All-American Final Analysis

The analyst spent a week in San Antonio covering the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and Junior Combine. He returned with a pad full of notes and a tape recorder packed with interviews. This is his first report since returning.

Class Acts

After spending a full week with Justin King and Terry Smith, I have come away with away with many thoughts. One is I have developed a strong bond with Justin and Terry, they are great people. I personally will make the trek to Happy Valley to see Justin play, as long as Terry, a former Nittany Lion receiver, hooks me up with some tickets. Terry handled himself well with the media and in coaching some of the nation’s finest athletes. I think Terry has a bright future ahead of him at the next level, when and if he makes the jump. Penn State is not only getting a great player in Justin King, but a fine young student-athlete as well.

Justin began the week with a rough start in the one on ones, but he rebounded well. For me that was a big deal, that showed he could bounce back from adversity and play well. I would venture to guess not too many kids in Western Pennsylvania have ever beaten Justin one on one. He responded well. In practice he made several nice plays. King has that aura of greatness about him. I truly hope Joe Paterno uses this kid as an all-around weapon. He can run, catch, return and he does it all at a high level. King, Lydell Sargeant and Derrick Williams will give opposing Big Ten coaches nightmares when they prepare for the Nittany Lions.

During the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, King was beaten once by game MVP DeSean Jackson, who got behind him then pulled the ball away from King in mid-air. King manned his corner spot well, especially considering that you are on an island in these types of games with no blitzing. King showed his speed when he returned a kickoff for 45 yards, and just missed breaking it.

Hayes Alert

New Jersey linebacker Jerome Hayes appears to be very interested in Penn State. If Paterno and company put on the full-court press, it may be hard for him to say no. This could come down to him staying home and going to Rutgers, or heading to State College. Hayes won’t visit Penn State. He said he has been there a number of times, so there is basically nothing left for him to see there.

Cushing Update

Another Jersey ’backer, Brian Cushing, may be a possibility, too. King told me Cushing was planning on possibly going to USC, but during the week in San Antonio he was not fond of the distance from home. I then confirmed that with Cushing, he was not happy being so far from home, and basically my feeling is USC will not be his final destination.

Of course, things change, so we shall see.


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