Welcome back! I hope that you enjoyed Part 1 of the Lion's Lounge. In Part 2, we will examine the prospects who top Penn State's wish list on the defensive side of the ball. Also, at the end of the article, there will be the "uneducated, educated" guess section, which will map out number of 'ships and who will end up signing with Penn State on National Signing Day in February.
The Lion's Lounge will be available sometime around the first of every month. It's main purpose is to sum up the month's recruiting ups and downs and give each premium subscriber a sense of the direction that the Nittany Lions are heading with their class. So if you have any questions or information that you feel will be relevant to any future columns, please feel free to email me at Jayst12@yahoo.com. Now break out you pencils and notepads because it's time for the main attraction..................(note - all heights, weights, and rankings derived from the Insiders.com database; BOLD = Psu offer) Again--sit back, relax, and enjoy the most comprehensive look at Penn State recruiting on the market:
'Ships available - (2 or 3)
Normally I would start with the defensive line and work my way back to the secondary, but to be honest with you, the linebacking play has been downright embarrassing since Mr. Arrington and Mr. Short departed for the NFL. Things should be bright this season, with young, talented players like Deryck Toles, Derek Wake, Lamar Stewart, and Jimi Mitchell. However, we don't have a middle linebacker who has seen any significant playing time outside of the Blue White Game. Questions also surround the talented group of linebackers/running backs that were inked in February. After pre-season practice, when the positional decisions are made regarding the freshman, we should have a much clearer picture of how many scholarships will be used on the linebacking corps. Also don't forget that next season, Pennsylvania, which has been bare as of late, should have two of the top linebackers in the country. James Bryant of Reading and Dan Conner of Strath Haven, both have a very strong interest in Psu.
1. Wesley Jefferson - Brandywine, Md. (Gwynn Park HS) 6-2, 231, 4.74........# 3 overall LB
Wesley lived up to his incredible billing during the Penn State Nike Camp. Just looking at him, without even watching him perform, gave you a definite indication that he is a tremendous athlete. Wes can be a terrific middle or outside linebacker on the next level. He grew up liking both Penn State and Texas, because of Lavar and Ricky Williams. But now just about every team in the country knows about Wes and has been all over him like paparazzi on Michael Jackson. He remains consistent when listing his top schools, usually naming Psu, Maryland, Miami, Msu, Osu, and ND. The Maryland folks think he is a virtual lock to attend College Park. But I don't share their enthusiasm. Miami has made a major play for him and may be right there with Psu for this kid come January or February.
2. Vince Hall - Chesapeake, Va. (Western Branch HS) 6-1, 238, 4.6........#15 overall LB
Vince just recently returned home from Penn State summer camp and enjoyed himself. In Scurry's recent interview, he stated that the coaching staff has told him he's their number one linebacker recruit. They probably meant he is the number one outside linebacking prospect. Potato, potatoe. The kid can flat out play. Doug Doughty, a respected journalist from the Roanoke Times, lists Vince as the number two prospect in the entire state of Virginia. The only knock on Vince by national analysts has been his height, but his coach dismisses the questions as nonsense. Vince lists Penn State, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Maryland, Clemson, and Tennessee as the schools he has the most interest in. All, plus many more, have offered him.3. Joe Kedra - Cherry Hills, Nj. (Camden Catholic HS) 6-4, 223, 4.7........#45 overall LB Joe completes what I like to call "The Big Tree" (for those of you not in the Scranton area, that's how they say three in Pittston), which includes Wes and Vince. Joe attended the Blue White Game, but not the Nike Camp. By seasons end, Joe will not be ranked the #45 linebacker in the country. He has a great nose for the football and the ball carrier. Last season, he totalled 189 tackles! Not so shabby. Some who saw Joe at the Blue White Game said Penn State impressed him thoroughly. Our coaching staff has been all over Joe, calling him consistently, which tells you he remains a highly coveted player. Looks like Psu, Unc, Nebraska, and Virginia Tech can be considered his top 4. 4. Paul Posluszny - Aliquippa, Pa. (Hopewell HS) 6-2, 208, 4.62........#14 overall LB The staff has offered Paul, but has not yet shown as much interest in him as they have in Wesley, Vince, and Joe. He may be the top linebacker in Pennsylvania this season. In a normal recruiting year, with a full alotment of scholarships, Paul would certainly be receiving more attention than he has. From all indications, Paul is a stud. Pittsburgh, which has shown much more interest, remains the leader for Paul. Don't be surprised to see a verbal to someone in August. 5. Prescott Burgess - Warren, Oh. (Harding HS) 6-4, 220, 4.6........# 4 overall LB Prescott attends the same high school as current Nittany Lion linebacker, Deryck Toles. Duane Long, of Bucknuts.com, crowned Prescott with the title, top linebacker in Ohio last year. Now that's a compliment, considering Ohio produced such stars as Mike D'Andrea, Bobby Carpenter, and A.J. Hawk. Some observers even feel that Prescott should not play linebacker in college, but rather strong safety. Ohio State, for instance, may want Burgess to step in for senior hitman Mike Doss. Currently, Prescott lists his favorites as Ohio State, Tennessee, Florida, and Michigan. 6. Jim Presley - Highland, Mi. (West Highland Christian Academy) 6-3, 225, 4.5.......#31 overall LB As soon as I saw Penn State had offered this kid, I got a good feeling all over....call it a hunch. Jim has risen to the #2 linebacker in Michigan, behind Lamar Woodley (listed below). Having seen a picture from him on Bucknuts.com, I can tell you the kid is ripped. That forty time listed above for him has also been verified at more than one camp. At this point, Jim lists Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Penn State, among others, but with Vanderlinden in charge of recruiting him, we may be able to sway him, ala, Timmy Shaw. 7. Joe Cohen - Melbourne, Fl. (Palm Bay HS) 6-3, 245, 4.5........# 4 overall DE Cohen is a big, bad dude. It's mind-boggling that one who weighs so much, can run so fast! Joe has offers from all the big name schools in the south and many in the north too. According to Joe, he has a legitimate interest in Penn State. Joe feels he and his teammate, Reggie Nelson (see below), will go as a package deal to some lucky school, but more often than not, those deals fall through. others: Reggie Smith - East Cleveland, Oh. (Shaw HS) 6-2, 235, 4.6.......has stated Maryland and Virginia lead. Really shot up the charts since the May evaluation period. Rumored to have a Psu offer. Claude "Turk" McBride - Camden, Nj. (Wilson HS) 6-3, 215, 4.6........recruited as OLB or rush-DE. Brother attends Wvu. Offer from Psu, but does not have any interest in the Lions. Lamar Woodley - Saginaw, Mi. (Saginaw HS) 6-3, 250, 4.72........#2 OLB in the land. Can really run for a big guy. Don't see him leaving the state of Michigan, but has Psu offer. Stewart Johnson - Cedarhurst, Ny. (Lawrence HS) 6-2, 225, 4.6........broke leg last season, so players are taking a wait and see approach to him. Noticed him at the Nike Camp (has very unique hair - think Bride of Frankenstein) and thought he was just a notch below Wes Jeff. If he's a 100%, I sincerly hope he garners an offer from the Nittany Lions. He's that good! Kory Gedin - Washington, Dc. (Gonzaga College HS) 6-2, 235, 4.7........another tackling machine at middle linebacker (170 tackles) last season. Tim Cesa - Kennesaw, Ga. (Harrison HS) 6-2, 235, 4.7........from Jason Evan's high school. Good linebacker, who like Posluszny, may have garnered more attention from Psu if this was a 25 ‘ship year. Will be one of a half- dozen Harrison players to go D1. Defensive Ends :
‘Ships available - (0 or 1)Because they brought in a wealth of talented defensive ends during the previous two recruiting classes, Penn State does not need to immediately address the position with this class. Still the coaching staff has offered two of the best ends east of the Mississippi, operating under the assumption that one more awesome pass rusher couldn't hurt a bit against the likes or Michigan and Ohio State. 1. Raymond Edwards - Cincinnati, Oh. (Woodward HS) 6-6, 235, 4.6........#27 overall DE Raymond has really shot up the charts during the spring, according to Duane Long, the Ohio State guru. He may have even passed pre-season All-American DE Shawn Crable, as the best defensive end in Ohio. Blessed with an amazing combination of size and speed that any college would covet. His on the field prowess is only enhanced by a stellar GPA. Looks like an Osu, Tenn, and Psu battle. If Osu nabs Crable first, I really like our chances. 2. Victor Abiamiri - Baltimore, Md. (Gilman HS) 6-5, 250, 4.6........#17 overall DE Victor rates as one of the players in the state or Maryland. According to his coach, he runs a legit 4.6 forty, making him an attractive prospect as both a tight end or defensive end. Hails from the same school as current Psu recruit Ambrose Wooden and Ohio State signee Stan White. Two of his brothers are currently Terps, so it's widely held that Maryland holds the lead for his services. Defensive Tackles: ‘
Ship availabe - (2 or 3)With four 5th year seniors (Adams, Kennedy, Valockzi, and Falls) on the Psu roster this fall, defensive tackle recruiting has been priority during the last two seasons. Last season we inked Jason Alford, Levi Brown, Robert Price, and Edward Johnson, all who can play the position. If you take away both the true freshman and the seniors, the only defensive tackles remaining on the roster are Charles Rush and Jason Robinson (also a DE). Allthough the redshirt freshman are immensely talented on paper, like the young offensive line, 2 or 3 d-tackles will be needed in this class to provide depth immediately. 1. John Shaw - Spring Grove, Pa. (Spring Grove HS) 6-4, 278, 4.87........#33 overall DT John started the recruiting season off with a bang last week, saying "yes" to the Nittany Lions over Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, and a host of others. Unlike many first verbals over the previous years, John ranks nationwide among the best players at his position. In fact, his Insiders.com ranking is dramatically lower than many other services and will most certainly be upgraded in future updates. According to many rumors eminating from State College, John topped Psu's wishlist as their #1 D-tackle prospect for this season. He combines fantastic self-motivation and amazing athletic ability, both which certainly shown through on the recruiting video he and his father sent out to Division-One football institutions. 2. Conrad Bolston - Burtonsville, Md. (St. John's HS) 6-4, 265, 4.8.......NR @ DT Conrad is the top defensive tackle from Maryland this season, although he attends school in Washington, Dc. A number of Acc and Big Ten schools have ponied up with offers, including Penn State, Virginia, and Maryland. He has visited Penn State during a junior day in February, but it may be difficult to wrestle him away from the Terps. In fact, Conrad's head coach, a former college coach, has Terrapin ties. 3. Nathaniel Robinson - Irvington, Nj. (Irvington HS) 6-5, 300, 5.0.......# 1 overall DT Rated as one of the top two prospects in New Jersey (with TE Greg Olsen), Nathaniel is a stud defensive tackle in the Jimmy Kennedy mold, a bulldozer with corvette speed. Nate claims 33 offers, including one from all of his favorites. Nate has not been completely consistent when listing his top 10 schools, sometimes including Psu, sometimes not. Currently, the Miami Hurricanes hold the lead for this tremendous prospect. They hope continue the New Jersey pipeline (which apparently goes under Rutgers' coach Greg Schiano's wall), which runs from the Garden State to Coral Gables. Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Rutgers are some of the others schools listed by Nate. 4. Joseph "Red" Bryant - Jasper, Tx. (Jasper HS) 6-4, 280, 5.0.......#32 overall DT With Texas signing what seemed like a 100 lineman last season, many of the most talented players in the state are looking across state lines for a school with sufficient playing time. Red, who also can hoop-it-up with the best of them, has interest in a number of schools outside of the Lonestar State. With Coach Brian Norwood in charge of recruiting Texas, Psu has a shot of at least getting a visit from the big fella.' others: Richard Kittrell - New Haven, Ct. (Hyde Leadership HS) 6-5, 305, 5.0........said to have an NFL body now, but takes too many plays off. UConn may actually be a player here. Marcus Thomas - Jacksonville, Fl. (Mandarin HS) 6-4, 285, 4.8........teammate of RB target Brian Dennison. Coach does not believe he will leave the state. Brandon Maupin - Lakota, Oh. (West HS) 6-6, 270, 4.9........An Osu and Tennessee battle for this massive prospect. Brian Soi - Provo, Ut. (Timpview HS) 6-3, 290, 4.8........Psu identified and offered early because a connection to Brian Norwood. He only lists schools on the west coast. May also have to take a Mormon mission. Cornerbacks:
‘Ships available - (2 or 3)Since Penn State lost both Adam Taliaferro and Gerald Smith from the cornerback position, depth has been very suspect. Two redshirt freshman, Alan Zemaitis and Gio Vendemia, look like they will push for time behind the projected starters, Rich Gardner and Bryan Scott. The only other true cornerback on the roster, Maurice Humphrey, will not arrive until August's pre-season practice. Obviously there are holes to be filled, making cornerback a critical need in the recruiting game this season. Don't be surprised if the staff takes 3 kids for the position and it looks like they will search nationwide for their men. 1. Brian Jones - Avon Lake, Oh. (Avon Lake HS) 6-1, 180, 4.4........#17 overall CB Brian hails from the same school as Ohio State signee Mike D'Andrea, a former Psu recruit. A big, physical corner, Brian may or may not have an offer from Psu. Along with the Lions, Brian likes Notre Dame, Virginia, and Ohio State. Definite top 5 cornerback in Ohio class, which may be the deepest in the state this season. 2. Tarrell Brown - Mesquite, Tx. (North Mesquite HS) 5-11, 180, 4.4........# 5 overall CB The top rarted corner from the state of Texas, Tarrell combines great speed with confidence to excel. May end up a Texas and A&M battle, but at this point Tarrell claims there he has no preference because of the importance of academics. His offers sheet reads like a who's who of major college football schools. 3. Mike Phillips - Warren, Oh. (Harding HS) 5-11, 185, 4.4........#49 overall CB Mike has really exploded up the charts in recent weeks. He attends the same high school as current Nittany Lion, Deryck Toles. Does not have an offer from Osu, but it's been rumored the Nits have offered. It will probably come down to those two schools. If inked, he would be a tremendous addition to the Psu defensive backfield. 4. Ashton Youboty - Spring, Tx. (Klein HS) 6-1, 185, 4.4........#22 overall CB Another player from Brian Norwood's recruiting area, who has a great interest in Penn State. It helps that Ashton formerly lived in the Philadelphia area and still has family members there. Everyone that has seen Ashton performed has raved about his great speed and athletiscm. Has offers from football powerhouses like Oklahoma, Ohio State, Lsu, etc. 5. Donte Whitner - Cleveland, Oh. (Grenville HS) 5-11, 175, 4.4........# 1 overall CB Rated as the best cornerback in the nation and he just camped at Penn State. Rumor has it, the coaching staff, really rolled out the red carpet for DW. He has tremendous physical statistics--listing a 4.28 (forty), 10.5 (100 meters), 21.5 (200 meters), and 35.5 (vertical). Does not consistently list Penn State when asked about his favorites, but getting him to camp at Psu is certainly a step in the right direction. 6. Rodney Kinlaw - Goose Creek, Sc. (Stratford HS) 5-10, 190, 4.4........NR @ RB Who exactly is Rodney Kinlaw? Well Rodney could be the top cornerback in the state of South Carolina this season. He could also be a terrific running back. Last and certainly not least, Rodney is the younger brother of a former Penn Stater, Courtney Brown (maybe you've heard of him). Currently, Rodney may have a offer from Psu, and he lists the Lions, along with Clemson and South Carolina. others: Ira Guilford - Hoboken, Nj. (Hoboken HS) 5-11, 185, 4.4........said to be a great safety prospect, but his size and speed warrent a look at CB. Stated he has a Lion offer. Msu and Osu could have the lead. Dorien Bryant - Paulsboro, Nj. (Kingsway HS) 6-0, 180, 4.4........super speed! Also could project as a wide receiver at the next level. Looks like he's signed, sealed, and delivered to BC. Taros Harris - Prince Frederick, Md. (Calvert HS) 5-10, 180, 4.4.......very tiny, but had an outstanding Penn State Nike Camp. DeJuan Tribble - Cincinnati, Oh. (North College Hills HS) 5-11, 180, 4.4........former teammate of Donnie Johnson. Plays QB as well. Looks like a Osu/Psu battle, if both were to offer, despite the fact he has been linked to Tennessee. Duane Long, of Ohio Future Stars, likes DeJuan. Vaughn Rivers - Pittsburgh, Pa. (Perry Traditional HS) 5-9, 165, 4.5........subject of a recent Kevin Gorman feature in the Pittsburgh Trib, Vaughn may be closing in on a Psu offer. Doesn't have eye-popping speed or size, but plays bigger and sticks on the receiver like fly-paper. Safeties:
‘Ships available - (0 or 1)With Chris Harrell, Calvin Lowry, Andy Guman, Paul Cronin, and James Kanuch on the roster, Penn State can boast that it has some very talented, albeit young players roaming in the secondary. Unlike cornerback, safety is not a priority. However, a player the caliber of Ryan Mundy should be a priority in any year. 1. Ryan Mundy - Pittsburgh, Pa. (Woodland Hills HS) 6-2, 200, 4.5........# 3 overall S A physically imposing speciman, Ryan certainly drew the attention of every onlooker at the Penn State Nike Camp. He could be a fantastic safety, wide receiver, or linebacker. Traditionally, Woody Hills kids haven't given Penn State a real look (with the exception of Brian Borgoyn of course). It does not look Ryan will break from form. Michigan, who signed his teammate Steve Breaston, probably holds the lead. Pitt could also sneak into the picture. others: Chase Anastascio - Fairfax, Va. (Robinson Secondary HS) 6-2, 190, 4.5........Chase has an offer from Psu, along with his teammate TE John Kinzer. Projects as a free safety at the next level. Reggie Nelson - Melbourne, Fl. (Palm Bay HS) 6-0, 180, 4.5........teammate of Psu recruit Joe Cohen. Nelson maintains the two are a package deal. Projects as a safety or wide receiver. Has Psu offer. Darius Hiley - Cleveland, Oh. (Glenville HS) 6-1, 180, 4.4........Nicknamed "Superman," Hiley has an offer from Psu, but may not have interest. Grades are not good. Athletes:
‘Ships available - ?1. Ambrose Wooden - Baltimore, Md. (Gilman HS) 6-1, 180, 4.4........NR @ CB Ambrose projects at either WR or CB on the college level. He quarterbacks Gilman HS and could possibly be an option Qb on the next level. Currently, Ambrose does not state a leader, but he has offers from more than 20 bigtime schools, Psu included. Eric McCollum - Camden, Sc. (Camden HS) 6-1, 180, 4.5........stated recently Psu offered him as a QB at camp (remember Mazzie Drummond?). Could possibly be a good wide receiver or cornerback on the next level.
Ok, now the for the Grand Finale--the fireworks, desert, and big musical number all wrapped into one. Let's take a look at my "uneducated, educated" guesses. First and foremost, I believe that we will have 14-16 ‘ships in the off-season, depending on a couple of factors. I'm going to use 15 as my standard guess, factoring in that every major college team has some type of surprising player exodus in the off-season, i.e., R.J. Luke. Secondly, every year players pop up that many of us recruiting fans have never heard of. Gio Vendemia being the perfect example. He came out of obscurity in Western Pennsylvania because his high school coach never gave him any pub. So there may be a number of players out there who Penn State has offered or is recruiting, that we have no way of knowing, until they verbally commit.And now to the score card: 1. RB Jason Evans - Ga. (recruited by Coach Kenny Carter) 2. RB Brian Dennison - Fl. (recruited by Coach Jay Paterno) 3. WR Terrell Golden - Va. (recruited by Larry Johnson) 4. TE John Kinzer - Va. (recruited by Larry Johnson) 5. OL Joel Holler - Pa. 6. OL Brandon Nixon - Pa. 7. OL Jeff Zuttah - Nj. 8. DT John Shaw - Pa. (recruited by Larry Johnson and Bill Kenney) 9. DT Dan Mazan - Nj. 10. LB Wesley Jefferson - Md. 11. LB Joe Kedra - Nj. (recruited by Fran Ganter) 12. LB Stewart Johnson - Ny. 13. CB Mike Phillips - Oh. 14. CB DeJuan Tribble - Oh. 15. CB Rodney Kinlaw - Sc. (recruited by Bill Kenney) Well that's all folks.................