Md., Va. Help Fuel PSU

What do Levi Brown, Michael Robinson, Deon Butler, Tony Hunt, Anwar Phillips, Jeremy Kapinos, Matthew Rice and Derrick Williams all have in common? Aside from being standouts in Blue and White this season, they are all natives of two states which have become major recruiting areas for the Nittany Lions.

Penn State has always had talent from Maryland and Virginia over the years, like Brandon Noble, Zack Mills, Bryant Johnson, Bruce Branch, James Boyd and Bhawoh Jue. But recently the Nittany Lions have made these two states a strategic focal point for their recruiting efforts.

In the past several years Maryland and Virginia have provided Penn State with a tremendous amount of talent. On PSU's 2005 roster, 11 percent of the team hailed from these two states.

This number may not seem all that impressive, but when you consider this group included the starting quarterback, running back, two wide receivers, defensive end, cornerback and punter, it is easy to see the major impact Maryland and Virginia have had on Penn State recently.

That influence is only expected to grow in coming years. With the Class of 2006, the Nittany Lions are expected to add at least seven prospects from these two states. This represents 37 percent of the 19 prospects who have currently made their pledge to PSU.

To put that number in perspective, only 21 percent of the current class is from the state of Pennsylvania. So, the Class of 2006 is expected to have nearly double the representation from Virginia and Maryland than from the Keystone State.

Among the prospects in this current class are:


J.B. Walton
A.J. Wallace
Bani Gbadyu
Navorro Bowman
Aaron Maybin


Evan Royster
Chris Bell

The Nittany Lion coaching staff is also in hot pursuit of two more Maryland prospects in Phillip Taylor and Antonio Logan-El and Virginia prospect Vidal Hazelton, which, alhough seemingly a long shot, if it managed to get all three would push the total from these two Mid-Atlantic states to 10.

With the Terrapins and Cavaliers down this year, Penn State has taken advantage of the situation by attracting several standouts from their backyards to Happy Valley. However, both schools, as well as Virginia Tech, are sure to re-evaluate their recruiting strategies to limit the exposure they have had in order to keep more in-state talent home.


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