The Lion's Lounge - Christmas Eve Edition

Who are the Penn State coaches zeroing in on? How will our current verbals fit into the program? 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.

During the time of year when things are traditionally slowest, Fight On brings you a special Christmas Carol edition of the Lion's Lounge--an all-inclusive look at Penn State recruiting prospects past, present and future.

Fight On's Prospect Key:
* * * * * - Penn State verbal commitment!
   * * * * - Penn State leads or co-leads.
         * * * - Penn State will receive an official visit.
* * - Penn State may receive an official visit.
                * - Penn State has visited this prospect.
Like he has been for his entire career at Penn State, Michael Robinson remains the x-factor at quarterback.  Does the addition of Derrick Williams at the wide receiver position mean that MRob will now focus his full attention at quarterback?  Or will he dedicate himself to wide receiver, the position which seems his best opportunity to make the NFL?  Anthony Morelli has the tools to be a tremendous quarterback at the college level and deserves an opportunity to compete for the starting position.  Although not as ballyhooed as Morelli, both Paul Cianciolo and Daryll Clark can play.  More so than in recent years, the signal caller battle will be the focus of all Nittany Lion fans during the spring football game.

- Recruits Past -
going elsewhere:  Bobby Rome- Norfolk, Va.  (Granby HS)  5-11, 215

- Recruits Present -
Greg Boone- Chesapeake, Va.  (Oscar Smith HS)  6-4, 265
A jumbo athlete in the true sense of the word, Greg wants to play quarterback on the next level.  While he has a cannon for an arm, Boone may end up eating himself out of the position.  Penn State was mentioned as possibly being involved after offensive line coach Bill Kenney stopped by his high school.  Greg's final four are Maryland, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, and West Virginia.

- Recruits Future -
Pat Devlin- Downington, Pa. (Downington East HS) 6-3, 190. . .The most impressive underclassman quarterback at Penn State Nike in 2004, Devlin has a big arm and great release.  He set numerous passing marks during his sophomore season at Downingtown East.  Penn State and Virginia look like two teams that have popped up on his radar early.

Zach Frazier- Mechanicsburg, Pa. (Mechanicsburg HS) 6-4, 215. . .Pennsylvania's AAA Player of the Year for 2004, Frazier really put himself on the map with a huge junior season after not starting his sophomore season.  Many who have seen him play consider him one of the two top quarterbacks in the state for 2005.

Running Back:
Tony Hunt established himself this season as Penn State's go-to runningback.  A tough runner with great burst, Tony took a beating and kept on ticking after Penn State's passing offense faltered early in the season.  Despite some more off-the-field problems, Austin Scott showed a glimmer of the ability he displayed during his brilliant senior season at Parkland HS.  This off-season, Austin must really work on two things if he wants to become a "name" in the Big Ten--getting his weight down to about 210 pounds and consistency (during and after football).  Rodney Kinlaw also showed flashes of brilliance, displaying both tremendous burst and surprising power.  While senior Paul Jefferson proved to be a disappointment at fullback, true freshman Matt Hahn looks good for the future.  Adding Dan Lawlor, who redshirted, and possibly BranDon Snow into the mix, means whoever lines up at the tailback position will have at least one quality blocker in front of him.

- Recruits Past -
going elsewhereJahre Cheeseman- Vorhees, Nj.  (Eastern HS)  5-9, 175; Morgan Greene- Indian Rover, Md.  (Lackey HS)  6-0, 190; Jason Gwaltney; Rashawn Jackson- Jersey City, Nj.  (St. Peter's Prep)  6-2, 254; Kenneth Jefferson- Hyattsville, Md.  (DeMatha HS)  6-0, 235

- Recruits Present -
Dajuane Collins- Deptford, Nj.  (Deptford Township HS)  5-11, 187
It used to be that if your surname was Collins, you came from the womb already wearing a Penn State jersey and helmet.  But this Collins is a bit different.  Dajaune, a cousin of the Collins' brothers who played at Penn State in the eighties and nineties, has looked elsewhere during the majority of his recruitment.  The First Team All-South Jersey runningback has already taken official visits to Minnesota and Toledo.  Penn State, who didn't offer Dajuane until his senior season, appeared to be completely out of the picture until JoePa came to see him at home.  It now appears that Dajuane will take an official visit sometime in January before he decides.  With Jahre Cheeseman choosing Virginia Tech over Penn State, Dajuane now becomes an extremely important because of his versatility--he can play both runningback and safety--and depth he brings.  With his family history and him being down to Minnesota and Toledo (both visits which seemed to be ho-hum), along with Penn State, he appears to have shifted from "no way" to "there's a very, very good shot."

- Recruits Future -
LeSean McCoy- Harrisburg, Pa.  (Bishop McDevitt HS)  5-10, 190. . .Big time talent with as much potential as any runningback that has emerged from Pennsylvania in a long time.  Does he have Nittany Lion interest?

Knowshon Moreno- Middleton, Nj.  (South HS)  6-0, 195. . .Named to the prestigious MSG Network all Tri-State Heisman All-Stars, becoming only the sixth junior in the history of the award. During his three year career, he has already amassed 4,470 yards and 578 points and will break the all-time state rushing and points records in New Jersey.  Calling that an accomplishment would be an understatement.
Wide Receiver:
The biggest hole on the Beaver Stadium field was not in the turf, but rather at the wide receiver position.  At times it felt like the Penn State wide receivers wore oven mits instead of gloves.  Michael Robinson again becomes the x-factor.  Will he be utilized as the go-to game breaker or will he be throwing the ball?  Derrick Williams electricity brings an element of excitement to an offense which struggled mightily in 2004.  Teams will not be able to focus solely on MRob with DWill on the other side.  Another highly thought of wide receiver coming out of high school, Terrell Golden began to see time as the season developed.  He has the height and speed to benefit to become a good one with experience and seasoning.  Mark Rubin, the sticky handed wide receiver out of Buffalo, played well down the stretch, single-handedly keeping Penn State alive in the Indiana game (literally).  With fifth year seniors Terrance Phillips and (possibly) Kinta Palmer exiting stage left, some of the Penn State freshman will get the opportunity to cut their teeth early.

- Recruits Past -
going elsewhere: Selwyn Lymon- Fort Wayne, In.  (Harding HS)  6-5, 190; Darrius Heyward-Bey- Owing Mills, Md.  (The McDonough School); Trey Stross- Avon Lake, Oh.  (Avon Lake HS)  6-3, 190;

- Recruits Present -
Kevin Cousins- Richmond, Va.  (Huguenot HS)  6-4, 190
* *** *
Penn State's first verbal way back in May, Kevin has been a forgotten man in the wake of Mr. Williams' recruitment by Penn State.  Cousins really made a name for himself with a great Nike Camp in which he showed off his size and speed.  Coach McFee, Huguenot's coach, says Cousins reminds him of his former star David Terrell.  Despite his ability, Cousins played in a run orientated offense, which kept the ball out of his hands.  Earlier in the fall, Kevin admitted that he may take a visit or two, citing Michigan, Virginia, and Virginia Tech as possible destinations, though it seems nothing materialized from that.

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 according to some observers, despite just coming hernia surgery days before.  James really took a liking to the Nittany Lions early in the spring but his interest in them and their in him both waned over the summer and fall.  It appears that once Nyan Boateng's antics removed him from the Nittany Lions radar, Larry Johnson got back in serious contact with James.  Although he was enamored with Notre Dame at the time, McDonald listened and agreed to an official visit.  Once the Fighting Irish fired Tyrone Willingham, the Nittany Lions applied the full court press.  He should be on the receiving end of many Anthony Morelli bullets come this fall.

Lydell Sargaent- Lompoc, Ca.  (Cabrillo HS)  5-10, 185
* * * * *
Lydell is a hard to place.  He's a California boy but longs for his roots in western Pennsylvania.  And he's a cornerback, slash wide receiver, slash runningback, slash special teams returner.  A tremendous athlete, who exploded for a sensational senior season at Cabrillo HS, Lydell played himself right into a spot on the California team during the annual Cali-Florida all-star match up.  He'll line up in the offense back field for that game.  But what about his Nittany Lion career?  Right now it appears his skills will be used on offense, probably wide receiver, but it would not be shocking to see him move around a bit in an effort to get the football in his hands.

Derrick Williams- Greenbelt, Md.  (Eleanor Roosevelt HS)  6-1, 185
* * * * *
What else can be said about the nation's #1?  Penn State received a tremendous boost on Wednesday when Derrick announced he will be a Nittany Lion come January.  Most expect Derrick to be a major, major contributor next season for a Nittany Lion offense that looked, at some times last season, like that of a pee-wee team.  After a much ballyhooed recruiting process, Derrick finally announced for Penn State, choosing the Lions over Oklahoma, Florida, Texas, and Tennessee.  He joins Justin King as the two most-highly ranked Penn State skill recruits since the modern era of Internet recruiting websites.  Both kids are universally considered to be Top 10 players nationally.

Nyan Boateng- Brooklyn, Ny.  (Lincoln HS)  6-3, 190
Nyan's Boateng's recruiting journey has been one of confusion and confliction.  He's loved just about every team in the nation:  Penn State, West Virginia, Maryland, Nebraska, USC, Pittsburgh, Miami, Michigan State and now Michigan.  Yet it's virtually impossible to tell where he's leaning.  One minute he's visiting this place and then suddenly, he isn't.  One minute he's wearing the Michigan's vaunted #1 jersey; the next he's singing the praises of Bill Callahan.  And that's when you can reach him on the telephone.  Throw in the possibility of him choosing to play only college basketball and you can see the mess.  Back in the summer, rumors swirled about a phone-chain between Nyan and two Nittany Lion's, Justin King and Derrick Williams.  Supposedly, the three talked about attending the same university.  Two have now choosen--"What will Nyan do?"

David Harvey- Pittsburgh, Pa.  (Penn Hills HS)  6-1, 175
* * *
David Harvey, Anthony Morelli's former favorite pin cushion, has really had an outstanding senior season, which culminated in being named 2nd team All-State.  While David performed like an All-American on the football field, unfortunately, his lack of performance in the classroom will probably hold him back from signing with a D1 team on Signing Day.  Penn State would love to have David catching passes in Beaver Stadium.  While it is not out the realm of reality, David would need to spend a year at prep school (most likely Kiski Prep) for that to happen.  David's other option, if he chose to attend West Virginia, would be to take his chances on qualifying.  Harvey's teammate, runningback Ed Collinton, has already announced he will attending West Virginia.  If David did choose the prep school route, it would be another tremendous sign for Penn State.  He's the best wide receiver in Pennsylvania, despite his second team All-State nod.

Lavar Lobdell- Syracuse, Ny.  (Christian Brothers HS)  6-3, 192
*'s #12 receiver in the nation, Lavar is a definite big time talent.  Despite his ability, his recruitment in the media remained quiet for a good portion of the summer and fall, overshadowed a bit by All-American quarterback (and future Dukie point guard) Greg Paulus.  Lavar was just recently offered by Penn State, which brought the Nittany Lions into the picture.  Teams like Syracuse and USC, who have been in on him for a while, looked like they would vie for his signature until Miami clouded the picture up when they began to recruit him heavily.  The 'Canes just offered, so Lavar scheduled an official visit to Coral Gables in late January.  The week before he will be in Los Angeles for an official with the men of Troy.  Will he visit Penn State too?  Right now it appears unlikely because he's said he's not interested, but with Penn State now recruiting his teammate Bruce Williams (listed below) heavily, Lavar may begin to take more notice.

Todd Nolen- Hampton, Va.  (Hampton HS)  6-2, 175
A semi-new name to the Penn State recruiting circles, Todd plans on taking a visit to Penn State sometime in January.  During most of the process, it appeared both in-state schools, Virginia and Virginia Tech, could receive a verbal commitment from Todd.  But he now says that all of the schools recruiting him are completely even, making his January 22nd visit vitally important for the Penn State hopes of drastically improving its wide receiver corps.

Bruce Williams- Syracuse, Ny.  (Christian Brothers HS)  5-11, 190
When Penn State received a commitment from Derrick Williams it gave them both a possession receiver and a home run hitter, all in one shot.  But with sloppy play from the wide receiver position dominating conversation for almost two years, getting kids who can play became priority #1 this off-season for JoePa and Co.  Like McDonald, Bruce Williams does not have blazing speed, but he does catch the ball and run good routes.  Most times those two attributes are more important than taking the ball from point A to point B in 4.4 seconds.  Williams, a teammate of Lavar Lobdell, had the opportunity to show his abilities this season and become the go-to receiver in Coach Joe Casamento's offense, despite having an All-American opposite him.  He has already visited West Virginia and plans visits to Syracuse and Rutgers in January.  He does not yet have one scheduled with Penn State but that will happen in the near future.

- Recruits Future -
Chris Bell- Norfolk, Va.  (Granby HS)  6-3, 190. . . .Bell comes a program that has been kind to Penn State, sending both CB Anthony King ('99) and OT Levi Brown their way in recent years.  Numerous newspaper articles have stated that Penn State has already offered Bell a scholarship.

John Maddox - Philadelphia, Pa.  (West Catholic HS)  6-4, 185. . .Hailing from the same high school as Marques Slocum and former Nittany Lion signee Jonathon Jackson, John has been called the best wide receiver to come from Philadelphia in many years.  His coach, Brian Fluck, has said that Maddox has already received offers from D1 schools.

Aaron Smith- Monroeville, Pa. (Gateway HS) 6-0, 180. . .Justin King's teammate and step-cousin, Aaron plays quarterback for Gateway, but his uncle, Terry Smith, feels his best position will be wide receiver.

Tight End:
Isaac Smolko started every game for Penn State at the tight end position, despite battling through injuries.  Patrick Hill made the move from defensive end to tight end during the season and showed some ability.  Once he gets settled at a position, he could certainly be a solid contributor.  Both Jed Hill and Jordan Lyons, signees from 2004, add depth, but Lyons may end up back at quarterback.  Lyons played in the first two games before suffering a shoulder injury.  He applied for and was granted a medical redshift.  Hill was also rumored to see some practice time at fullback.

- Recruits Past -
going elsewhere: Anthony Moaeki- Wheaton, Il.  (Warrenville South HS)  6-4, 235

- Recruits Present -
Francis Claude- Beauport, Qc.  (Champlain College)  6-5, 252
** * * *
With depth a major concern, Jay Paterno traveled to the Great White North to grab Canada's top player.  Francis visited a number of schools besides Penn State, receiving scholarship offers from South Carolina and Michigan State, and interest from Miami, Fl.  He will enroll at Penn State in January, giving the Nittany Lion coaching staff an opportunity to see what he can do this spring.

Brennan Coakley- Sandy Hook, Ct.  (Newton HS)  6-5, 240
** * * *
Described by an observer as a "raw athlete", Brennan projects as either a tight end or defensive end at the college level.  While he did not have any offers from other D1 schools, the Penn State coaches had the chance to evaluate him fully at summer camp.  He has to be considered the biggest "sleeper" in the current Penn State class because not much is known about his potential.

Jonathan Hannah- Hope Mills, Nc.  (South View HS)  6-6, 255
* *
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, proven passing catching, run blocking tight end.  He's athletic and very powerful.  He enjoyed his visit to Penn State this spring.  It seemed like Penn State would be a definite for an official visit from Hannah during December.  However, South View HS went deep into the North Carolina State Playoffs, forcing Jonathon to cancel his official.  In the meantime, schools like Georgia and South Carolina have made a major push leaving Penn State on the outside looking in at the Bulldogs, Gamecocks, UNC Tar Heels, North Carolina State Wolfpack, and Virginia Tech Hoakies.

- Recruits Future -
unknown at this time. . .

Offensive Line:
Penn State signed the beef in last season's class.  With all five starters returning from the 2004 which struggled to run the ball and protect the quarterback, things could get really good or really bad.  Penn State has a ton of depth, with all six lineman signed last year, redshirting in the off-season.  Keep an eye on Greg Harrison and Gerald Cadogan, both of whom could get a shot if the "oley" tackles continue to be beaten by opposing defensive ends.

- Recruits Past -
going elsewhere: Thomas Austin- Camden, Sc.  (Camden HS)  6-4, 287; Eugene Monroe- Plainfield, Nj.  (Plainfield HS)  6-7, 320; Justin Schifano- Webster, Ny.  (Webster HS)  6-5, 305; Matthew Tennant- Cincinnati, Oh.  (Moeller HS)  6-5, 250

- Recruits Present -
Dennis Landolt- Delran, Nj.  (Holy Cross HS)  6-5, 275
** * * *
Dennis grabbed many coaches attention after a great Nike Camp showing.  He brings terrific athletic skills to the tackle position, which enables him to quickly manuever to meet oncoming defenders.  At 275 pounds, Dennis has not come close to reaching his full body potential.  Another interesting attribute about Landolt is his brother, a lineman from West Virginia, played for a bit in the NFL, which should mean that Dennis understands the effort and work required to make himself into an outstanding offensive lineman.  Early on in his recruiting process, Dennis favored both Virginia and Penn State.  After the Cavaliers received a flurry of offensive line commits, Landolt focused his attention more to Virginia Tech and the Nittany Lions.  As a Thanksgiving Day present, Dennis committed to Penn State after getting "the feeling" about Happy Valley.  Like some of our offensive lineman recruits in the last ten years, let's hope Dennis doesn't turn out to a turkey.

Shea McKeen- Princeton, Nj.  (The Hun School)  6-6, 270
A name that came from nowhere, Shea took a fifth year at Hun to ready himself for college.  He started his Prep School career slowly because of an illness during the early fall..  After getting out some of his senior film, Shea began receiving interest from all over the country, including Miami, Florida State, Maryland, etc.  When initially interviewed Shea, he stated Penn State was his number one school.  In his last interview, he admitted that they were the longest of long shots to receive an official visit.

Marques Slocum- Philadelphia, Pa.  (West Catholic HS)  6-6, 330
While Penn State's Joe Paterno and Ron Vanderlinden both stopped to see Marques and his coach, Brian Fluck, at West Catholic HS, the giant offensive lineman has stated that he is down to Michigan and Michigan State.  The Nittany Lions put themselves behind the eight ball early in the recruiting process after offering Slocum late because of grade issues.  While those issues may or may not have been resolved, Slocum has decided to play his college ball in either East Lansing or Ann Arbor.

- Recruits Future -
Chris Hanna- Monroeville, Pa.  (Gateway HS) 6-4, 285. . .One of Justin King's road graders, Chris looks like a prospect for next season.

Jarrod Odrick- Lebanon, Pa. (Lebanon HS) 6-6, 295. . .The best underclass offensive lineman at the Penn State Nike Camp in May, Jarrod is broad-shouldered, almost slender tackle prospect, who is not even close to filling out.  He has also received major interest from Penn State.

J.B. Walton- Indian Head, Md. (Lackey HS) 6-3, 265. . .Teammate of Terp verbal commit Morgan Greene, J.B. has made some noise since his sophomore year.  He is rumored to have an early interest in Penn State.

Defensive Tackle:
After struggling to stop the run in 2003, Tommy Bradley's and Larry Johnson's defensive line really stepped up this season, especially Scott Paxson, Jay Alford, and Ed Johnson.  While the Nittany Lions are deep, A.Q. Shipley may move over to offensive line.

- Recruits Past -
going elsewhere: Todd Denlinger- Troy, Oh.  (Troy HS)  6-3, 275; Kade Weston- Little Silver, Nj.  (Red Bank Regional HS)  6-5, 300;

- Recruits Present -

Walker Ashley- Eden Prairie, Mn.  (Eden Prairie HS)  6-5, 285
* * *
Son of former Nittany Lion linebacker, Walker Lee Ashley, Mr. Ashley is a mountain of a young man.   He displayed great quickness and strength at Nike, which placed him only behind Melvin Alaeze as far as stud lineman went.  Born in Minnesota because his father played for the Vikings, Walker has shown a great deal of interest in Minnesota, Ohio State, USC, Oklahoma, and Penn State.  He once thought he would make an early verbal, but backed off that idea and visited USC, Ohio State, and Minnesota. After every visit, it seemed that school had caught his attention and made themselves the leader--a trend which hopefully continues on his Penn State visit in January.  Can the old man reel in another legacy and beat Ohio State, Oklahoma, and USC for another stud?  We'll see come January.

- Recruits Future -
Jason Pinkston- Pittsburgh, Pa.  (Baldwin HS)  6-5, 260. . .Named to the Tribune-Review Terrific 25.  Rumor has it Penn State, Pittsburgh, and West Virginia have already offered.  The best player in the state you have not heard of.

Phillip Taylor- Brandywine, Md.  (Gwynn Park HS)  6-3, 295. . .From Terp linebacker and former Nittany Lion recruit Wesley Jefferson's school, Phillip will be one of the most coveted lineman on the East Coast.

Defensive End:
Penn State does not appear like it will sign a defensive end in this class, but youngsters like redshirt freshmen Mike Lucian, Josh Gaines, and Tyrell Sales project at this position.  We also haven't seen much of redshirt sophomore Amani PurcellTamba Hali, Lavon Chisley, and Matthew Rice all return, giving Penn State a very formidable three defensive end rotation.  The problem is, however, each kid will be a senior next season.  Look for defensive end to be a critical focus of next year's incoming class.

- Recruits Past -
going elsewhere: Everette Brown- Wilson, Nc.  (Beddingfield HS)  6-2, 235; Auston English- Canadian, Tx.  (Canadian HS)  6-3, 225; Jeffrey Fitzgerald; Jeremy Navarre- Joppatowne, Md.  (Joppatowne HS)  6-4, 255

- Recruits Present -
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.  Penn State was not mentioned for much of the summer and then reappeared in late fall, due to a great job by Larry Johnson, Sr. and the interest in the Nittany Lions by Derrick Williams.  Melvin has not made his final choice, though it seems the recruiting process is beginning to ware on him.  If he takes a visit to Penn State, especially now with Williams in the fold, the Nittany Lions could become a major player.  If he chooses not to, I'd put my money on Maryland (teammate Jamari McCullough verballed there) with Virginia Tech being the darkest of dark horses.

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 had been very complementary things to say about the Nittany Lions since the beginning of his recruitment.  But earlier this summer, he took an unofficial visit to Columbus, Oh. and shocked many Penn State fans by verballing to The Ohio State University.  The Nittany Lion coaches continued to recruit him hard, especially after he stated that he may still take all of his official visits.  The Nittany Lions have since fallen off the map and any dreams of an official visit should be placed in the back of your mind.  He's a Buckeye through and through, which means he'll be seen harassing Penn State quarterbacks four or five times in the near future.

- Recruits Future -
Jordan Stevens- Monroeville, Pa. (Gateway HS) 6-4, 230. . .Shows tremendous burst from his rush end position.  Also, has the skills to be an athletic tight end.  Very intriguing prospect if he develops over the summer.

With one of the best young linebacking crew in the Big Ten, Penn State fans have a lot to look forward to next year.  Paul Posluszny established himself as the breakout star.  His mean streak and athleticism has garnered comparisons to greats from the past.  Not to be outdone is Dan Connor, Mr. Big Ten All-Freshman team.  Dan bounced from inside to outside, but found the ball carrier wherever he was playing.  Tim Shaw should regain his spot in the middle next year after battling minor injuries for most of the season.  Coach Paterno has stated that Shaw needs to get a bit tougher to overcome the "bumps" and play through them.  J.R. Zwierzynski adds good depth.  Freshman Dontey Brown and Tyrell Sales should see some time, as both were quite heralded coming out of high school.
- Recruits Past -
going elsewhere: Anthony Felder- Seattle, Wa.  (O'Dea HS)  6-3, 225; Jerome Hayes- Bayonne, Nj.  (Bayonne HS)  6-2, 220; Andre Mathis- Erie, Pa.  (Cathedral Prep)  6-2, 225

- Recruits Present -
Sean Lee- Pittsburgh, Pa.  (Upper St. Clair HS)  6-3, 215
Early in the spring, Sean was thought of by many as a safety at the next level.  But he has bulked up and with a ton of natural athleticism in tow, Sean became a dominant force in the WPIAL this fall from his linebacker position.  Once college coaches saw him play on Friday nights for Upper St. Clair HS, they couldn't fall over each other fast enough to offer him.  While Iowa, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and others piqued Sean's interest, Penn State's Tom Bradley and Joe Paterno really did a wonderful job sealing the deal.  Compared by some fans, who know football, to Paul Posluszny, Sean will play outside linebacker for the Nittany Lions.  His family certainly is one that is glad that Penn State and Pittsburgh do not play regularly anymore.  His older brother Connor is a kicker for the Panthers.  Talk about a potential family divided if the two Pennsylvania schools renew their rivalry in the next five years.

Steve Quinn- Philadelphia, Pa.  (St. Joseph's Prep)  6-3, 215
Like Sean Lee, Steve Quinn comes from the Paul Posluzny and Dan Connor mold.  Steve is another athletic linebacker that can run and cover running backs.  Playing for perennial national powerhouse, St. Joseph's Prep in Philadelphia, Steve was named 1st Team AAAA linebacker last Sunday despite being much less than one hundred percent for the entire season.

Brian Cushing- Oradell, Nj.  (Bergen Catholic HS)  6-3, 225
This New Jersey stud has had a stance on Penn State similar to that of former Don Bosco Prep linebacker Brian Toal.  One minute he likes them; the next he doesn't.  Cushing has taken official visits to USC and Louisville, with the Trojans in the forefront.  Although he has scheduled visits to Miami, Florida, and Virginia, some information suggests that the Cavaliers may be out (FWIW - I had him committing to them at the end), replaced by Boston College.  It is true that his father does like the Nittany Lions enough to encourage his son to visit Penn State, but will it be enough?  And, will the Williams commitment have an influence?

- Recruits Future -
Dorin Dickerson- Imperial, Pa.  (West Alleghany HS) 6-3, 205. . .A fantastic athlete, Dorin heads a long list of pretty good WPIAL linebackers.

Archie Donald- Pittsburgh, Pa.  (Penn Hills HS)  6-2, 220. . .Archie made the Tribune-Review's AAAA linebacker.

Jeremiha Hunter- Manheim, Pa. (Manheim Central HS) 6-2, 215. . .Probably the key to Manheim Central's success, Jeremiha will dominate a game from either his linebacking or runningback position.

Dan Loheyde- Monroeville, Pa. (Gateway HS) 6-2, 220. . .Another Gateway HS prospect (seeing a theme?), Dan has already garnered the attention of the Penn State coaches.  He plays a similar style to Steve Quinn and Sean Lee.

Nate Nix- Pittsburgh, Pa. (Thomas Jefferson HS) 6-3, 215. . .A kid who could really blow up once his body matures, Nate is another football player in the Paul Poz mold.  Athletic and tough.

Nate Williams- Pittsburgh, Pa. (Central Catholic HS)  6-2, 225. . .First Team All-State AAAA linebacker as a junior means you're pretty good.  Nate can develop into a pretty good inside linebacker on the next level.

Penn State needs quality cover corners in the worst way.  Not a glamor position like linebacker or Hero at Penn State, Joe Paterno has never had a cornerback named to an All-American team.  Alan Zemaitis is about as good as they come.  Teams rarely threw his way last season, meaning Anwar Phillips saw lots of action and he performed more than admirably.  Right now, fifth year senior Gio Vendemia's future is up in the air because he may not come back for a fifth year.  Brent Wise and Tony Davis have potential but need to step it up with Justin King now in town.

- Recruits Past -
going elsewhere: Mike Brown- Jersey City, Nj.  (St. Peter's Prep); Michael Ray Garvin- Ramsey, Nj.  (Don Bosco Prep)  5-8, 180; Jamari McCullough- Randallstown, Md.  (Randallstown HS)  5-11, 175; Anthony Wiseman- Hyattsville, Md.  (DeMatha Catholic HS)  5-10, 175

- Recruits Present -
Devin Fentress- Chesapeake, Va.  (Western Branch HS)  5-11, 170
* * ** *
If Brennan Coakley is the biggest sleeper in the Class of 2009, Devin Fentress must be considered sleeper 1a.  Devin verballed to Penn State earlier this fall seemingly out of nowhere.  While he does not have an "A" list of offers, Devin does possess tons of speed.  With some more physical corners now in the Nittany Lion camp, Devin will have the ability to redshirt and develop next season.

Willie Harriot- New Haven, Ct.  (Hyde Leadership HS)  5-10, 175
* * ** *
Speed, speed, and more speed seems to be the theme of this recruiting and Willie brings a boatload of it to the table.  Recruited to be either a lock down cornerback or slot receiver, Willie has the ability to take it to the house any time he touches the ball.  As a sophomore, Willie came to Nike Camp at Penn State and put himself on the map, competing and excelling against superstars like Derrick Williams, Justin King, and Ted Ginn, Jr.  Willie choose the Nittany Lions over Virginia Tech, Boston College, and Syracuse among others.

Justin King- Monroeville, Pa.  (Gateway HS)  6-0, 180
* * * **
Despite not being able to overcome a buzz saw in Pittsburgh Central Catholic in the PIAA state playoffs, Justin King still had a sensational senior season, capped off by making his verbal commitment for Penn State.  While people believe Michigan lead all along, the Nittany Lions, steer headed by the sensational recruiting job of Tom Bradley, pulled in the big time athlete.  Justin will have an immediate impact on a position at Penn State that needs depth desperately.  King, step-son of former Penn State great, Terry Smith, may also see some time at his dad's former position, wide receiver, because of his play-making ability.  Although both cornerback starters, Alan Zemaitis and Anwar Phillips, do return, Justin will see immediate time as a nickleback and on special teams as a kick and punt returner.

Knowledge Timmons- York, Pa.  (William Penn HS)  5-10, 175
A true burner, Knowledge brings speed to either side of the ball.  His coach has stated publically that if Penn State offered earlier this summer, Knowledge would have committed on the spot.  They did not and Timmons began to look at Minnesota, Maryland, Boston College, South Carolina, and North Carolina State, all of whom received official visits.  Penn State snuck back into the mix a bit, receiving an unofficial visit last week.  It looked it Knowledge would become a Terp on Thursday morning, until "something" changed his mind.  I would not want Ralph Friedgen hunting me down (bet he has a lot of stew recipes) if I were the administrator who "cut back" Derrick Williams' father at the University of Maryland.  Knowledge, like Willie Harriot and Lydell Sargaent, brings a lot of versatility.  He will probably get his first look at defensive back.

E.J. Biggers- North Miami Beach, Fl.  (North Miami Beach HS)  5-10, 160
E.J. played quarterback and cornerback in high school, but many schools, including Penn State, want him for the defensive side of the ball.  Despite his publicized forty time. 4.65, E.J. is a big time South Florida athlete.  He enjoyed his Nittany Lion visit, but Kansas looks like it will win out for him after he and his teammate visited officially last weekend (12/17).  Expect him to 'pop' for the Jayhawks any minute now.

Sean Smalls- Richmond, Va.  (Huguenot HS)  6-1, 180
One of the best defensive backs at the 2004 Nike Camp in State College, Sean has had a hot and cold love affair with Penn State.  After Kevin Cousins, his teammate, verballed to Penn State, many assumed he would join him at any time.  As time went by and Smalls did not commit to Penn State, the names Ohio State, Michigan, UCLA, and Maryland began to come up more.  Some question whether he actually has those offers, but at this point the Nittany Lions are not in a position to receive an official visit.  He did, however, visit Penn State a number of times this fall for games with his Huguenot teammates.

- Recruits Future -
Darrin Walls- Pittsburgh, Pa. (Woodland Hills HS) 6-1, 175. . .Another in a long line of Woodland Hills standout defensive backs, many Michigan fans already have him suiting up for the Maize and Blue!

Safety is a hard position to read.  The Nittany Lions have had recent success turning out pretty good safety prospects.  The next in line should be Spencer Ridenhour, who is as physically impressive as any player the Nittany Lions have.  Calvin Lowry, James Kanuch, Paul Cronin, and Donnie Johnson all return to bolster the Penn State secondary.

- Recruits Past -
going elsewhere: Marcus Wilson- Cherry Hill, Nj.  (Camden Catholic HS)  6-2, 190

- Recruits Present -
Anthony Scirrotto- Westerville, Nj.  (West Deptford HS)  6-1, 185
Another tremendous high school athlete, who played quarterback and defensive back for West Deptford HS, Anthony appears to be a safety for the Nittany Lions.  A favorite of Anthony's early on, Penn State did not initially offer until they had the opportunity to view his senior film.

Jonathan Casillas- New Brunswick, Nj.  (New Brunswick HS)  6-2, 200
Another late name in the recruiting process, Jonathon claims that although the Nittany Lions have not offered him a scholarship, the coaching staff has made a heavy push to get involved.  To little, to late it would appear.  He has already taken visits to Illinois, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and UConn.  Penn State hoped he would visit in January 14th, but it seems Jonathan would like to decide by that time.

Andre Pope- Cumberland, Md.  (Fort Hill HS)  5-11, 205
Andre's recruitment really heated up in the summer, but a knee injury has almost brought it to a complete halt.  Schools like Clemson, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech have backed off him a little.  He mentions Penn State, but it does not seem like the Nittany Lions are recruiting him very hard anymore.

Reggie Smith- Edmond, Ok.  (Santa Fe HS)  6-1, 195
* *
The Insiders #2 ranked safety in the land, Reggie has an offer from Penn State.  With the likes of USC, UCLA, Oklahoma, Kansas State, and Nebraska all over him, the Nittany Lions could still steal a visit from the sensational safety, though it seems unlikely.  He has been elected to the US Army All-American Game.  Bet on the Huskers here. 

- Recruits Future -
Brandon Livsley- Monroeville, Pa.  (Gateway HS) 6-3, 190. . .King teammate looks like a ball-hawking free safety.

Travis McBride- McKeesport, Pa. (McKeesport HS) 6-1, 185. . .McBride projects as an athlete (running back or defensive back).  He's been on Penn State's radar since Dontey Brown signed last February.

Myron Rolle- Princeton, Nj.  (The Hun School)  6-2, 205. . .Most likely the consensus #1 player in the nation for next year, Myron proved himself an absolute stud at the Penn State Nike Camp in 2004.  He has offers from just about everyone in the nation.  Keep an eye on Penn State, especially when it comes to academics.

With Penn State bringing in one of Pennsylvania's two best kickers last year as a preferred walk-on (Patrick Humes), the coaching staff wanted to sure up the position.  They may not be done with Kevin KellyJeremy Kapinos is as solid as they get.  He could be an All-American if the offense continues its struggles.

Kevin Kelly - Neshaminy, Pa.  (Neshaminy HS)  5-9, 160
Kevin has been in the recruiting public's eye, since Neshaminy won the AAAA Championship in 2001 when he was just a freshman.  The little left-footed kicker has displayed both power and accuracy during his high school career.  He's made some big kicks for a championship level team.  Lately, some have questioned his ability after a struggle in the 2004 State Playoffs, but Kevin insists it was abnormality and not the norm.  Nevertheless, Kelly will be given every opportunity to come in next season and win the job vacated by the departing Robbie Gould.

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