FL RB Has Ties To PA

Mandarin High School running back Brian Dennison is no doubt an impressive prospect. The Nittany Lions are hoping that he decides to return to Pennsylvania.

Name: Brian Dennison
Position: RB
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 194 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.4
School: Mandarin High School, Jacksonville, Florida

Brian split time in the backfield last year with Cedric Taylor, also an extremely talented back.  The duo led Mandarin to an 8-2 record.  Cedric was very interested in Penn State but was unable to qualify academically.  He will enroll in Butler Community College in Butler, Kansas next month and hopes to improve his academic standing and play Division I football in the fall of 2003.

Despite sharing rushing duties with Taylor, Dennison still managed to post impressive statistics.

"I had 102 carries for 1,065 yards," Brian said.  "I had 2,563 all-purpose yards and 32 touchdowns."

He earned several post-season honors as a result of his efforts.

"I got All-District, All-Regional, All-Area and I got Mr. Playmaker of the Year in Jacksonville."

Brian possesses impressive speed.  He recently ran the 40-yard dash at 2 separate combines in 4.38 and 4.41 seconds.

"I'm like a Marshall Faulk type of running back.  I catch the ball out of the backfield, I can run up inside and I can break it outside.  Most people say that I'm mysterious when I run because you never know what I'm going to do."

According to his head coach, Richard Burnoski, several big-time programs including Florida State, Miami, Wake Forest, South Carolina, Notre Dame, Southern Cal and Illinois have already offered Dennison.

Dennison claims to very open at this stage of the recruiting process.

The Nittany Lions are also very interested in Brian and actually have an advantage over many other out-of-state teams.  Brian grew up in Philaldelphia and still has family there.

"Growing up, I liked Penn State because I'm originally from Philadelphia.  I watched games there before at the stadium when I was a little kid.  My dad and I moved down here, but the rest of the family is up there.  I also liked Florida State and Miami.  I also liked the L.A. teams because they used to throw the ball a lot and liked watching that.

"I was mostly a Florida State fan, but they (uncles) tried to put Penn State in my mind since we were from Pennsylvania.  They were big on Penn State and still are."

Brian is willing to leave the state of Florida if he finds a situation desirable to him.

"I'm basically open to every school.  I'm not close-minded to any school because you never know what a school has to offer education-wise or playing-wise."

There have been reports that Brian's father played running back for Penn State, but Brian said that his father did not play college ball.

"My dad was offered by Penn State when he played for Frankford High School.  He played when Blair Thomas was there.  He hurt his knee and I came into the picture, so he went off to the Navy and now we're in Jacksonville."

Brian returns to Philly every summer to visit family and friends.

According to Coach Bruno, Jay Paterno was at Mandarin High last Tuesday (5/7) and indicated to Coach Bruno that he wanted to offer Brian a scholarship, but that he first needed to take back film of Dennison to the position coach and get approval.

Dennison realizes the importance of academics.

"I'm straight on my grades.  I know that's what comes first, so I'm not going to slack off on that.  I just got done taking the ACT so I'm waiting for that score to come back."

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