With the season now underway, recruiting will now take a secondary role to the day to day operations of the team. But coaches will not soon forget about recruiting. In fact, during our September homestand, there will be a number of big time players taking unofficial visits to State College to watch our Nittany Lions.
This month's Lion's Lounge features updates on the players who have interest in or have been offered by Nittany Lions. Because recruiting can be such a fluid situation, with events changing and growing on an almost daily basis, some familiar (and unfamiliar) targets remain high on Penn State, while others have cooled. It also appears that a good number of Penn State's targets will not make their decesions public until January or February. A good season on the field could certainly equate into a fantastic February, especially with many of the late deciders very high on State. Just look what the staff got done last February after a mediocre/disappointing campaign.Of course each year is different, but our staff has built a solid foundation with many of their top targets, so don't expect a repeat of the disasterous '98 campaign. With Chris Auletta, Lee Lispi, and Vince Gliatta all gray-shirting, the numbers get fuzzy with regard to 'ships. Throughout the column, I will outline how many players it appears will be signed per position--information Steve Curry has gleamed in his conversations with the recruits.
Note: A player's name in bold indicates he has been offered by Penn State.
Quarterback:What more conclusive evidence can you get that Penn State will not be recruiting a quarterback, after JoePa let it out during his first press conference of the season. The Coach stated, "We did not recruit a quarterback last year and we are not recruiting a quarterback this year." Those are pretty strong words. Rumors that Chris Leak has a strong interest in Penn State have been grossly overexaggerated by Tom Lemming, the self-proclaimed recruiting god. The staff also appears to be cooling on Kentuckian Andre Woodson (who DOES NOT have an offer). Although he has tremendous physical abilities, he may not have the footspeed that Penn State will be looking for in future QBs. His ability to read a defense also was questioned at the Elite 11 camp.
- Jason Evans: Kennesaw, Ga. (Harrison HS) 6-1, 195, 4.4
We nabbed ourselves a true star in J. Evans. Just about everyone who saw his highlight tape on the BorderWars site, became enamored with his enomous potential. Put the well-documented is he/isn't he committed talk aside. All indications point to Jason pulling on a blue jersey next season. He will step into a great situation to play soon and compete with some of our other outstanding young runningbacks.
- Andre Callender: West Orange, Nj. (Seton Hall Prep) 5-10, 185, 4.4Andre will be yet another prospect to step over Greg Schiano's six inch high wall that he built around Jersey. Penn State appears to be in very good shape with Andre, who also has offers from the likes of Michigan State, BC, North Carolina, and Purdue. Not a huge back, Andre has also been mentioned at CB by some of the schools recruiting him--although he has never played a down there! Sounds like he has great athleticsm.
- Brian Dennison: Jacksonville, Fl. (Mandarin HS) 5-9, 195, 4.3 It has been well-documented that Brian's father attended Penn State for a brief period and that he still has family in the Philadelphia. Does that give Penn State the upper hand? Maybe, but with offers from some southern schools, it may be difficult to get him back to the north.
- Travis Thomas: Washington, Pa. (Washington HS) 6-1, 200, 4.4 Travis consistently names a number of schools when asked, a lists which includes West Virginia, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame among others. For some reason, Insiders.com lists Travis as the #16 linebacker nationally. It seems though, the brunt of the schools recruiting him are looking at him for the offensive side of the ball.
Analysis: Currently it looks as if two runningbacks will be part of the 2003 signing class. With Georgia star Jason Evans in the fold, the staff grabbed a potential impact freshman. Anyone else could be considered icing on an already sweet cake. In the end, I feel Travis Thomas hops aboard later in the process. Though not mentioned, Penn State still appears to be recruiting Barrington Edwards- Bowie, Md. (Bowie HS) 6-0, 210, Tashard Choice- Hampton, Ga. (Lovejoy HS) 5-11, 195, and Tyrone Moss,- Pompano Beach, Fl. (Ely HS) 5-11, 205.
- Michael Bush: Louisville, Ky. (Male HS) 6-4, 225, 4.5 The nation's #1 overall wide receiver has been consistently mentioning the Nittany Lions lately. However, don't expect to see Bush in the Beav unless Louisville comes to town. Although he may be playing it off, Mike wants both a shot at QB and a chance to hoop it up in college.
- Seth Fogarty: Morgantown, Wv. (Morgantown HS) 6-2, 195, 4.5 Seth has a very strong interest in Penn State, despite growing up right across the street from the University of West Virginia. With Coach Rich Rodriquez's pass happy offense, you would tend to believe Seth would be a perfect fit, but he maintains Wvu, Penn State, Ucla, UConn, and Georgia.
- Terrell Golden: Norfolk, Va. (Lake Taylor HS) 6-3, 205, 4.4 The physically gifted wide receiver from Virginia has exploded up the charts as much as anybody since summer camps finished earlier this summer. He is so athletic that some schools are looking at him as a defensive end/rush linebacker. Yikes! Penn State, Tennessee, North Carolina State, Virginia, Virginia Tech and others were named as his favorites. Teams will be waiting until February to get the good word from Terrell.
- Deyon Williams: Forestville, Md. (Suitland HS) 6-4, 182, 4.39Should we send Deyon cookies and welcome him to the Penn State family? Yes and No. Yes, Deyon gives every indication he will be a Nittany Lion soon. No, don't send him cookies because that will be a violation of some sort. This kid shined at the Nike Camp at Penn State, according to a couple of folks that I talked to (I was busy watching Wes Jefferson and Stewart Johnson to notice him I guess). Analysis: Steve Curry has learned that Penn State will sign two wide receivers in this class. As everyone who reads the Premium board knows, we have already received a verbal from one (known only as "Mr. X"). Verbal #2 appears it will come from either Deyon Williams or Seth Fogarty, although if Terrell Golden says he wants to come sometime down the road, I don't know if they could turn him away. Penn State also appears to be recruiting Andrew Weatherly and Jesse Holley.
The question of the year has been, "why has Penn State not extended an offer to Jon Stupar?" I can think of exactly two major reasons:
1.The coaches do not view the Tight End position as a major need for this recruiting class. Remember we will have two redshirt freshman there this year and no other TE has been offered (see John Kinzer below).
2.The kid has not knocked the coaches' socks off with his play. Many members of the staff do get a chance to see Jon play on a weekly basis. He may have an impressive highlight tape, but remember those are the best plays. Viewing a game film will give you a much clearer picture of a player's abilities, especially at a position like TE, which has both pass catching and run blocking responsibilities.
Those who argue that it is the program's best interest to take the kid just because he is from State College, will also be the first in line to criticize the staff for not recruiting nationally!
- Jorrie Adams: Jasper, Tx. (Jasper HS) 6-7, 285, 4.9
Jorrie, ranked as Insiders.com #4 overall lineman, has expressed an interest in Penn State. However, it will be very difficult to pull the big man from the South. Miami, Oklahoma, Lsu, and A&M seem like the big players here.
- Joel Holler: Lancaster, Pa. (McCaskey HS) 6-6, 335, 5.4Joel could be the number one rated prospect in Pennsylvania this season. That's saying something special, with the likes of Ryan Mundy roaming the fields of Pittsburgh. Joel likes the Nittany Lions, Ohio State, and Virginia Tech as some of his favorites. Some feel this kid is bound nowhere else but Penn State--could he have already said "yes"?
- Dan Mazan: Carteret, Nj. (Carteret HS) 6-4, 280, 5.0Dan continues to list Penn State, but Ohio State is a new school that has emerged for his services. The Buckeyes have not yet offered, so currently they remain with the rest of the pack. Versatile enough to play DT.
- Brandon Nixon: Pottstown, Pa. (Pottstown HS) 6-7, 315, 5.1
More to come on Brandon later next week.
- John Rochford: Linwood, Nj. (Mainland Regional HS) 6-3, 290, 4.9
Note: John has recently verballed to the University of Miami.
- Jeff Zuttah: Edison, Nj. (The Hun School) 6-4, 280, 4.9
Jeff has become a hot commodity amongst lineman on the east coast. He cemented his place as a great guard prospect with a great showing in the New York/New Jersey Govener's Bowl All-Star game. Look for a Penn State/Boston College battle all the way until he decides.
Analysis: With Lispi and Auletta joining the team in December, I feel Penn State will only sign 3 offensive lineman in with this class. Right now I have a super feeling about Joel Holler, who may just be playing the recruiting "game" by taking trips. After him things have become a bit cloudy. I still like our chances with Dan Mazan and Jeff Zuttah, but not as strongly in the past. Also keep an eye on Brandon Nixon, Dan Pribula- Strongsville, Oh. (Strongsville HS) 6-6, 315, Chris Ivey- Pittsburgh, Pa. (Oliver HS) 6-7, 275 and Ryan Poles- Canandaigua, Ny. (Canandaigua HS) 6-5, 285.
- John Shaw: Spring Grove, Pa. (Spring Grove HS) 6-5, 275, 4.9Not much more that can be said except Penn State got itself a great, hard-working player. Can't wait to get him throwing some offensive lineman around in the Beav.
- Raymond Edwards: Cincinnati, Oh. (Woodward HS) 6-6, 235, 4.6If God listened to prayers about recruiting, Raymond would be a Nittany Lion. This kid has phenomenal physical statistics, which allow him to be versatile enough to play linebacker on the next level. However, whatever school gets him will use him as a defensive end. Penn State looks to get a visit, along with Northwestern, Ohio State, South Carolina, and Purdue. Great student!
- Lawrence Jackson: Inglewood, Ca. (Inglewood HS) 6-5, 255, 4.8Lawrence created a stir when he announced that Penn State was a school that he really liked, but had kept secret from the media. Then he changed his tune a bit, saying he favored Washington while his parents favored Penn State. At any rate, Lawrence should be offered soon (if he has not been already) and could very well be a candidate for a visit. This kid has offers from all the biggies on the west coast, Midlands, and Miami, Fl.
John Kinzer: Fairfax, Va. (Robinson Secondary HS) 6-4, 255, 4.7John could also be considered under the Tight End category, but it's unlikely Penn State will sign one at this point. John may be difficult to wrestle out of Virginia. He and his teammate, Chase Anastascio, both expect to make decisions after their season has finished.
Analysis: Outside of John Shaw, no big time defensive tackle has mentioned Penn State. With Ed Johnson, Levi Brown, Steve Roach, and Jason Alford brought in last season, one signee on the line may be the limit. Does Jackson like us a lot? I don't know, but I wouldn't expect his signature. I feel Edwards may be our only legit shot at a DE, unless someone comes out of the woodwork.
- Ryan Brown: Moncks Corner, Sc. (Berkeley HS) 6-2, 240, 4.6
Kinta Palmer's cousin will be visiting State College soon. Rumors continue to float around the internet that he has committed to one of the in-state schools (Clemson or South Carolina). As fast as the rumors pop up, Ryan squashes them. If he likes Penn State during his visit, the Lions could quickly rise to the top of his list.
- Vince Hall: Chesapeake, Va. (West Branch HS) 6-1, 238, 4.6From all that has been said about Vince recently, you get the feeling this kid could be a special player at the next level. When Jamie Newberg says a kid is impressive, believe it. But does Psu have a shot? Currently, yes, along with Virginia Tech, Virginia, and other. A visit and a good season on the field would really help because he liked his visit to State College very much.
- Joe Kedra: Cherry Hill, Nj. (Camden Catholic HS) 6-4, 223, 4.7
Although Notre Dame remains in the picture, it's pretty much down to North Carolina and Penn State. For now it appears Penn State will only sign two linebackers--with a OLB already inked, could a middle linebacker on the horizon?
- Wesley Jefferson: Brandywine, Md. (Gwynn Park HS) 6-2, 231, 4.7
Wes has not mentioned us consistently in a while. Uh Oh, folks that is not a good thing! Our potential loss will be a great gain for Maryland, Florida State, Miami (how many linebackers can you have!), or Notre Dame.
- Paul Posluszny: Aliquippa, Pa. (Hopewell HS) 6-2, 210, 4.6
The first of two linebackers taken with this class, Paul chose Penn State over Pitt. He remains the top linebacker in the WPIAL and has been consistently ranked as one of the top 10 players in Pennsylvania. Rumor has it that he tore up a scrimmage game, breaking two 70+ yard runs. Rest assured though, his future at Penn State remains on D.Analysis: Joe Kedra spilled that only two linebackers will be taken this year. With Paul Posluszny in the fold at the outside linebacker, will Penn State decide to go inside or outside? JK seems the greatest possibility, with Ryan Brown right behind him and Vince Hall. Psu also remains in contact with Joe Cohen- Palm Bay, Fl. (Palm Bay HS) 6-3, 245, Harold Stanback- Forestville, Md. (McNamara HS) 6-3, 235, and Stewart Johnson- Cedarhurst, Ny. (Lawrence HS) 6-2, 225.
- Chase Anastascio: Fairfax, Va. (Robinson Secondary HS) 6-2, 190, 4.5Chase has been called a "big corner," "safety," and "wide receiver" by many of the people who have seen him play. Currently it looks like Penn State may be recruiting him for defense. However, rumor has it that Chase has Virginia as his big leader.
- Ira Guilford: Hoboken, Nj. (Hoboken HS) 5-11, 185, 4.4Ira, like Dan Mazan, is a New Jersey kid who really likes Ohio State, but has not yet been offered a 'ship. Penn State, Michigan State, and Syracuse are battling it out for second place. Listed as a safety, Ira has a great size/speed ratio to project as a cornerback at the next level. (P.S. - he comes from the same high school as Rashard Casey)
- Rodney Kinlaw: Goose Creek, Sc. (Stratford HS) 5-10, 190, 4.4Recently, Penn State has been mentioned more prominently by Rodney during his interviews. Clemson and Northwestern also remain high on his list. Don't bet against Penn State for the Quiet Storm's nephew.
- Ambrose Wooden: Baltimore, Md. (Gilman HS) 6-1, 180, 4.3When speaking of Ambrose, speed comes instantly to the fore. This kid can run! A academically minded kid, Ambrose, like Jason Evans, has offers from a number of fine institutions nationwide, including Stanford, Penn State, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. Rumored that Penn State was his childhood favorite.
- Ashton Youboty: Klein, Tx. (Klein HS) 6-1, 180, 4.4The situation right now looks like Ashton is deciding whether he wants to head north or stay south. One one hand, he has been offered by the big three in the Big 10 (Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan), while he has garnered offers from Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana State. Keep in mind he has family in Philadelphia, many of whom are Penn State fans.
- Lenny Carter: Wallingford, Pa. (Strath Haven HS) 5-10, 175, 4.3MarshCreek first alerted me to Lenny late last year when Strath Haven HS played West Alleghany HS in the Pennsylvania AAA Championship game. Of course Josh Hannum and Tyler Palko were the marquee seniors, but Lenny Carter played very well. Though not big in stature, the transfer from Wisconsin, can run and do it very fast! He has no Penn State offer, but with super junior linebacker Dan Conner on Strath Haven, Lenny should get a LONG look by many college recruiters.
Analysis: Cornerback depth on Penn State next year will be sparse. After Gio, Zemaitis, Rich Gardner, and Mo Humphrey, we have no one, unless an Anwar or Terrell Phillips gets moved this season. I expect no less than two cornerbacks to be signed in February, with the distinct possibility of three. Currently Kinlaw and Youboty look like the best bets. Wooden would be a fantastic get, while Carter could be a sleeper to keep an eye on. A number of other players interested in the Lions include Tarrell Brown- North Mesquite, Tx. (North Mesquite HS) 5-10, 170 and Vaughn Rivers- Pittsburgh, Pa. (Perry Traditional Academy) 5-9, 170.
- Eric McCollum- Camden, Sc. (Camden HS) 6-1, 175, 4.56Has Eric been offered a 'ship as a QB by Penn State? Probably not as a QB, but maybe as an athlete. He has no other offers besides Penn State, but others should be on the way.
Finally, please keep in mind, if you have any burning questions or information that you feel will be relevant to any future columns, please feel free to email me at Jayst12@yahoo.com.