The Lions' Lounge (Part 1)

Who are the Penn State coaches zeroing in on? How will the current verbals fit into the program? Find out all you need to know about Penn State recruiting as we revive Jamie Trescavage's popular feature, the Lions' Lounge.


Fight On State's Prospect Key:
- Penn State verbal commitment! = 5 Blue Paws
- Penn State leads or co-leads. = 4 Blue Paws
- Penn State mentioned in a "favorite" school list. = 3 Blue Paws
- Penn State mentioned. = 2 Blue Paws
- Penn State does not interest the prospect. = 1 Blue Paw

Quarterback: (1 needed)
Brett Brackett- Lawrence, N.J.  (Lawrence HS) 6-5, 235, 4.71
* * * **
Brett BrackettPenn State fans were more than elated back on May 12, when Brett Brackett (left) made a verbal commitment to the Nittany Lions.  This New Jersey gun-slinger has a Kerry Collins-esque body with surprising ability to get outside the pocket if a play breaks down.  When compared to other quarterbacks Penn State has recruited over the years, Brackett's high school numbers are not tremendous but it is through no fault of his own -- blame it on graduation. As a sophomore, he had two veteran wide receivers but they moved on to college, shifting the offense to a running style to showcase their solid running back.  Still, Brackett was more than able to grab the attention of college coaches. That attention was only intensified after a tremendous Elite Combine workout, which opened the flood gates for offers.  He choose Penn State shortly after over schools like Louisville, North Carolina State, Rutgers, Duke, Boston College, Ole Miss and others.
Pat Devlin- Downington, Pa. (Downington East HS) 6-4, 200, 4.70
*
Despite a Nittany Lion lineage, Penn State fell out of the race for Devlin, who eventually committed to Miami.

Zach Frazer- Mechanicsburg, Pa.  (Mechanicsburg HS)  6-4, 215, 5.00
*
Pennsylvania's number two quarterback, Zach Frazer gave Penn State a look early in his recruiting process. He decided, however, to give Charlie Weis' Notre Dame Fighting Irish a verbal commitment back on April 14.

Demetrius Jones- Chicago, Ill.  (Morgan Park HS) 6-3, 190, 4.70        
*
Demetrius Jones has some interesting choices ahead of him. His two favorite schools, Illinois and Notre Dame, have been flip-flopping like crazy in his mind. Not that it should matter, but both of the schools already have received commitments from pretty good quarterbacks -- the aforementioned Frazer to Notre Dame and Isiah Williams to Illinois (mentioned directly below). Could the commitments open the door for other schools to steal Jones away? Maybe, but at this point, it's highly unlikely the PSU would be that school.

Isiah Williams- Chicago, Il.  (Chicago Vocational HS) 6-2, 220, 4.70        
*
The dual-treat, Midwest Fab-15 quarterback will be facing Penn State when they play Illinois during their Big Ten schedule. Williams committed to the Illini in late May after giving the Nittany Lions only minimal interest.

Running Back: (2 needed)
LeSean McCoy- Harrisburg, Pa. (Bishop McDevitt HS) 5-11, 200, 4.45
* * *
LeSean McCoyThe nation's #2 running back, LeSean McCoy (left) will be able to choose whichever school he desires comes February 2006.  An explosive runner, "Shady" combines blinding speed, power, and wiggle to account for his 2,828 yards and 33 touchdowns as a junior.  On the field for the star-studded Bishop McDevitt HS squad, McCoy outshines them all.  He initially discounted Penn State because of their recent struggles on the field.  However, with Joe Paterno and Co. bringing in talent on the level of Derrick Williams and Justin King, he has begun to take notice of what the Nittany Lions really have to offer him both academically and athletically.  The Penn State coaches and players will certainly keep reminding McCoy that the Nittany Lions only have three true tailbacks on scholarship (Tony Hunt, Austin Scott, and Rodney Kinlaw) for the 2005 season.  Playing time as a true freshman is almost guaranteed.  McCoy will have no problem hitting the field early at all of the schools that he currently lists in his top nine, including Penn State, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech and USC.

DeMarco Murray- Las Vegas, Nev.  (Gorman HS) 6-0, 185, 4.40
* *
With its booming population and wealth of money, Ryan Reynolds (Oklahoma signee) and DeMarco Murray look like the beginning of a nice run of a high school football talent from Las Vegas.  One of the West's top players, Murray combined vision and speed to weave his way for 1,271 yards last season.  According to Murray, he's got a list of 10 schools but it's not solid yet.  Penn State was listed at one point with Oklahoma, USC, Miami, Florida, Florida State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Texas A&M, and LSU, but has since disappeared from his list.

Evan Royster- Centreville, Va.  (Westfield HS) 6-0, 190, 4.45
* * *
Evan Royster, the brother of former Penn State recruit and Stanford signee Brandon Royster, is one of the top academic players on Penn State's board.  Put academics aside for a second, the kid can run the ball and will be considered one of the top offensive players in Virginia for 2005.  Penn State does not get much mention from Royster, but the Nittany Lions are on his list, though not high.  Right now, he's concentrating on offers from Oklahoma, Nebraska, Virginia and Maryland, but hopes to receive offers from Florida, Alabama and Tennessee in the near future.

Benjamin Tate- Newark, Md.  (Snow Hill HS) 5-10, 205, 4.40
* **
It would appear that if LeSean McCoy is 1A on Penn State's wish list for its running back spots, Benjamin Tate is definitely 1B.  Though he does not have the blinding breakaway speed that McCoy possesses, Tate takes a back seat to no one using a tough bruising running style to squeeze every last inch out of each run.  That's not to say that Tate is not fast--at the State College Nike Camp, he ran a 4.41 40-yard dash.  After stating he planned on scheduling official visits before deciding his final destination, Tate shocked many Penn State fans by giving Auburn a soft verbal commitment after camping there this summer.  While he says he will be a Tiger next year, schools like Maryland, Virginia, and Penn State still have an opportunity to change his mind.  Tate, like Derrick Williams, Dan Connor, and Justin King, hopes to graduate high school in December and enroll in college for the spring semester. 

Garry Warren- Elizabeth, N.J.  (Elizabeth HS) 5-10, 185, 4.32
* * *
Some very respected New Jersey observers feel Garry Warren might be the best running back in the state in what appears to be a very deep and talented group.  While he will not run through defensive backs and linebackers, he certainly has the jets to zip by them in the open field.  The second-team All-State selection has one confirmed offer from Boston College, but probably has written scholarships from Penn State and Rutgers too.  Last season for Elizabeth HS, Warren racked up 1,900 yards against some pretty stiff competition in northern New Jersey.

Wide Receiver: (2 needed)
Andrey Baskin- Camden, N.J.  (Woodrow Wilson HS) 6-4, 200, 4.60
*
One of the top wide receivers on the East Coast, Andrey Baskin hails from Woodrow Wilson HS in Camden which seemingly has at least D1 player a year.  Like all of them (with the exception of Elijah Robinson), Baskin has no interest in Penn State.  He has focused his attention to Iowa, Michigan, USC, Tennessee and Syracuse.  Don't be surprised to see him follow former teammate Marcus Wilson to Iowa.


Chris BellChris Bell- Norfolk, Va. (Granby HS) 6-3, 205, 4.45
* * *
With the recent scuttlebutt by some Nittany Lions with "connections" that Chris Bell (right) came to Penn State and simply dominated the camp, hope has been restored for many recruitniks that Penn State may be on the right track to firmly rebuilding its depleted wide receiver corp with true blue-chip talent.  Bell apparently spent some QT (quality time) with JoePa in an effort to show the Granby HS star that he and Penn State are like peas and carrots, peanut butter and jelly, or spaghetti and meatballs (the latter being the coach's choice).  He hails from the same high school as Penn State junior offensive lineman Levi Brown and former Penn State corner back Anthony King.  Bell was recently named #46 on Scout.com's Hot 100 list.

Percy Harvin- Virginia Beach, Va.  (Landstown HS) 5-11, 182, 4.34
*
The most electric player on the East Coast, Percy Harvin has been called by some, the nation's #1 high school football player.  Last season Penn State signee Derrick Williams had that distinction--but don't expect lightning to strike twice.  Harvin has already basically narrowed his list to Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Miami, Tennessee and USC.  Rumor has it that he's a life-long Seminole fan.

Vidal HazeltonVidal Hazelton- Staten Island, N.Y.  (Moore Catholic HS) 6-4, 200, 4.50
* *
The subject of much debate lately, Vidal Hazelton (left) does not appear to be considering Penn State very strongly at this point.  An athletic, physically built wide receiver, the Staten Island native left visiting coaches speechless at the State College Nike Camp.  He's a glider in the mold of a Randy Moss, but is put together enough that cornerbacks will have a great deal of difficulty locking him down at the line of scrimmage.  With 40 plus offers on his plate, Hazelton has his choice of schools.  It appears right now that the Florida schools, along with Virginia and Maryland, have been occupying his mind.  This is one kid that could be influenced by a Penn State offense that should muster up at least a touchdown per game in 2005.  Hazelton was recently named #6 on Scout.com's Hot 100 list.

Chris James- Chicago, Ill.  (Morgan Park HS) 6-0, 180, 4.70
*
A cousin of the aforementioned Demetrius Jones, James verbally committed to Ron Zook and the Fighting Illini of Illinois.

John Maddox- Philadelphia, Pa. (West Catholic HS) 6-3, 170, 4.50
* * * *
John Maddox did not look physically impressive during the Nike Camp at State College.  But to his credit, it was explained that he had been sick and lost weight because of the illness.  Needless to say, Maddox needs to improve his strength once he gets to college if he wants to tap into his potential.  On film, Maddox runs sharp routes and catches the ball with little to no effort.  While he will not blaze by corners with Derrick Williams-esque speed, his ability to run precise routes puts him at a distinct advantage over the corner back covering him.  While he has teammates entering Notre Dame (Darrell Hand) and maybe Michigan (Marques Slocum), Maddox has stated that he has a high interest in Penn State.

Damon McDaniel- Virginia Beach, Va.  (Landstown HS) 6-0, 190
*
Teaming with Percy Harvin to form what has to be the deadliest most explosive wide receiver tandem in years, Damon McDaniel takes a back seat to no one.  While Penn State offered, he has about as much interest in the Nittany Lions as he would for a root canal.  Look for McDaniel to head South, probably a Florida school.

Warren Wilson- New Hampton, N.H.  (The New Hampton School)  6-2, 185, 4.50
* * *
One of the highlights of this year's State College Nike Camp, Warren Wilson displayed speed, agility and a great pair of hands.  While many watched the wide receivers looking to see Maddox and Hazelton, Wilson left many asking, "who's Wilson?"  Wilson, who hails from Massachussetts, plays football in the talent hotbed of New Hampshire.  While the competition in the state may not be great, Wilson still impresses with his raw talent and speed.  At this point, he has offers from Penn State, Boston College, Northwestern, Purdue and Vanderbilt.  Don't be shocked to see it come down to Penn State and Boston College.

Tight End: (1 needed)

Nate Byham- Franklin, Pa.  (Franklin HS) 6-4, 220, 4.65
*
A tremendous athlete, who ranks as the top tight end on the East Coast, Nate Byham (right) exploded onto the scene during the SpringNate Byham Evaluation period after not being listed very highly in the initial Pennsylvania prospect lists.  Byham fits the style of the new hybrid tight ends that many college and professional teams are drooling over these days.  He can run like a wide receiver but will not shy away from contact and stay with his blocks.  If Galen Hall's Z-Back is a real entity in Penn State's offense for the future, this kid would fit it ideally.  At this point, however, Penn State is a non-existent player for Byham.  The Nittany Lions got in on him late in the process, after schools like Pittsburgh, Michigan and Iowa made their pitch.  While those three schools look to be top on his list, mighty USC is lurking in the shadows with Tennessee, Oklahoma and Miami.

Jeff Cumberland- Columbus, Ohio  (Brookhaven HS) 6-4, 221, 4.47
* * *
Jeff Cumberland burst on the scene for many people not in the state of Ohio after a breakout, MVP performace at the Columbus Elite Combine.  At 6-4 and 221 pounds, Jeff ran a legit 4.47-second 40-yard dash, 4.28 shuttle, and 7.23 L-Cone, in addition to a showcasing a 34-inch vertical and a 9-8 standing broad jump.  According to Cumberland, Penn State offered a scholarship, believing he would fit perfectly into Galen Hall's aforementioned Z-Back position, a hybrid wide receiver and tight end.  While he may not be as known a commodity as some of his peers, Penn State and Minnesota are both in his top five and have both offered.  They join Miami, Ohio State and USC as the schools he is looking at closely, but have not offered yet.  He was recently named #36 on Scout.com's Hot 100 list.

Dedrick Epps- Richmond, Va. (Huguenot HS) 6-4, 227
* * *
Another superior athlete from Coach Richard McFee's football factory down at Huguenot HS in Richmond, Va., Dedrick Epps is another jumbo athlete who fits the mold of a wide receiver/tight end hybrid.  At the State College Nike Camp, Epps impressed with his size, speed and ability to catch the pass.  Coach McFee, a favorite of many message board posters, has had a long-standing relationship with Penn State, sending kids like OLB Eric Sturdifan, CB Bruce Branch, and 2005 signee WR Kevin Cousins up to State College.  Epps also has an interest in Penn State after attending one session of summer camp this year.  However, he seems to have a more profound interest in Michigan, where he tried to commit this summer but some confusion clouded exactly what happened.  To make a long story short, Epps is still on the market and looking at Penn State, Michigan, Miami and Tennessee among others.

Drew Gloster- Damascus, Md.  (Good Counsel HS) 6-4, 225, 4.60
* *
Drew Gloster, a one time message board lock to be a Nittany Lion on August 10 (when he will announce), now appears to be headed elsewhere.  Another State College Nike Camp standout, he has a tight end's build with wide receiver instincts and athleticism.  That athleticism may also be suited for a defensive end or linebacker position, depending on how much Drew grows over his maturation period.  The honorable mention for All-State now holds offers from Pittsburgh, Miami, Purdue, Illinois, Ohio State, West Virginia, Virginia, Georgia, Nebraska, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Florida, Miami, Oklahoma, Boston College, Penn State, Michigan State and North Carolina.  At this point, the Dawgs, Hurricanes and Hokies have moved above the pack after receiving recent offers from each.
Offensive Line: (4-5 needed)
Lou Eliades- Oakhurst, N.J.  (Ocean Township HS)  6-4, 283, 5.10
* **
A new name on the Penn State radar, according to Scout.com's Bob Lichtenfels, Lou Eliades (left) is one of the top offensive lineman on the East Coast that he has seen.  At this Lou Eliadespoint, Penn State needs to build depth on the offensive line. Eliades made an unofficial visit to Penn State last weekend, leaving Happy Valley with a scholarship offer in hand.  He mentions South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Tennessee as the schools that top his list.  The Nittany Lions have impressed him enough to add their name to the ledger.  Eliades has set an official visit for Oct. 8, when Penn State faces Ohio State.

Doug Klopacz- Montvale, N.J.  (St. Joseph's Regional HS)  6-3, 260
* * **
Another new offensive line name to emerge from Penn State's summer camp, Doug Klopacz just recently received a letter stating that he had a Penn State offer.  Klopacz says he was one of three or four lineman singled out in camp to work privately with the Nittany Lion coaching staff.  Although Doug plans on taking his time with the decision, he admitted that Penn State has been his dream school since he was a boy.  At 6-3, 260, it appears that the Nittany Lion staff sees him as a guard at the collegiate level.  He fits the mold of the successful Penn State offensive lines recruited in the past--athletic with room to grow naturally. 

Abe Koroma- Takoma Park, Md.  (The Milton S. Hershey School)  6-3, 275
* * ** *
Abe Koroma became the fourth Nittany Lion verbal commitment (second from Pennsylvania) when he chose Penn State after visiting unofficially during last weekend's Junior Day.  Koroma, whose mother is a native of Sierra Leone in Africa, is actually from Maryland and not Pennsylvania.  He's attended The Milton Hershey School since first grade.  Another versatile lineman and Larry Johnson recruit, Koroma projects at either defensive tackle or guard at Penn State.  According to The Patriot-News, he also had offers from North Carolina, Vanderbilt, West Virginia and Temple. Koroma believes he will play defensive tackle in college, but we list him here because there is always a chance of player with his size and athletic ability can end up on the offensive line.

Antonio Logan-El- Forestville, Md.  (Forestville HS) 6-6, 320, 5.20
* * *
Antonio Logan-El commited to the Terps way back during his junior year of high school.  After weighing some options, he's now being called the dreaded "soft" verbal, meaning he whispered quietly when he told The Fridge he was coming to College Park.  Now that Logan-El is looking around a bit, Penn State has re-emerged as a school he probably will officially visit.  The Nittany Lions are joined by Oklahoma, Illinois, Virginia, Florida and Boston College, but all still remain behind the in-state Turtles.  Last weekend he visited Penn State unofficially with his friend and fellow Penn State target Aaron Maybin (listed below).  He was recently named #37 on Scout.com's Hot 100 list.

Lee TilleyLee Tilley- Springfield, Ohio  (Springfield South HS) 6-6, 310
* *
A barrell-chested offensive tackle prospect, Lee Tilley (right) was recently named #66 on Scout.com's Hot 100 list.  The prototype for left tackle with his long arms and nasty disposition, Lee has an advantage over most senior tackle prospects having played for a high school team that loves to throw the ball.  While not prominently mentioned as a school recruiting Tilley heavily, he has stated that Penn State's coaches offered him last spring.  The Nittany Lions are on the outside looking in however, as he chopped his list to a workable dirty dozen--considering offers from Oklahoma, Arizona State, Auburn, Washington, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana State, N.C. State, Clemson, South Carolina, Cincinnati and Virginia Tech.

J.B. Walton- Indian Head, Md. (Lackey HS) 6-3, 270, 5.10
* * *
One of the most athletic offensive lineman in the nation, J.B. Walton has been a name that recruitniks have known since he was a sophomore in high school.  According to his coach, Walton is the prototypical pulling guard because of his quick feet and explosion out of his stance making it easy for him to get out and open a hole for a tailback.  The only knock on him has been his lack of nasty disposition or fire that offensive lineman need to finish their blocker off.  Once thought to be a battle between Maryland and Penn State, Walton's list has grown to seven schools--Tennessee, Penn State, Nebraska, Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma and Ohio State.  Surprisingly, the Terps did not make the cut, but the Nittany Lions are right there with the other six schools vying for his signature.  Although he recently stated that the Sooners might have an advantage right now, Larry Johnson and the Penn State coaching staff continue to be mentioned with high regard by Walton.

Daniel Wenger- Fort Lauderdale, Fla.  (St. Aquinas HS)  6-4, 285, 5.30
* * *
One of the top centers in the nation, Daniel Wenger recently parred his list down to his final five schools -- Penn State, Alabama, Oklahoma, Duke and Florida.  While the Southern schools might appear to have the in when it comes to Wenger's recruitment, he is actually a native of Pennsylvania transplanted in sunny, tropical Fort Lauderdale.  Another very cerebral player, Wenger has stated that academics will be a very important factor in his final decision.  Unlike his teammate Sam Young (listed below), Wenger has not taken an unofficial visit to Penn State this spring, so his family roots and official visit will be crucial to landing this mauler.

Sam YoungSam Young- Fort Lauderdale, Fla.  (St. Thomas Aquinas HS) 6-7, 285, 5.25
* * *
The nation's #2 offensive lineman and #9 overall player can't be looking at Penn State, can he?  Wait but he's from the state of Florida and Penn State has about as much presence there as the ACLU has in communist China.  Well, with the help of Mike McQuery and his tireless recruiting, Penn State has put itself in excellent shape with Big Sam.  Young (left) actually grew up in Pittsburgh and his family roots for Penn State (and surprisingly not Pitt) quite ardently.  The prototypical left tackle recently visited Notre Dame and Michigan, but says that Penn State and Florida are after him the hardest.  Don't expect anything to come until he takes his official visits, but expect Penn State to be in it until the end.  The Nittany Lions have also offered his teammate Daniel Wenger (who can be found listed above), making the St. Thomas Aquinas duo one of the nation's most dominant inside out duos on the offensive line.

Fight On State Top Stories