FOS Recruiting Report: QBs

The Spring Evaluation Period has come to an end, bringing the Penn State assistant coaches back to State College for the summer. The coaches spent a month on the road visiting high schools across the country, gathering film, talking to coaches, and attending combines, all in an effort to find the best seniors-to-be for the Class of 2006.

Their travels appear to have been well worth it, as Penn State gained two verbal commitments during the evaluation period and is receiving strong interest from some of the nation's most talented seniors-to-be. A common theme has emerged when reading comments from players listing Penn State among their favorites. The Nittany Lions are seen as a program on the rise once again, thanks to the arrival of freshmen Derrick Williams and Justin King and the promise of a stout defense featuring star linebackers Paul Posluszny and Dan Connor.

This year's prospects have been made well aware of the high hopes that the coaches have for this team. There is only one thing standing between Penn State and a potentially outstanding recruiting class – wins. Nearly every top prospect listing Penn State cites the coaching staff, the players and the Penn State campus and football facilities as reasons why they like the Nittany Lions. Now, they are waiting to see if the Lions can put the nightmare of the past two seasons behind them and start winning again.

In this month's Recruiting Report, I'll look at the top prospects that the Penn State coaches appear to have targeted for this recruiting class.

We'll start off with the quarterback situation with the Class of 2006.

Quarterback

Penn State made it known that they were looking to recruit two quarterbacks in this recruiting class. They're halfway to that goal following the verbal commitment of New Jersey standout Brett Brackett. That turned all eyes toward Downingtown East's Pat Devlin, who was thought to be Penn State's top quarterback target.

Devlin has numerous Penn State ties, but Brackett's commitment may mean that Devlin will look elsewhere. Virginia has been a strong contender throughout for Devlin's services thanks in part to Downingtown quarterback coach and former Cavalier quarterback Dan Elllis. The Cavaliers have made Devlin their top priority at quarterback, and their depth chart appears more favorable at this point. The question now is whether Penn State will still attempt to sign two quarterbacks if Devlin commits to another school.

Brett Brackett (6-6, 235, 4.71, Lawrence HS, Lawrenceville, NJ)

Brett Brackett became Penn State's first verbal commitment for the Class of 2006 back on May 11. He was well on his way to becoming one of the nation's top quarterback prospects after throwing for 1,583 yards and 16 touchdowns as a sophomore, but his junior year was not as productive. Brackett finished the 2004 season with 856 yards and eight touchdowns while running for 250 yards and eight rushing touchdowns.

In a Scout interview following his verbal commitment, Brackett explained the drop in passing yardage during his junior year, saying "We lost all our receivers after [2003] and had some 1,000-yard running backs, so I only threw it like 100 times, but we won and that is most important."

Penn State offered Brackett a scholarship in early May following Zach Frazer's verbal commitment to Notre Dame. A solid performance at the Elite College Combine in New Jersey brought nine more offers including Louisville and Ole Miss, but none of those offers could compare with the chance to quarterback the Nittany Lions.

"I just had a gut feeling when I was there, it's a great situation," Brackett told Scout's Bob Lichtenfels, "I felt comfortable with the offense and the coaches, and Penn State people are my kind of people."

Brackett was recruited by offensive line coach Dick Anderson. He is working to improve his athleticism and skill set by training once a week at the renowned Parisi Speed School with former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms.

Stay tuned for further reports on the recruiting situations of each of Penn State's positions by Scott Cole.

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