This month, we take a look at the performance of Penn State's Class of 2007 verbal commitments during their senior seasons.
Quinn Barham - Hillside HS/Durham, N.C.
Barham and his linemates paved the way for an explosive Hillside offense that averaged nearly 40 points per game on the way to a 10-2 season and a conference championship. Barham was selected to participate in the Shrine Bowl for the North Carolina All-Stars.
Barham is much more than a talented football player, however. He is also an outstanding student, carrying a 3.7 GPA, and a leader on the field and in the community. The NFL's Carolina Panthers named Barham a Community Captain this year in recognition for his contributions on the field, in the classroom and in the community.
Barham will need to spend a year in the weight room (while redshirting) to put some bulk on his 6-foot-4 265-pound frame before getting a chance to contribute on the Penn State offensive line.
Ryan Breen - Clarkston HS/Clarkston, Mich.
Breen handled all of the kicking duties for a talented Clarkston team this season. He averaged 36 yards per punt on 22 attempts. He made five field goals with a long of 33 yards and went 26 for 31 on extra point attempts. Breen also regularly recorded touchbacks on kickoffs. Breen was named All-Metro by the Detroit News.
Clarkston finished the season with a 10-2 record and made it into the third round of the Michigan Division 1 playoffs before succumbing to Macomb Dakota.
Chris Colasanti - Brother Rice HS/Bloomfield, Mich.
Colasanti was the unquestioned leader of the Brother Rice defense, finishing the 2006 season with 106 tackles, 8 tackles for loss and 7 sacks, all team highs. He also recorded two fumble recoveries and a safety. On offense, Colasanti played fullback and carried the ball 16 times for 117 yards.
Brother Rice, the defending Division 2 state champions, compiled an 11-1 record and spent the season ranked in the top five of the Detroit Free Press' Super 10. It defeated its first two playoff opponents by a combined score of 68-6 before being upset in the regional final by Warren De La Salle, a team they had beaten twice during the season. The Crusaders were ranked 24th in the USA Today Super 25 poll at the time of their season-ending loss.
Colasanti was named All-Metro North by the Detroit News and should also be an All-State selection. The Penn State coaches plan to use Colasanti at inside linebacker, which could allow him to make a rapid adjustment to the college level since he is already comfortable playing the position.
Andrew Dailey - Massillon HS/Massillon, Ohio
Dailey was heavily involved on offense, defense and special teams for Massillon, but neither he nor his team was quite able to duplicate the enormous success they enjoyed in 2005. Dailey moved from strong safety, where he racked up 81 tackles as a junior, to outside linebacker in order to put his speed to better use. He made 23 tackles in 2006, including a half sack and one tackle for loss. He also recovered a fumble and returned an interception for a touchdown.
At wide receiver, Dailey caught 24 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns. He was also the team's kickoff return specialist, averaging 22.9 yards per return.
Massillon, the Ohio Division 1 defending state champion, posted a couple of marquee victories in 2006, including a 35-26 win over nationally ranked Hamilton (Ariz.) in which Dailey turned the game in the Tigers' favor with a 20-yard interception return for a score.
In the end, a tough schedule was too much to overcome, and Massillon finished 7-5. Its reign as state champion ended in the first round of the Region 2 playoffs with a loss to Toledo Whitmer.
Dailey will get a look at outside linebacker once he arrives at Penn State but he could also has the speed to play strong safety if need be.
Jon Ditto - Gateway HS/Monroeville, Pa.
Ditto had a frustrating senior season as he dealt with injury problems and a Gateway team that was hit hard by graduation losses.
Ditto did not get as many touches as he had in previous seasons because the Gators started a freshman quarterback and mainly relied on their running game. He caught 17 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns. He also carried the ball six times for 102 yards and two touchdowns, including a 60-yarder. Finally, Ditto threw a 29-yard touchdown pass on a trick play.
He missed four games late in the year with a back injury, but returned for the team's WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinal game against Penn Hills. The Gators lost that matchup to finish with a 6-5 record. Ditto intends to enroll at Penn State for the spring semester.
Stephfon Green - John F. Kennedy HS/Bronx, N.Y.
Green had a very promising senior season cut short by a broken leg in the fifth game. After managing just 36 yards in his first game, Green exploded for 330 yards rushing and five touchdowns on six carries against Abraham Lincoln. He finished the season with 740 yards on 50 carries and 10 touchdowns in five games. On defense, Green made 21 tackles and two interceptions.
JFK finished the season 5-5. The team was 3-1 with Green healthy but only 2-4 after his injury. Green was originally recruited exclusively as a defensive back by Penn State, but his performance at tailback this season opened the eyes of the coaching staff and may lead to a look on both sides of the ball as a freshman.
Kevion Latham - Page HS/Greensboro, N.C.
Latham created havoc to the tune of 93 tackles, including an incredible 23 sacks, and two fumble recoveries.
Those numbers were good enough to earn an invitation to play for the North Carolina All-Stars in the annual Shrine Bowl. Latham and his Page teammates finished the 2006 season at 7-5, making it into the North Carolina 4-A West quarterfinals before falling to Watauga.
Latham thought about some other colleges in October and November, but has since said he is firm in his commitment to Penn State. He is now listed at 6-3, 240 pounds.
Josh Marks - Southern Columbia HS/Catawissa, Pa.
Southern Columbia relied heavily on its running game coupled with a suffocating defense, and Marks was a main cog on both sides of the line. The Tigers cruised to their fifth consecutive Class A state championship by stomping West Middlsex 56-14.
Marks played a large role in his team's success, paving the way for the potent Tiger rushing attack to amass more 3,200 yards and 50 touchdowns. He is also responsible for plugging up the middle of the line on a defense that allowed less than two yards per rushing attempt. He was recently named the Offensive and Defensive Lineman of the Year in the Central Susquehanna Conference.
Once he arrives at Penn State, Marks' days on defense will be behind him. Despite the fact that he is perfectly suited to play guard, he may be forced to start out at tackle due to the Lions' razor thin depth at that position.
Ako Poti - City College of San Francisco/Daly City, Calif.
Penn State has shied away from junior college players by and large due to questions about whether they could handle the academic load in Happy Valley. Poti's situation is different, however. He went to City College of San Francisco in an attempt to get more Division I scholarship offers, not for academic issues.
His plan worked perfectly. After garnering just one scholarship offer following his senior year of high school), Poti chose Penn State in mid-December over offers from BYU, Kentucky, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Utah, where his father was an All-American.
Poti's team finished the 2006 season with a 9-1 record. He earned the NoCal Conference Player of the Week award once during the campaign for a game which saw him record 11 pancake blocks and allow no sacks. His consistent play throughout the season was rewarded with a third-team JUCO All-American selection.
He is considered one of the top JUCO offensive lineman in the West and will enroll at Penn State in January, allowing him to participate in spring practice and make an immediate push for playing time. Poti has three years in which to play his remaining two seasons of eligibility, meaning he can redshirt if needed.
Chaz Powell - Susquehannock HS/Glen Rock, Pa.
The 2006 campaign will go down as one of the greatest seasons in Susquehannock football history thanks mainly to Powell. Despite missing nearly all of the first two games due to an ankle injury, Powell still managed to rush for 1,158 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. He was also a weapon in the passing game with three touchdown catches and on special teams with two kickoff returns for touchdowns of 86 and 100 yards, respectively. On defense, Powell was the team's shutdown cornerback.
Susquehannock finished the season at 10-2. Their only loss in which Powell played came in the District 3 Class AAA quarterfinals to New Oxford. The program had never won a playoff game in its history, but thanks to Powell, that streak is over. Under playoff pressure, Powell came up big, rushing for 117 yards and two touchdowns and returning an interception 74 yards for the first score of Susquehannock's first round victory over Greencastle-Antrim.
Powell's explosive performance on offense this season may give the Penn State coaches something extra to consider. He was recruited mainly to play defensive back, but he could also be a valuable asset on kick returns.
Nate Stupar - State College HS/State College, Pa.
Stupar had a major impact on both sides of the ball for the Little Lions in 2006. At tight end, he caught 36 passes for 554 yards and six touchdowns through the team's first 13 games. He also rushed for 215 yards and two touchdowns. Those numbers are more impressive when you consider that Stupar missed the better part of three games late in the season due to an ankle injury.
The State College defense was ferocious, recording four shutouts and allowing only 13.3 points per game. Stupar played both defensive end and linebacker and is considered the hardest hitter in the Mid-Penn Conference. He supplied constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks and made it difficult for opponents to run the ball as well.
State College went 12-3 and capped a terrific playoff run with a 28-20 loss to eventually AAAA champ Upper St. Clair in the state semifinals.
Stupar will become a part of Penn State's Linebacker U. tradition when he arrives on campus next fall.
Joe Suhey - Loyola Academy/Wilmet, Ill.
Stupar is not the only player in the Class of 2007 with strong Penn State bloodlines. Suhey is the son of former Nittany Lion and Chicago Bear fullback Matt Suhey. He was a three-year varsity starter for Loyola and was one of the most versatile athletes in the program.
We don't have full season statistics for Suhey. He rushed for 147 yards on 28 carries in a game when he was asked to fill in for the team's starting tailback. As a wide receiver, he recorded touchdown catches of 25, 30 and 45 yards, helping him earn All-Area honors following the season. Suhey chose Penn State over interest from Ball State, Illinois, Northern Illinois and Northwestern.
Suhey was a Chicago Sun-Times Top 100 selection in 2006 and is also an All-Conference basketball player for Loyola where Michael Jordan's son (Jeff) is a teammate. It is uncertain where Suhey projects at Penn State. He could be a wide receiver, a safety or even follow in his father's footsteps and become a fullback. He will most likely redshirt in 2007 to build up his frame in the weight room.
Nick Sukay - Greensburg Central Catholic HS/Greensburg, Pa.
Sukay was mainly recruited as a defensive back by Penn State, but after his performance this season, the coaches might have a tough time deciding where to play him. Sukay caught 32 passes for 609 yards and six touchdowns in Greensburg's run-oriented offense. He was just as impressive on defense, racking up more than 70 tackles and collecting eight interceptions. He also had a fumble return for a touchdown. Finally, Sukay was the Centurions' primary kick and punt returner. He averaged 40 yards per kick return and returned two punts for touchdowns.
Greensburg Central Catholic had state title aspirations and was the top ranked team in Class AA for much of the season. But it was unable to solve junior superstar Terrelle Pryor and rival Jeannette, losing to them once in the regular season and again in the WPIAL Class AA finals. The Centurions finished with an 11-2 record.
Sukay was named to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Fabulous 22 team and is a shoe-in for first-team All-State honors. He will enroll in January at Penn State and should get a look at both wide receiver and safety in spring practice.
Andrew Szczerba - Salesianum HS/Wilmington, Del.
Szczerba played tight end in Salesianum's run-dominant offense. He was a great blocker, paving the way for a running game that put up over 300 yards on several occasions this season.
Szczerba was a big target when the Sales did throw, catching 10 passes for 175 yards and three touchdowns as of this writing. He was also a major factor for a defense that had recorded four shutouts.
Salesianum was the top-ranked team in Delaware throughout the season and the team posted the first 10-0 regular season in school history. The Sales defended their state championship with a 34-17 blowout of Sussex Central in the title game.
Szczerba has already earned first-team All-Catholic Conference recognition at both tight end and defensive end and was named the Delaware Gatorade Player of the Year. It's unknown at this point whether Szczerba will remain a tight end at Penn State or be asked to bulk up and play offensive tackle.
Stefen Wisniewski - Central Catholic HS/Pittsburgh, Pa.
A tense few weeks for Penn State fans came to a happy end as Wisniewski decided to follow in his father's and uncle's footsteps and become a Nittany Lion. The 6-foot-3, 27- pound Wisniewski has been a fixture on both sides of the line for Central Catholic the past three seasons.
The Viking offense averaged 28 points per game last season and Wisniewski was a big part of the success. A dominant run blocker, Wisniewski blew open holes from his tackle spot for a potent running attack. He was also an outstanding defensive tackle and contributed greatly to the defense holding opponents to 10 points per game.
Central Catholic was expected to challenge for another WPIAL Class AAAA title but the Vikings were tripped up in the semifinals by Penn Hills and finished with a 10-1 record. Wisniewski will garner several postseason honors, including all-conference, All-WPIAL and All-State. He was named to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Fabulous 22 team and will be playing for the East squad at this year's U.S. Army All-American Bowl.