Most schools prefer to recruit high school players and then build from with in. But sometimes that is not an option. When you need immediate help you look to the junior college ranks. That is something Penn State is not accustomed to doing.
In 1985, Penn State took a wide receiver from Nassau Community College in Garden City, N.Y., named Mike Alexander.
That was the last time the Nittany Lions delved into the JC ranks. This weekend Penn State played played host to a pair of juco offensive linemen: Nerraw McCormack from Nassau Community College and Ako Poti from the Community College of San Francisco.
Besides being from Nassau, the same school that produced Alexander 22 years ago, there is another interesting twist in the recruitment of the 6-foot-5, 290-pound McCormack. Namely, he graduated from John F. Kennedy High in the Bronx, the same school as current Nittany Lion commit Stepfhon Green.
I took an official visit to Penn State this weekend, McCormack said. I really liked the coaches and the players were cool. I got a chance to check out practice. I don't have an offer yet, but they told me that the coaches all liked me and they should be contacting me Monday.
McCormack was not on the Nittany Lions' radar until recently.
They have been recruiting me for about three to four weeks, he explained. Coach (Brian) Norwood said they needed linemen so he came to my school and found me.
McCormack admitted to us that Joe Paterno and his demeanor caught him slightly off guard.
He is a funny guy, McCormack chuckled. I was not expecting him to have a sense of humor like that at all.
Poti arrived on campus later than the rest of the visitors and he will be on campus until Monday.