Posluszny and Dan Connor, who are very instinctual linebackers, to learn and help speed up his progression.

Insiders.com video #1

Rashawn Jackson- Jersey City, Nj.  (St. Peter's Prep)  6-2, 265
* * *
A jumbo sized middle linebacker, Rashawn still claims 4.56 forty speed even at 256 lbs.  Not many people will argue with him because he's fast enough to catch you and sit on you.  Although not much has been written about Rashawn this spring, the big man teamed with Mike Brown and rising junior Keyaire Griffin last season to form a pretty formidable St. Peter's backfield.  While he can run the ball, Jackson's future looks to be on defense.  He claims offers from Rutgers, Boston College, Michigan, Maryland, Michigan State, UConn, Notre Dame, and Virginia, in addition to Penn State.

Andre Mathis- Erie, Pa.  (Erie Cathedral Prep)  6-3, 225
* * * *
A former Michigan lean, Andre now says that Tennessee and Ohio State have moved into the lead followed closely by Penn State.  No matter what the Michigan people will tell you however, if Penn State comes out playing hard this fall, Andre Mathis will probably be a Nittany Lion.  They can use all the exclamation points in the world, but this kid is one that is a good bet if the Penn State program and Joe Paterno show they have righted the ship.  Andre plays inside linebacker for Cathedral Prep, but he's got enough lateral quickness and burst to line up on the outside in college. 

B.J. Travers- Westlake, Oh.  (Westlake HS)  6-1, 235

A scary strong middle linebacker prospect, who has 445 pound bench press, a 585 pound squat, he power cleans 360 pounds, has a 36-inch vertical and shuttle time of 4.4 flat, B.J. has already been offered by both Iowa and USC.  While being powerful in build, the knock most Internet recruiting message board geniuses have on B.J. is his speed, which goes anywhere from 4.6.to 4.8.  But the kid is a throw-back style player who will hit you in the mouth over and over again; he can flat out play.  A hard worker, B.J. is a good gamble for any school willing to take a flier on a nuts and bolts type player.  Penn State has not offered, but he is receiving interest from them as well as most of the Big Ten and Notre Dame.

others: Pat Angerer- Bettendorf, Ia.  (Bettendorf HS)  6-1, 215; Mike Dell- Hummelstown, Pa.  (Lower Dauphin HS)  6-3, 225; Mike Hanson- Teaneck, Nj.  (Teaneck HS)  6-3, 230; Donnell McKenzie- Aliquippa, Pa.  (Aliquippa HS)  6-2, 220; Steve Quinn- Philadelphia, Pa.  (St. Joseph's Prep)  6-3, 215; Reggie Walker- Sacremento, Ca.  (Grant Union HS)  6-3, 225; Earnest Williams- Monaseen, Pa.  (Monassen HS)  6-2, 250; Louis Woodland- Silver Spring, Md.  (Springbrook HS)  6-4, 220

going elsewhere Antonio Appleby- Virginia Beach, Va.  (Salem HS)  6-4, 230  [verbal - Virginia]; Mike Owen- Riverhead, Ny.  (Riverhead HS)  6-3, 230  [verbal - Syracuse]; * Ryan Reynolds- Las Vegas, Nv.  (Bishop Gorman HS)  6-3, 230; Lamont Robinson- Salem, Nj.  (Salem HS)  6-3, 220  [verbal - Virginia]; Mike Stenclick- Webster, Ny.  (Webster Schroeder HS)  6-1, 235  [verbal - Syracuse]

Corner:
Penn State needs quality cover corners in the worst way.  Not a glamour position like linebacker or Hero at Penn State, Joe Paterno has never had a cornerback named to an All-American team.

Willie Harriot- New Haven, Ct.  (Hyde Leadership HS)  5-10, 175
* * *
Super quick, Willie ripped off a 4.3 forty at the Florida State camp last year.  As a sophomore to be, he also came in and put on an impressive showing at the Penn State Nike Camp, where he probably ranked as the #2 cover corner behind Justin King.  At this point in time, Willie has offers from some big northern or mid-Atlantic schools like Penn State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, etc.  But Willie is waiting for two big fish--Miami and Florida State--or so it would seem because he's gone mum on his favorites.

Justin King- Monroeville, Pa.  (Gateway HS)  6-0, 180
* * * *
What else can be said about Justin King that has not been said?  He plays a position that Penn State desperately needs and his step-father (Gateway HS coach and former Nittany Lion wide receiver Terry Smith, in case you've been under a rock) is one of the greatest successes our program had.  Conventional wisdom suggests that Justin will wait to see if Penn State brings the fire this year that extinguished in '03.  If they do, it will be hard to bet against the Blue and White.  If they don't, color him a skunk and wish him well with Floyd.  We all know what conventional wisdom gets you.......

Sean Smalls- Richmond, Va.  (Huguenot HS)  6-1, 180
* * * *
From the same high school as our current kind of verbal, Kevin Cousins, Sean was particularly impressive at Penn State's Nike Camp.  A tall, but quick cornerback, Sean led the league last season in interceptions with 6.  There has been speculation that Sean could be the Nittany Lions next verbal commitment, but according to his coach, Richard McFee, he was entertaining offers from Michigan, Ucla, Maryland, Clemson, and North Carolina.

others: Aaron Ellison- New Haven, Ct.  (Wilbur Cross HS)  6-0, 180; Jeremy Bruce- Beaver Falls, Pa.  (Blackhawk HS)  5-9, 185; Jamar Jackson- Hampton, Va.  (Bethel HS)  5-9, 190; Jamari McCullough- Randallstown, Md.  (Randallstown HS)  5-11, 170; Shamar Taylor- Neptune, Nj.  (Neptune HS)  5-10, 185

going elsewhere: * Mike Brown- Jersey City, Nj.  (St. Peter's Prep)  5-10, 175  [verbal - Virginia]; * Michael Ray Garvin - Ramsey, Nj.  (Don Bosco Prep)  5-9, 180  [Penn State eliminated]; Dominic Jones- Columbus, Oh.  (Brookhaven HS)  5-9, 185  [verbal - Pittsburgh]; * Anthony Wiseman- Hyattsville, Md.  (DeMatha HS)  5-10, 175  [verbal - Maryland]

Safety:
Safety is a hard position to read.  The Nittany Lions have had recent success turning out pretty good safety prospects.  You may see as many as two signed, or a less as none.

Ryan Hamilton- Newton, Pa.  (Council Rock HS)  6-2, 200

Probably the best safety in Pennsylvania this year, Ryan is a strong Penn State lean but he has not been offered yet.  After a season in which he made 85 tackles and grabbed 3 interceptions, Ryan was named to the 1st Team Suburban-1 All-league team.  He looked impressive at Nike until he injured an ankle, which hampered coaches from getting a real good look.  Ryan is a definite candidate for an offer at summer camp if he goes and proves himself to the coaching staff.  He has no offers at this time.

Andre Pope- Cumberland, Md.  (Fort Hill HS)  5-11, 205
* * *    
A new comer to the Penn State recruiting vocabulary, Andre has offers from Penn State, Virginia Tech, Clemson, and North Carolina.  While he could play either running back or strong safety, it looks like the Nittany Lions have earmarked him for their defensive backfield.  Last season for Fort Hill he made 31 tackles and snatched 6 interceptions.  It appears that both Penn State and Virginia Tech may be leading for him at the moment.

Reggie Smith- Edmond, Ok.  (Santa Fe HS)  6-1, 195
* *
The Insiders #2 ranked safety in the land, Reggie claims to have an offer from Penn State.  With the likes of Usc, Ucla, Oklahoma, Kansas State, and Nebraska all over you, the Nittany Lions seem to have as much of a chance as Mike Farrell in a strong man contest.

others: * C.J. Byrd- North Augusta, Sc.  (North Augusta HS)  6-3, 185; Dajuan Collins- Deptford, Nj.  (West Deptford HS)  5-10, 185; Sean Lee- Upper St. Clair, Pa.  (Upper St. Clair HS)  6-3, 195; Anthony Scirrotto- Deptford, Nj.  (West Deptford HS)  6-0, 190

going elsewhere: * Victor Harris- Highland Springs, Va.  (Highland Springs HS)  6-0, 185  [Penn State not in final 12]; Marquise Melvin- Whiteville, Nc.  (Whiteville HS)  6-2, 200  [verbal - Duke]; * Adam Myers-White- Hamilton, Oh.  (Hamilton HS)  6-3, 185  [99.9% lock to Ohio State]; * Marcus Wilson- Cherry Hill, Nj.  (Camden Catholic HS)  6-1, 185  [verbal - Iowa]

Kicker/Punter:
With Penn State bringing in Pennsylvania's two best kickers last year as preferred walk-ons (Tony Bernatos and Patrick Humes), it may not be prudent to give a scholarship to a kicker unless the aforementioned duo turns out to be overrated.

Kevin Kelly - Neshaminy, Pa.  (Neshaminy HS)  5-9, 160


Patrick McAfee- Pittsburgh, Pa.  (Plum HS)  6-1, 200


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