Going hand-in-hand with who Penn State will target has to be the following question: How many scholarships do the Nittany Lions have to hand out this year? That question is always impossible to answer definitively. But let me take an "educated" guess based on the history, reading tea leaves and that favorite hobby again, "speculation."
Will all these quarterbacks still be at the position after spring practice? Bet on no. With Anthony Morelli graduating after the season, one quarterback makes sense in this class.
And who would Penn State like that quarterback to be? Jeannette's Terrelle Pryor. If you have not heard of the top prospect in Pennsylvania, you must live under a rock. Compared favorably in all aspects of his game to former Texas quarterback Vince Young, Pryor will kill you with his legs and his arm. Also a tremendous basketball prospect, Pryor likes Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Florida, etc. early.
Looking at this depth chart, Broderick Green's decision still completely puzzles me. Calling the running back position thin would be like calling Terrell Owens a little whiny. It's a HUGE under-exaggeration. The Nittany Lions may have to take three backs in this class.
At this early juncture, the only running back names that have surfaced with any connections to Penn State are Absecon (N.J.) Holy Cross High's William Washington and Kent (Wash.) Kentwood High's Demetrius Bronson.
With the bulk of wide receivers now becoming upperclassmen, the coaching staff must make a concentrated effort to keep infusing the position with young talent. Two wide receivers make sense in this class, though with the right kids, three may happen.
This season it starts with Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha stud Kenny Tate. At 6-4, Tate is a tall, physical and fast wide receiver. He may be one of the top 20 recruits in the nation.
Altoona's A.J. Alexander's game is predicated on pure speed. He would look tremendous returning kickoffs and punts in Beaver Stadium.
With three in the last two classes and limited numbers, Penn State will probably not take a tight end in this class, unless a current player makes a position switch (such as Andrew Szczerba to tackle).
Bottom line, two tackles who can come in and contribute within two years are a must. Reportedly, Penn State is very high on Norfolk (Va.) Maury's Vinston Painter. He will be tough to get out Virginia, but having Levi Brown chosen very high in this spring's NFL draft will be a great selling point.
Unless a player gets injured, transfers or a stud just jumps out at the staff, Penn State does not need to make interior line a priority.
Like defensive tackle, defensive end has been a priority in the last two recruiting classes. Apply the scenarios for taking a tackle to this position as well.
2007 will be Dan Connor's final year in the Blue and White. Sean Lee, Dontey Brown and Tyrell Sales will all be juniors, so despite signing three prep All-America linebackers (Chris Colasanti, Andrew Dailey and Nathan Stupar), the position will again be a priority for next February's class and should have at least two players for depth purposes.
Pennsylvania offers two outstanding linebackers who have both received indications that offers should be arriving soon. Hopewell High's David Posluszny is, of course, well known to Penn State fans. Although he does not have his brother's size, David shares his hard-nosed, western Pennsylvania style. A potential strong safety or weak-side linebacker, will he look to escape his brother's shadow and head to Notre Dame?
Andrew Sweat is the other Keystone State athlete to keep an eye on. A tackling machine from his outside linebacker position, Sweat has claimed a verbal offer from Penn State. His size and speed combination appears to be the epitome of what Nittany Lion linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden looks for in his players. Sweat is right in line with tStupar, Lee or Connor in terms of style style. He will get heavy interest from most of the Midwest powers.
Two of the top linebackers in the country -- Brandon Beachum and Mike Zordich -- play on the same high school team, Youngstown (Ohio) Mooney. Beachum may be ranked as the top linebacker in Ohio for 2007 because of his aggressive style play and sideline-to-sideline speed. If Beachum slips to No. 2 linebacker, it is only because Zordich rises above him. The son of a former Nittany Lion, he has already received interest from all the powers in the Big Ten, LSU and Notre Dame. Both linebackers have Penn State and Ohio State high on their list, so the Nittany Lions have their work cut out for them with Buckeye coach Jim Tressell seemingly having built a wall around most of Ohio's top prospects.
As an aside: Pitt architects have built a similar wall, though because of issues with understanding scale, it stands only six inches high.
New Jersey is universally famed for being the birthplace of Bruce Springsteen, Charlie Weis's love of buffets and the rich tradition of Rutgers football. This year it offers a very skilled linebacker. Roxbury's Brendan Beal is an impressive 6-4, 235-pounder who has already attracted the interest of schools across the country due to his good grades and nearly 300 tackles in two seasons. Word is Notre Dame could be offering soon.
With another quality season, it is not out of the realm of possibility to imagine Justin King making the jump to the NFL. Luckily, the depth (on paper) at cornerback could be the deepest it has ever been at Penn State. Speed is always a welcome addition, so one corner might be taken.
Jarred Holley from Easton, Pa., could be the top player in the eastern part of the state. Although he does not possess the top end speed of King, Holley is a lockdown corner who helped Easton High field one of the top defenses in Pennsylvania in 2006. His father has already stated that academic-oriented programs will get priority on his list, so this one could come down to a Penn State/Notre Dame battle.
Like cornerback, Penn State does not lose anyone at the position next season.
Leon Green from West Mifflin, Pa., has been on Tom Bradley's list for some time now. Green, who also plays quarterback, has already started getting looks from schools up and down the East Coast.
# 4 Terrell Golden: Norfolk, Va. (Lake Taylor HS) 6-3, 215 WR 5Sr./Sr.
# 8 Rodney Kinlaw: Goose Creek, S.C. (Stratford HS) 5-9, 193 RB 5Sr./Sr.
#14 Anthony Morelli: Pittsburgh, Pa. (Penn Hills HS) 6-4, 220 QB Sr./Sr.
#25 Brandon Perretta: Altoona, Pa. (Altoona HS) 5-7, 180 WR 5Sr./Sr.
#33 Austin Scott: Allentown, Pa. (Parkland HS) 6-0, 209 RB 5Sr./Sr.
#34 Matt Hahn: Melville, N.Y. (St. Anthony's HS) 6-0, 230 FB Sr./Sr.
#40 Dan Connor: Wallingford, Pa. (Strath Haven HS) 6-3, 225 OLB Sr./Sr.
#78 John Shaw: Spring Grove, Pa. (Spring Grove HS) 6-4, 299 T 5Sr./Sr.
[Speculation]: There has been recent questions about whether Perretta will be on scholarship in '07.
# 1 Justin King: Monroeville, Pa. (Gateway HS) 6-0, 181 CB Jr./Jr.
# 2 Derrick Williams: Greenbelt, Md. (Eleanor Roosevelt HS) 6-0, 201 WR Jr./Jr.
# 3 Deon Butler: Hylton, Va. (Woodbridge HS) 5-10, 166 WR Sr./Jr.
# 7 Anthony Scirrotto: West Deptford, N.J. (West Deptford HS) 6-0, 192 Saf Jr./Jr.
#10 Lydell Sargeant: Lompoc, Ca. (Cabrillo HS) 5-10, 183 CB Jr./Jr.
#11 Tony Davis: Warren, Oh. (Howland HS) 5-10, 193 CB Sr./Jr.
#15 Paul Cianciolo: Charleston, Sc. (Fort Dorchester HS) 6-4, 222 QB Sr./Jr.
#23 Kevin Kelly: Langhorne, Pa. (Neshaminy HS) 5-7, 173 K Jr./Jr.
#24 Jordan Norwood: State College, Pa. (State College HS) 5-10, 168 WR Jr./Jr.
#37 Spencer Ridenhour: White Plains, N.Y. (White Plains HS) 6-0, 199 Saf Sr./Jr.
#38 Dan Lawlor: Mechanicsburg, Pa. (Cumberland Valley HS) 6-2, 241 FB Sr./Jr.
#45 Sean Lee: Pittsburgh, Pa. (Upper St. Clair HS) 6-2, 222 OLB Jr./Jr.
#46 Tyrell Sales: Butler, Pa. (Butler HS) 6-3, 234 OLB Sr./Jr.
#47 Josh Gaines: Fort Wayne, In. (Northrop HS) 6-1, 263 DE Sr./Jr.
#52 Dontey Brown: McKeesport, Pa. (McKeesport HS) 6-2, 236 MLB Sr./Jr.
#54 Jed Hill: Struthers, Oh. (Struthers HS) 6-2, 251 DE Sr./Jr.
#55 Elijah Robinson: Camden, N.J. (Wilson HS) 6-2, 287 G Sr./Jr.
#56 Austin Hinton: Secaucus, N.J. (Secaucus HS) 6-2, 289 G Jr./So.
#57 A.Q. Shipley: Coraopolis, Pa. (Moon HS) 6-1, 297 C Sr./Jr.
#64 Rich Ohrnberger: East Meadow, N.Y. (East Meadow HS) 6-2, 296 G Sr./Jr.
#76 Gerald Cadogan: Portsmouth, Ohio (Portsmouth HS) 6-5, 296 T Sr./Jr.
#80 Mark Rubin: Amherst, N.Y. (Amherst Central HS) 6-3, 213 WR Sr./Jr.
#86 Mike Lucian: Frederick, Md. (Lingalore HS) 6-2, 276 DT Sr./Jr.
#89 Jordan Lyons: Atlanta, Ga. (Woodward Academy) 6-5, 249 TE Sr./Jr.
Ako Poti: San Fransisco, Calif. (College of San Fransisco) 6-6, 305 OL Jr./Jr.
Nerraw McCormack: Bronx, N.Y. (Nassau Community College) 6-5, 290 OL Jr./Jr. *
[Speculation]: This is the class where the majority of open scholarships would come from. It would not be shocking to see a couple kids transfer out after spring practice when a younger player jumps them on the depth chart. If they choose to stay at Penn State to get their degree, they may not return for their 5th year of eligibility. This class could lose 5-7 players in the next year.
* - will not enroll at Penn State until summer.
# 5 Jerome Hayes: Bayonne, N.J. (Bayonne HS) 6-2, 236 MLB Jr./So.
#10 Andrew Quarless: Uniondale, N.Y. (Uniondale HS) 6-5, 249 TE So./So.
#12 A.J. Wallace: Pomfret, Md. (McDonough HS) 6-1, 189 WR So./So.
#16 Francis Claude: Laval, Quebec (Champlain College) 6-5, 252 TE Jr./So.
#17 Daryll Clark: Youngstown, Ohio (Ursuline HS) 6-2, 224 QB Jr./So.
#19 Chris Bell: Norfolk, Va. (Granby HS) 6-2, 200 WR So./So.
#21 Knowledge Timmons: York, Pa. (William Penn HS) 5-10, 181 CB Jr./So.
#25 Devin Fentress: Chesapeake, Va. (Western Branch HS) 5-10, 165 CB Jr./So.
#28 Willie Harriott: New Haven, Conn. (Hyde Leadership HS) 5-8, 176 CB Jr./So.
#29 Kevin Suhey: State College, Pa. (State College HS) 6-1, 200 QB Jr./So.
#48 Maurice Evans: Brooklyn, N.Y. (Christ the King HS) 6-2, 256 DE So./So.
#73 Dennis Landolt: Burlington, N.J. (Holy Cross HS) 6-4, 291 T Jr./So.
#81 Brennan Coakley: Newtown, Conn. (Newtown HS) 6-4, 244 TE Jr./So.
#82 Micky Shuler: Enola, Pa. (East Pennsboro HS) 6-4, 234 FB Jr./So.
#83 Kevin Cousins: Richmond, Va. (Huguenot HS) 6-3, 205 WR Jr./So.
#84 James McDonald: Washington, D.C. (Dunbar HS) 6-2, 189 WR Jr./So.
#90 Phillip Taylor: Brandywine, Md. (Gwynn Park HS) 6-4, 344 DT So./So.
#91 Jared Odrick: Lebanon, Pa. (Lebanon HS) 6-5, 280 DE So./So.
#93 Chris Baker: Windsor, Conn. (Windsor HS) 6-2, 290 DT Jr./So.
[Speculation]: Will Claude return in '07? Speculation only intensified after a late season altercation off campus.
#5 Brett Brackett: Lawrence, N.J. (Lawrence HS) 6-6, 235 QB So./Fr.
#7 Pat Devlin: Downington, Pa. (Downington East HS) 6-4, 202 QB So./Fr.
#15 Bani Gbadyu: Gaithersburg, Md. (Quince Orchard HS) 6-0, 206 LB So./Fr.
#18 Navarro Bowman: Suitland, Md. (Suitland HS) 6-1, 214 LB So./Fr.
#22 Evan Royster: Centreville, Va. (Westfield HS) 6-1, 200 RB So./Fr.
#27 Travis McBride: McKeesport, Pa. (McKeesport HS) 6-1, 192 DB So./Fr.
#29 Cedric Jeffries: Egg Harbor, N.J. (Egg Harbor Township HS) 6-2, 192 DB So./Fr.
#32 Brent Carter: Pottstown, Pa. (Pottsgrove HS) 6-2, 199 RB So./Fr.
#55 Tom McEowen: Neshaminy, Pa. (Neshaminy HS) 6-4, 279 DT So./Fr.
#59 Aaron Maybin: Ellicot City, Md. (Mount Hebron HS) 6-4, 226 DE So./Fr.
#68 Doug Klopacz: Montvale, N.J. (St. Joseph's Regional HS) 6-3, 261 OL So./Fr.
#75 Antonio Logan-El: Forestville, Md. (Forestville HS) 6-5, 308 OL So./Fr.
#77 Lou Eliades: Oakhurst, N.J. (Ocean Twp HS) 6-4, 294 OL So./Fr.
#85 Ollie Ogbu: New Berlin, N.Y. (Milford Academy) 6-1, 278 DT So./Fr.
#97 Abe Koroma: Hersehy, Pa. (The Milton Hershey School) 6-3, 306 DT So./Fr.
[Speculation]: McBride was not in Tampa for the Outback Bowl. Will he be with the team this spring? The Logan-El rumors of unhappiness were loud during the season and have continued to amplify during the last couple weeks.
Incoming True Freshman - Spring (4)
Eric Latimore: Middletown, Del. (Middletown HS) 6-5, 260 DE tFr./tFr.
Johnnie Troutman: Browns Mills, N.J. (Pemberton HS) 6-5, 305 OL tFr./tFr.
Jon Ditto: Monroeville, Pa. (Gateway HS) 6-4, 225 TE/WR tFr./tFr.
Nick Sukay: Greensburg, Pa. (Greensburg Central Catholic HS) 6-3, 195 Saf tFr./tFr.
Incoming True Freshman – Fall (17)
J.B. Walton: Indian Head, Md. (Lackey HS) 6-3, 275 OL tFr./tFr.
Chris Colasanti: Birmingham, Mich. (Brother Rice HS) 6-3, 225 LB tFr./tFr.
Josh Marks: Catawissa, Pa. (Southern Columbia HS) 6-5, 300 OL tFr./tFr.
Nathan Stupar: State College, Pa. (State College HS) 6-2, 220 LB tFr./tFr.
Chaz Powell: New Freedom, Pa. (Susquehannock HS) 6-1, 185 Saf tFr./tFr.
Ryan Breen: Clarkston, Mich. (Clarkston HS) 6-2, 205 P tFr./tFr.
Kevion Latham: Greensboro, N.C. (Page HS) 6-3, 235 DE tFr./tFr.
Stephfon Green: Bronx, N.Y. (John F. Kennedy HS) 5-11, 185 CB tFr./tFr.
Andrew Dailey: Massilion, Ohio (Washington HS) 6-3, 215 LB tFr./tFr.
Quinn Barham: Durham, N.C. (Hillside HS) 6-4, 270 OL tFr./tFr.
Andrew Szczerba: Wilmington, Del. (Salesnium HS) 6-6, 250 TE tFr./tFr.
Stefen Wisniewski: Pittsburgh, Pa. (Central Catholic HS) 6-4, 265 OL tFr./tFr.
Joe Suhey: Wilmette, Ill. (Loyola Academy) 6-2, 205 Ath tFr./tFr.
Devon Still: Wilmington, De. (Howard HS of Technology) 6-5, 255 DE tFr./tFr.
Derek Moye: Rochester, Pa. (Rochester HS) 6-5, 195 WR tFr./tFr.
Drew Astorino: Edinboro, Pa. (General McLane HS) 5-11, 185 DB tFr./tFr.
Chimaeze Okoli: Virginia Beach, Va. (Salem HS) 6-5, 275 DE/DT tFr./tFr.
[Analysis]: Will Penn State employ the use of a grayshirt with athletes Joe Suhey and Drew Astorino?
Currently, there are 89 players who could be on scholarship at Penn State, with 7-8 being used by seniors. The Nittany Lion coaching staff must still maneuver and find four scholarship openings (two if the aforementioned kids grayshirt). The number of available scholarships next year is dependent on how many players decide to go elsewhere via transfer or not take their final year of eligibility.
A dozen scholarships for the Class of 2008 might be on the high side.