Every year, recruiting is much like trick-or-treat on Halloween. Now is the time to come back to the house and look through the bag to see what you've got. Player are listed in reverse order of when they committed.
Because this analysis is so long, we are breaking it into sections. We start with the five players who committed to Penn State most recently.
Chimaeze Okoli (Salem High, Virginia Beach, Va.): This 6-foot-5, 275-pound defensive lineman flew under the radar up until after his senior season. Okoli chose Penn State over Virginia Tech, Clemson and Michigan State. Okoli recorded 72 tackles, 15 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 3 fumble recoveries, including one returned for a touchdown while playing defensive end for Salem High. Scout has yet to receive film from Okoli but observers from the Virginia Beach area high school scene indicate he was a beast as a senior. Okoli passes the ever-popular look test, which is always a treat for a coaching staff as you can't coach size. One of the added benefits of that size is the versatility that Okoli brings to Penn State. He could play his natural defensive end position and really be a force shutting down the outside run. Okoli could also move to defensive tackle and be a stout force eating up blockers and keeping the linebackers free to roam. If necessary, Okoli has the size and feet to move to the offensive line and be a road-grading blocker for Nittany Lion running backs. It will be interesting to see where Okoli ends up at PSU. But his talent level certainly makes him a sleeper despite being a bit of a late bloomer on the recruiting scene.
Drew Astorino (General McLane High, Edinboro, Pa.): This 5-11, 175-pound safety prospect was another who benefited from a solid senior season. Astorino had originally committed to Kent State early in the recruiting process but later received offers from Iowa and Penn State before switching his commitment to the Nittany Lions. Astorino was a playmaker on both sides of the ball last year for General McLane, leading the Lancers to the Pennsylvania AAA state championship. As a senior, Astorino ran for 850 yards and 19 touchdowns in addition to making 50 tackles and 6 interceptions as a defensive back. This terrific championship season led Astorino to be named the AP AAA Player of the year and a first team All-State selection. Astorino should be given a look at the safety position at Penn State and could make an impact in coverage schemes as he proved to be a ball hawk at General McLane. Astorino is a playmaker with a great attitude that many coaches would love to have.
Derek Moye (Rochester Area High, Rochester, Pa.): This 6 -5, 185-pound wide receiver prospect was a very versatile player for Rochester over the past two seasons. Moye rushed for 1,019 yards last year and had 430 yards receiving, leading Rochester to the state playoffs. Moye was also known to have a nose for the end zone as he racked up 77 touchdowns in his high school career. Moye chose Penn State over offers from Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Boston College and others. Moye figures to have an impact at Penn State as he brings a lot of size to the wide receiver position. Moye has a bit of a thin build, but that is nothing that a college football workout regimen can't solve. Our expectations are that Moye could be an impact player for the Nittany Lions, but it may be a year or so down the road until he adds the size and strength to fight off Big Ten press coverage.
Devon Still (Howard High School of Technology, Wilmington, Del.): This 6-5, 250-pound defensive line prospect is another versatile talent for the Nittany Lions. Still chose Penn State over several other schools that offered including Ohio State, Michigan, Florida State and Miami. Still recorded 59 tackles, 13 sacks and 1 forced fumble last year for Howard from the defensive end position. Still is a big, strong kid who does what is asked on both sides of the ball. As an offensive lineman, Still is able to pull and punish a defensive lineman or drive block and shield defenders from his running back. On the defensive side of things, Still possesses a strong bull rush and the ability to read and react while keeping his distance from would-be blockers. This versatility should help the Nittany Lions on either the interior or exterior defensive line and, if necessary, Still could move to the offensive side of the ball to become a punishing guard or tackle. Still's skill level is very high and when you team that with his excellent strength and solid coaching from Larry Johnson Sr., he could be an impact player at Penn State sooner rather than later.
Nerraw McCormack (Nassau Community College, Garden City, N.Y.): This 6-5, 290-pound offensive lineman was a rarity for Penn State to pick up in that he comes via the junior college route. McCormack chose Penn State over Kansas and Temple. One definite plus to McCormack is that he is already two years removed from high school so he has only added to his physical maturity and football knowledge in that time. McCormack is an old-school rough and tumble type of a player. He will take your head off. He is very physical and finishes his blocks. He is not a finesse-type of player. He has very good feet and is a solid run-blocker, according to Scout.com recruiting analyst Bob Lichtenfels. Many incoming recruits have to really break through in the summer to see time on the field in the fall, but don't look for that with McCormack. If McCormack has the ability, he will play as soon as next year. With the loss of Levi Brown and Chris Auletta and the injury to John Shaw, offensive tackle will be a position of need for the Nittany Lions and McComack may be the cure.
In the next installment, we look at Ako Poti, Joe Suhey, Stefen Wisniewski, Andrew Szczerba and Quinn Barham.