Lions Target Top 100

With Jared Odrick becoming the second Scout Top 100 player to join Penn State's Class of 2006, the Nittany Lions now turn their focus to several other Top 100 prospects in an effort to close out their recruiting efforts on a high note. See who the Lions are pursuing and where they stand.

With 12 members of Penn State's Class of 2006 already pledged to the Nittany Lions, the PSU staff is focused on a variety of prospects, including several more Top 100 prospects to add to the two they have already landed with Chris Bell and Jared Odrick.

Vidal Hazelton, WR, No. 6

Overview: A 6-foot-2, 200 pound, 4.5 second forty wide receiver from Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, VA, Hazelton is taking a hard look at the Nittany Lions. Earlier this month he visited Happy Valley and described his visit, saying, "It was crazy, I had a lot of fun. I would rate the trip a 12, it exceeded my expectations. I like them a lot; they have a real good shot at getting me."

Candidates: His final four are USC, Miami, Virginia Tech and Penn State.

Edge: With an East Coast connection, strong ties to Lions like Derrick Williams and a new wide open offense, Penn State could be the team to beat.

Bottom Line: This battle is shaping up to be an East Coast-West Coast battle between the Trojans and Lions. Don't count out a late push from the Hokies and Hurricanes, but Penn State made a strong impression on the wideout and has done everything they can to land the Virginia star. I also doesn't hurt that PSU has developed a pipeline to Va., developing standouts like Michael Robinson, Deon Buter, Levi Brown, Tony Hunt and Jeremy Kapinos, all of whom are from the state.

Announcement Date: January 7, U.S. Army Bowl

LeSean McCoy, RB, No. 17

Overview: Over the past two weeks the rumors around McCoy have been rampant, describing some alleged issues around his trip to Penn State. The Lions have had McCoy on the top of their board since 2004. With questions around his academic situation he may have to take a year to go the prep school route, however, this remains to be seen.

Candidates: USC, Virginia Tech.

Edge: With lots of questions circulating around McCoy, this could be a battle between Virginia Tech and Penn State.

Bottom Line: Observers feel PSU has an edge, but it will depend on how his situation develops. McCoy has been a major target for Penn State for quite some time, however, his qualification status and adaptability to the program could cause some shifts in his decision process.

Announcement Date: January 7, U.S. Army Bowl

Antoino Logan-El, OL, No. 39

Overview: A Maryland verbal, Logan-El has been considering Penn State for the better part of the season. Although he does not plan to visit PSU officially, he was up for the Ohio State game and described it as, "Electric. It was crazy and it blew me away." He also talked about his thoughts on the PSU program, saying, "They are changing things there. They are building up that program again and I wouldn't mind being a part of that."

Candidates: Maryland, Florida, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia and Penn State.

Edge: Observers feel Penn State has the edge with Logan-El since he made the visit for the Ohio State game.

Bottom Line: This is seemingly brewing into a Maryland-Penn State battle, so it could come down to his comfort level and his feelings towards his initial commitment to the Terps. Logan-El is feeling pressure to stay in-state, but with fellow Marylanders Aaron Maybin, Navorro Bowman and Bani Gbadyu pledging for PSU, it may be enough to draw him to the Keystone state.

Announcement Date: January 23

Thaddeus Gibson, LB, No. 53

Overview: With Penn State declaring Linebacker U. is back in Happy Valley, it is no surprise that several top linebacker prospects have considered PSU, Gibson being one of them. He says he is planning an official visit to University Park in January, but is unsure of a leader at this stage.

Candidates: Ohio State, Michigan, Tennessee, Miami and Penn State.

Edge: Being an Ohio native, the edge likely goes to the Buckeyes who have developed an ability to keep Ohio talent within the Buckeye state under Coach Tressel.

The Bottom Line: With the linebacker unit boasting incredible depth at Penn State, Gibson's interest in PSU may come down to how he reacts to the depth chart. Although Coach Vanderlinden has been brilliant when it comes to attracting top flight backers to Happy Valley.

Announcement Date: January (no specific date announced)

Maurice Evans, DE, No. 68

Overview: An intense competitor, Evans projects to be an effective rush end at the collegiate level. He has a great initial burst, and is said to have a non-stop motor. He too visited Penn State earlier this month with Vidal Hazelton and LeSean McCoy.

Candidates: Virginia and Penn State.

Edge: Although it is said to be a two way battle between the Cavaliers and Lions, Penn State looks to have the edge for Evans' services.

Bottom Line: Evans is coming off a PSU visit with guys like Andrew Quarless, McCoy and Hazelton. With no visit to UVa seemingly planned prior to his decision, indicators would point to Penn State being the team to beat at this stage.

Announcement Date: January 7, U.S. Army Bowl

A.J. Wallace, CB/RB, No. 86

Overview: Wallace visited Penn State in early December and talked about his thoughts on the Nittany Lions, saying, "That's a place where I really love the coaches, especially Coach Johnson and Coach Norwood. I have a real connection with them, especially coach Norwood."

Candidates: Ohio State, Florida State, Nebraska, Miami, USC and Penn State.

Edge: This is shaping up to be a Big Ten battle between Ohio State and Penn State.

Bottom Line: With the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions pursuing Wallace as a running back, indicators point to them having the lead currently. It could come down to distance and depth chart.

Announcement Date: January 7, U.S. Army Bowl


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