Michigan: A Pivotal Recruiting Point

Last season it was the Ohio State game, a victory that reflected the traditional success PSU football is accustom to. However that game played a more significant role in the future of the program, aiding prospects like Jared Odrick, Antonio Logan-El and Aaron Maybin in deciding their collegiate path. In 2006 the Michigan game could have a similar impact.

Though the situations are different in some respects, they are similar in others. Penn State had only five commitments heading into the Oct. 8 clash with the Buckeyes, yet had 24 scholarships to hand out. This time around, the Nittany Lions will have at least 12 commitments (and possibly more) heading into the Oct. 14 Michigan game, yet only have 18 or so scholarships available for the Class of 2007.

Despite this, the PSU coaches are using the Ohio State game as a blueprint for this year's Michigan game in order to make an impression with several prospects; a primetime clash, under the lights with an electric crowd to boot. It was that combination that served as a turning point for several prospects with their recruiting decisions last year and impressed ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit enough to say, "This right here is the best student section in the nation."

Here are what a few recruits had to say about the overall experience last year:

As Antonio Logan-El told FOS after the Ohio State game, "You hear about Penn State fans and they're so dedicated and how it feels to be in front of 100,000 people and everyone knows who you are. Within 10 minutes of when I was there, everyone knew I was there. That blew me away. People were asking for autographs. They were chanting my name, 'we want Logan-El' and 'who's number one, Logan-El.' That was overwhelming. I'm going to keep my recruiting process going. Penn State is at the top of my list at this point."

Jared Odrick talked about his experience there, saying, "It was something else, it was amazing. I've been up to Penn State a couple of times. College GameDay can add some excitement. The fact they won that was unbelievable. It was the most ridiculous thing. Coach [Mike] McQueary took me, [Penn State verbal commitment Tom] McEowen, Antonio Logan-El and Aaron Maybin over to the student section when they were waiting to get in. He took us to the balcony and the whole student section all looked up and yelled all our names and yelled that they wanted us to come to Penn State."

A.J. Wallace described the experience, saying, "The atmosphere was real crazy, those fans were hyped. The most impressive thing I saw was how the freshmen are making an impact there, that's a big factor for me."

This time around the PSU staff is looking to host several current commitments and prospects which they are pursuing for the Class of 2007. Among those undecided prospects expected to make the Michigan Game on Oct. 14 are Derrick Morgan, Wesley Saunders, Derek Moye, Tydreke Powell, Stefen Wisniewski and Broderick Green, with possibly more expected.

Can the atmosphere of the 2006 Michigan game rival that of the 2005 Ohio State clash? That is yet to be seen, but if you ask some members of Penn State's Class of 2006, chances are they're pretty confident that the experience will help a few undecided players get closer to a decision.


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