Scholarship Report: Who is Coming? Who is Going?

One the biggest questions floating around Penn State recruiting circles this year concerns the number of scholarship the Nittany Lion have to offer for their Class of 2009. With some shakeups around the program, that the number has increased recently. <p> But will PSU be able to fill them?

Before we jump into this exercise, which can be a complicated one, there are two things to keep in mind: First, every team is limited to awarding 85 scholarships overall and 25 in a given year. Also, consider that the scholarship count can be a very complicated number to track due to players being awarded scholarships and those departing early for a variety of reasons.

Who Is Going?

With the seniors scheduled to depart due to graduation, the Nittany Lions have 12 scholarships at their disposal for the incoming recruiting class. The departing scholarship seniors are:

John Bronson
Scott Davis
Mike Gasparato
Robbie Gould
Andrew Guman
Paul Jefferson
Nick Marmo
Zack Mills
Jason Robinson
Ryan Scott
Gerald Smith
Derek Wake

Aside from these seniors, there are a couple of players who are reportedly not returning for their final year of eligibility. They are:

Chris Ganter
Terrance Phillips
Kinta Palmer
Gio Vendemia

Fight on State recently learned of the departures of both Vendemia and Palmer. Also, there has been some debate around Phillips' departure, but according to Penn State Sports Information and various program observers he has elected to forgo his final year of eligibility. There has also been speculation around other players possibly leaving early, but at this stage there have been no substantiated reports or confirmations of any other premature departures of athletes on scholarship.

With the departure of Ganter, Vendemia, Palmer and Phillips, the available scholarship count would increase to 16 available from players departing the program.

However, if you look at the entire list of scholarship players which will be in the program heading into the 2005 season, it appears that there are 63 players on scholarship, which would put the total count of available scholarships for the Class of 2009 at 22.

There has been debate around whether Jordan Norwood and Kevin Suhey (both of whom greyshirted and are began full-time classes this week) are on scholarship. Let's assume they are, so that would bring the count to 65. With 65 players on scholarship heading into 2005, that means Penn State would have 20 scholarships to hand out in the Class of 2009.

Who Is Coming?

Early enrollment is a tactic Penn State has been using more regularly in recent years. This class is no different. With the Class of 2008 we saw three prospects enroll in January - Greg Harrison, Dan Connor and Elijah Robinson. Though these players were recruited with the Class of 2008, their scholarships counted against the Class of 2007 because they enrolled early.

Keeping this in mind, Penn State once again has some players who are enrolling early this month to start the spring semester at University Park. These early enrollees' scholarships will likely not count against the Class of 2009, but rather the Class of 2008's count.

Among the prospects who have enrolled early from the Class of 2009 are:

Derrick Williams
Justin King
Francis Claude

So with 20 total scholarships available, these three early enrollees take the count down to 17 available scholarships for the class of 2009 remember, these count against last season's total, which bumps up the number of players already on scholarship, thus reducing the grants available this year.

Currently, the Class of 2009 has 16 total committed prospects, including Daryll Clark, but not including Jordan Norwood or Kevin Suhey, who we have already have counted against the total scholarship count. Considering Derrick Williams, Justin King and Francis Claude will be enrolling early, that brings the count down to 13 prospects in the Class of 2009. So it would seem that the PSU staff has 13 players enrolling in August to fill 17 available scholarships.

This would leave four extra scholarships.

That count could actually be higher, since PSU often has players greyshirt, or delay their enrollment by a year so they count against the subsequent recruiting class. Since it is not clear if any current prospects will greyshirt, lets assume that none are, which would leave four scholarships remaining.

Aside from this, if Norwood, Suhey or any other players are not on scholarship and end up walking on, this would shift the available scholarship number up.

Who Else Is Coming?

That is more easily asked than answered. There are some names left on the board who could decide to join the Class of 2009 and seem to have PSU on their final list of schools. Some are considered "longshots" for the Lions, but here are some of the names that are left on the board:

Walker Ashley
J.R. Hasty
Travis Norton
Brandon Gilbeaux
Bruce Williams
Brian Cushing
Jonathan Hannah
Todd Nolan
Jarome Hayes
Reggie Smith
Mickey Shuler

Obviously there are several questions remaining as to who is going and who is coming, but hopefully this helps clarify the overall scholarship picture to a small degree for PSU fans.

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