PSU Postpones Official Visits

St. Augustine (Fla.) High RB Brandon James told that official visits scheduled to Penn State for the upcoming weekend have been cancelled by Lion football coach Joe Paterno. "The word that I got was that Coach Paterno came into the team's meeting and said he didn't want any distractions," James said.

Penn State, 5-0 and ranked No. 16, faces No. 6 Ohio State (3-1 in an ESPN game Saturday at 7:45 p.m. It is the Lions' biggest game in years and the biggest game on the college football schedule Saturday, with the ESPN GameDay crew slated to be on hand.

James said he had mixed feelings about Paterno's decision to cancel the visits. At least four other players were known to be making official visits to Penn State this weekend, including James' teammate and half brother, Jacques Rickerson.

Another Florida product, linebacker Colin McCarthy of Central Catholic High in Clearwater, and Benjamin Tate, a four-star running back from Decatur High in Berlin, Md., were also slated to make official visits.

"I'm actually kind of angry about it," James said. "I was looking forward to coming for the game because of the atmosphere. I was really looking forward to it. It doesn't change my overall feeling, but it changes my feeling on what direction they want to go with. It makes me feel like they're just worried about this year and not looking ahead. I can't fault him, though."

"It's very disappointing, you want to come there during a game situation and see how the team performs," added McCarthy, who said he was told of the change Tuesday. "I wanted to see what it was like to be there on the field in front of 110,00 people."

When asked whether he intended to reschedule his official visit to Penn State, James replied, "I'm not sure right now."

McCarthy added: "I have some other things to work out first, maybe if it works out I will but I'm not sure right now."

James said that St. Augustine High coach Joey Wiles, a Pennsylvania native, was not happy about the decision to cancel all official visits.

"My coach was irate about it," James said. "He said the [Penn State] coaches were trying to convince Coach Paterno [not to cancel the official visits].

James went on to say that he was informed the decision to cancel the official visits was "solely Coach Paterno's decision."

Despite the cancelled official visit, James said he remains interested in the Nittany Lions.

"I'm really interested," James said. "Everything Coach Jay Paterno was telling me in the spring with the recruits that they were going to open things up on offense, and that's the direction they want to go with. I was excited to come up to see it live. I kind of got my hopes down a bit."

Penn State will still host as many as 15 unofficial visitors this weekend, including Eric Latimore, Jared Odrick, Jason Kates, Aaron Maybin, J.B. Walton, Johnnie Troutman, Lou Eliades and South Carolina standout Adam Patterson, a defensive tackle. recruiting expert Bob Lichtenfels and FOS staffer Mark Brennan contributed to this report.


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