FOS Lions' Lounge: Offense

In the Lions' Lounge Jamie Trescavage takes a closer look at Penn State's recruiting board and where it stands position by position. In this edition we look at the Nittany Lions' recruiting efforts on the offensive side of the ball.

- Penn State verbal commitment
- Penn State leads or co-leads.
- Penn State is very much in the picture.
- Penn State is barely in the picture.
- Penn State has offered but is not involved.


With the very talented Anthony Morelli taking the quarterbacking reigns from Michael Robinson, Penn State fans should see Nike football flying all over Beaver Stadium this fall. The Nittany Lions back-up situation is not as clear however. Outside of Morelli, junior Paul Cianciolo is the only other Penn State quarterback to ever take a snap in a live game during some 2006 mop up work. Athletic freshman Darryl Clark shows promise and is the guy many fans would love to see in the back up role. Redshirt freshman Kevin Suhey and true freshmen Pat Devlin and Brett Brackett add depth. Observers felt Devlin would make a run at the depth chart, but his 2006 is in danger after being diagnosed with mononucleosis. Penn State will not take a quarterback in 2006, turning its focus to finding a 2007 signal caller.

Tyrod Taylor: Hampton, Va. (Hampton HS) 6-2, 190

Taylor had an early interest in the Nittany Lions, but verbally committed to Virginia Tech on July 21st.

Running Back:

Because Tony Hunt and Austin Scott are both seniors and Rodney Kinlaw is a junior, many felt Penn State would have to really get involved with some of the top tailbacks on the East Coast. However, with the addition of Evan Royster and Brent Carter, who sources have said have exceeded expectations, the running back search has not become as urgent, but the Nittany Lions must sign at least one ‘back in this class.

Broderick Green: Little Rock, Ar. (Pulaski Academy) 6-2, 230

Green is the type of story that keeps college recruiting so interesting for the masses that follow it closely. As a junior, Green rushed for 1,664 yards and 21 touchdowns with an additional 48 receptions and 5 touchdowns through the air. The 5-star running back committed to Southern Cal on an unofficial visit way back in March despite a laundry list of talented backs that the Trojans signed in February. But Green immediately called himself a soft verbal, stating he would be open to exploring other options like Arkansas, where his brother plays, and Penn State. He will be making an official visit to Penn State for the Michigan game, where Nittany Lions fans can only hope that a raucous crowd, a thin depth chart, and a big game by a similar type runner—Tony Hunt—are able to impress him enough to overcome the Men of Troy.

Ryan Houston: Matthews, Nc. (Matthews HS) 6-2, 250

Houston had an early interest in the Nittany Lions, but verbally committed to North Carolina on June 23rd.

Robert Hughes: Chicago, Il. (Hubbard HS) 5-11, 228

Despite some Internet predictions that there was a 50% chance that Robert Hughes donned the Blue and White, the Nittany Lions have seemingly been eliminated from consideration. However, the odds are good he will play in Beaver Stadium, but he will stand on the West sidelines wearing the uniform of Ohio State, Illinois, Notre Dame, Michigan, or Minnesota.

Malcolm Smith: Woodland Hills, Ca. (Taft HS) 6-2, 215

With a Sahara-like drought at the tailback position in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic parts of the country this season, Penn State has traveled outside of their natural recruiting areas in search of talent. Smith, listed as the 10th best linebacker by, has the football pedigree to be big time—his brother Steve is a potential All-American wide receiver at USC. But there-in lies the rub. The Trojans have been the most successful school this decade, bringing in big time talent with each class. It is quite difficult to pry a four or five-star talent from their grips, especially when one has a brother on the team. Although Smith has scheduled a visit with Penn State for the Michigan game, two things have to go the Nittany Lions way. First, Smith must decide he wants to be a running back instead of a linebacker on the college level. Second, he has to be leery of the Trojans crowded depth chart, only bolstered by 5-star stud Marc Tyler, and compare it to Penn State's almost certain immediate playing time.

Wide Receiver:

What a difference a year makes. Two years ago, Penn State used three cheerleaders, a Blue Band tuba player, and Mike from section NGU to add depth to its wide receiver core. Now, the Nittany Lions boast one of the deepest and talented groups in the entire country, highlighted by sophomores Derrick Williams, Deon Butler, and Jordan Norwood. Freshmen James McDonald, Kevin Cousins, Chris Bell, and possibly A.J. Wallace, join junior Terrell Golden to add depth. With Penn State's new offensive philosophy of multiple receiver sets, Penn State would love to add even more play makers to the arsenal, especially so they never return to pre-2005 standards.

Arrelious Benn: Washington, Dc. (Dunbar HS) 6-1, 210

Nicknamed "Regis" by friends and family, Benn will probably follow the Lilliputian ABC personality of the same name, Regis Philbin, to his alma mater of Notre Dame. Benn has already scheduled an official visit with the Fighting Irish when they battle Michigan, a point at which he may make his verbal commitment. Until that time, Benn still lists Florida State, Illinois, Miami, and USC.

Greg Little: Durham, Nc. (Hillside HS) 6-3, 205 Despite a commitment to Penn State by his teammate and friend Quinn Barham, Greg Little eliminated the Nittany Lions in late August. He now lists Notre Dame, USC, Michigan, North Carolina, Florida, Duke, Wake Forest, and Ohio State.

Duval Kamara: Hoboken, Nj. (Hoboken HS) 6-3, 205

Kamara had an early interest in the Nittany Lions, but verbally committed to Notre Dame on May 10th.

Derek Moye: Rochester, Pa. (Rochester HS) 6-5, 178

After watching his film, it is hard to come to a conclusion other than Derek Moye just oozes potential. At 6-5 and a rail thin 178 pounds, Moye has a great set of hands, deceptive speed, and some wiggle usually not seen in a big wide receiver. At Rochester HS, one of the state's best Single-A programs, Moye lines up at running back, which has helped him develop his shake and bake and despite his current slender frame, he does not shy away from contact. Pittsburgh, Penn State, and Boston College are the schools that comprise Moye's list. He has taken unofficial visits to both in-state schools, but is waiting to make his official visits before his final choice is made. Currently, he plans to take his official visit to Penn State during the night game against Michigan.

Jay Smith: Virginia Beach, Va. (Kempsville HS) 6-2, 195

Another talented wide receiver to emerge from Virginia in the last two years, Smith lists Clemson, Miami, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Virginia, and Virginia Tech. While he has set up a visit to see Tennessee, many feel it is merely academic that Smith will follow his friend Tyrod Taylor to Virginia Tech.

Taurian Washington: Orchard Lakes, Mi. (St. Mary's HS) 6-0, 170

Washington had an early interest in the Nittany Lions, but verbally committed to Ohio State on August 9th.

Lansford Watson: Brooklyn, Ny. (Lincoln HS) 6-4, 215

Watson had an early interest in the Nittany Lions, but verbally committed to Maryland on August 1st.

Maurice Williams: Erie, Pa. (Strong Vincent HS) 6-3, 190's No. 30 ranked wide receiver, Maurice Williams is a fantastic athlete who can play a number of positions, including cornerback and safety. Penn State, however, wants Williams pulling in passes and using his athleticism on offense. Williams' older sister, Mashea, is currently a sophomore guard on the Lady Lions' basketball team. In addition to Penn State, he has a serious interest in Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Syracuse, Maryland and Georgia, where he has already scheduled an official visit on September 23 game against Colorado.

Tight End:

Penn State has a stable of young, untested and potentially very good tight ends. The lone upperclassman is senior journeyman Patrick Hall. Jordan Lyons brings the pedigree but has been unable to stay healthy the last two seasons. Penn State fans are eager to see redshirt freshmen Francis Claude and Brennan Coakley, while true freshman Andrew Quarless could prove to be the best Nittany Lion tight end recruit since Kyle Brady.

Devonte Campbell: Forestville, Md. (Forestville HS) 6-2, 235

Devonte Campbell might best described as a "mystery man." The #8 ranked player in Maryland, Campbell has been very quiet in terms of updates on his recruitment. He currently lists offers from Penn State, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Kansas State. His current situation may also be a bit cloudy because the Nittany Lions have commitments from two high school tight ends and three linebackers, the two positions Campbell projects at on the college level.

Jon Ditto: Monroeville, Pa. (Gateway HS) 6-4, 221

One of the most explosive players in Pennsylvania, Ditto committed to the Nittany Lions on June 8th over offers from Michigan, Ohio State, and Pittsburgh. After a 2005 season in which he caught 29 passes for 508 yards and 5 touchdowns, Ditto will be the main focus of a talented Gateway offense this season. Ditto's future in the Penn State offense looks to be a hybrid version of tight end and wide receiver, seemingly in the mold of Joe Jurevicius. Ditto committed to Penn State on June 8th.

Rob Gronkowski: Pittsburgh, Pa. (Woodland Hills HS) 6-6, 250

Gronkowski recently transferred to Pittsburgh's Woodland Hills HS from Williamsville, Ny.'s North HS, potentially changing the balance of power in the WPIAL. Penn State was mentioned early but Gronkowski now lists Arizona, Clemson, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio State and Syracuse as his favorites. Some observers have wondered if his new, closer proximity to Pennsylvania's two major universities will pique an interest in the Panthers or Nittany Lions.

Mike Ragone: Cherry Hill, N.J. (Camden Catholic HS) 6-5, 230

Ragone had an early interest in the Nittany Lions, but verbally committed to Notre Dame on April 30th.

Andrew Szczerba: Wilmington, De. (Salesianum HS) 6-6, 250

Penn State's #12 verbal commitment, Szczerba chose the Nittany Lions over Virginia on August 13th.. At this point in time, Szczerba will be a tight end at Penn State because of blocking skills and soft hands. But as many observers know, get a kid in a college weight room for a year and things can change very quickly, just ask former Nittany Lion and former tight end Andrew Richardson. Like Richardson, it would not be shocking to see Szczerba playing offensive tackle three or four years down the road.

Offensive Line:

One of the most maligned position over the years, Penn State's offensive line has lots of talent but lacks experience. Senior captain Levi Brown will lead the way for Tony Hunt and protect Anthony Morelli, finishing up his final year as an All-American candidate and future NFL draft pick. After Brown comes young talent in the form of junior converted defensive tackle John Shaw, sophomore center A.Q. Shipley, sophomore guards Gerald Cadogan, Rich Ohrnberger, and Greg Harrison, along with freshman guard/tackle Dennis Landolt. True freshmen Antonio Logan-El and Lou Eliades will most likely be redshirted and will be joined next season by J.B. Walton. Shoring up the offensive tackle position has become vital in this recruiting class and the next.

Will Alvarez: Woodbridge, Va. (C.D. Hylton HS) 6-5, 315

Alvarez had an early interest in the Nittany Lions, but verbally committed to Virginia Tech on July 15th.

Quinn Barham: Durham, Nc. (Hillside HS) 6-4, 265

Although his commitment has drawn some ire from recruiting followers because it seemingly came out of left field, Barham has proved himself to be a solid football player and citizen. A guard on the high school level, Barham actually exudes all the qualities that coaches look for in center prospect—strength and smarts. He plays on a very talented team, featuring Nittany Lion target Greg Little and North Carolina commit Jonathan Smith, so Hillside HS has a great shot to go deep into the North Carolina playoffs. Barham committed to Penn State on August 11th.

Anthony Davis: Piscataway, Nj. (Piscataway HS) 6-6, 330

The handling of Anthony Davis by the Nittany Lion coaching staff has been the source of much debate and hand wringing. Arguably the top prospect in New Jersey and maybe the top offensive lineman in the nation, Davis was not initially offered a scholarship by the Nittany Lions. He was then rumored to have been offered by mid-summer, but at that point Penn State was no longer part of the favorites that he listed. Miami seems to be his favorite followed by USC, Florida State, and Ohio State.

Josh Marks: Catawissa, Pa. (Southern Columbia HS) 6-4, 285

One of the most impressive players on last year's PIAA Championship weekend, Marks uses his country-boy strength to over-power opponents. While his pure brute strength is his bread and butter, Southern Columbia High School's Single-A schedule has been a consistent negative comment against Marks. Penn State and a dozen other schools saw enough against these small schools to offer him scholarships. A future guard in college, Marks committed to Penn State on May 13th.

Richard Muldrow: York, Pa. (William Penn HS) 6-8, 285

One maxim among talent evaluators is that you can't teach size. Richard Muldrow certainly has it in spades. The long-armed tackle has used that size to garner offers from top programs like North Carolina, Boston College, West Virginia, and Penn State amongst others. Many thought that Muldrow's decision would be made when the Nittany Lions offered in late July. However, he has consistently stated that he will take his time before making his verbal commitment. Muldrow could be another recruit making his official visit to Happy Valley when Penn State plays Michigan, but it has not been set in stone yet.

Kristofer O'Dowd: Tucson, Az. (Salpointe Catholic HS) 6-4, 312

Mike McQuery and Penn State just offered O'Dowd in late August. Although he projects as a guard, the Nittany Lions may also like him as a tackle because of his quick feet and long arms. At this point, O'Dowd has stated an interest in the Nittany Lions, but has not scheduled an official visit although he plans on doing so in the very near future. In addition to Penn State, O'Dowd favors USC, Ohio State, Arizona, Tennessee, UCLA, and Miami.

Devon Still: Wilmington, De. (Howard HS) 6-5, 250

Do you need an example that it is a nearly impossible task to make the life-altering decision about which big-time university you will attend when you are 18 years old? Well, Devon Still is shining star. In the early stages of the recruiting process, Penn State seemed like it all but has Still locked up. As the summer progressed, he then fell in love with Michigan, who he favored over the Nittany Lions, Miami, and Ohio State. Then in mid-August, the Hurricanes and Buckeyes rode to the forefront, seemingly leaving the other schools in the dust. Still has not yet made any public official visit plans, which seem like they will become vitally important to where Delaware's No. 1 player ends up.

Stefan Wisniewski: Pittsburgh, Pa. (Central Catholic HS) 6-3.5, 275

The son of former Nittany Lion offensive lineman Leo Wisniewski, Stefan Wisniewski has the Penn State fan base so anxious about his college decision that collectively, they make coffee nervous. The younger Wisniewski just seems content on making the decision that fits him best. Originally hoping to enroll in college for the spring semester after hoping to lead Central Catholic on another long playoff run, he will now enroll in the summer with other freshmen so there is no added time restraint on his decision. He has narrowed his list down to Penn State, Michigan, Boston College, and North Carolina, having already planned his official visit to Happy Valley when Michigan comes to town.


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