The Lion's Lounge (Offense)

PSU would love to sign another quality group. Who are the coaches zeroing in on? Which bluechips have we offered?

Current Verbals:
#1.DT  John Shaw - Spring Grove, Pa.  (Spring Grove Area HS)  6-4, 275, 4.8
When John committed back in the summer, he was lauded for tremendous work ethic, building himself into solid 275 lber over a winter.  His hard work has helped enjoy a dominating season for Spring Grove, leading them to an 8-1 record.  He has a tremendous opportunity to see significant playing time as a true freshman (see Defensive Tackle analysis below).

#2. OLB Paul Posluszny - Hopewell, Pa.  (Hopewell HS)  6-2, 210, 4.6
Paul has missed Hopewell's last two games because of an ankle injury.  Despite missing their best player, they have continued to roll up the wins.  Expect Hopewell to make it deep in the West's AAA playoffs.  Before his injury, Posluszny enjoyed a fantastic season, putting up impressive stats, mostly at running back.  There is no doubt however, he will be an 'backer at Penn State.  His frame looks like it could carry 230 lbs easily without losing speed or agility.

#3. RB Jason Evans - Kennesaw, Ga.  (Harrison HS)  6-1, 190, 4.4
The debate surrounding Jason Evans this week on the board has mainly been about stats.  For just one second, let's throw stats out the window, because they are not always a true indicator of a player's ability.  This weekend, while playing running back, Jason carried the ball 19 times for 84 yards (not counting a 72 yard called back).  He also had 52 yards receiving, returned a kickoff for 65 yards, recorded 8 tackles, and by the way, he broke up three passes.  All in one days work!  Jason may not be putting up numbers equivalent to Austin Scott, but he does not have to for Harrison HS to win.  He will report to Penn State with a terrific resume, full of awards and accolades which represent his athletic ability.  This weekend Jason will visit Oklahoma (11-2) for the Sooners tilt versus the Buffaloes.  If he comes home from Norman saying he is still a verbal commitment, I feel very good about final chances.  A Stanford visit may still occur, but to date that has not been set.

#4. RB Austin Scott - Allentown, Pa.  (Parkland HS)  6-1, 205, 4.4
Austin will enter Penn State this fall sporting some of the "filthiest" numbers of any running back in Pennsylvania high school football history.  He now has over 2,000 yards this season, after throwing up 402 yards against Freedom this weekend.  It's fair to say he is a lock to represent Pennsylvania in the Big 33 game this summer.  No one should expect any true freshman to contribute, but Austin will be another player the Penn State coaches will have to take a long look at before any redshirt decision is made.

This month's Lion's Lounge includes designations that will give an indication of where Penn State stands with the prospect.

* * * * - Penn State leads or co-leads.
* * *      - Penn State will get a definite official visit.
* *           - Penn State may get an official visit.
*                - Penn State has been mentioned but does not appear in the picture.

* - indicates no offer from Penn State .

1. Quarterback:  (3) Zack Mills (Jr.), Michael Robinson (So.), Chris Ganter (So.)

The future is set for at least four more years.  Zack had a bad game this weekend, but remember, he is just a sophomore.  He can only get better with maturity.  Robinson's athleticism makes him dangerous any time he touches the ball.  Given the chance, Chris Ganter could really surprise some people.  Not bringing in a quarterback with the previous two classes could be disastrous, but if Penn State can grab current junior star, Chad Henne from Wilson HS in West Lawn, Pa., things will be looking very bright.  Don't be surprised if Penn State signs two quarterbacks with the Class of 2008.

Chris Leak - Charlotte, Nc.  (Independence HS)  6-1, 210, 4.6   *
Currently, it appears that Penn State is completely out of the picture for Chris, which is not surprising.  It does not seem that the Nittany Lions have made a great push for any quarterback this season.  Although Chris' dad has stated otherwise, the Lions were never really even a mild contender for his son's services.
official visits - Florida (10-19); Tennessee, Florida State, Texas, Notre Dame, and USC

Going, going, gone? (Had an interest in Penn State) :
* Kevin McCabe - Committed to Virginia
* Andre Woodsen - Committed to Kentucky
* Marcus Stone - Committed to North Carolina State

2. Runningback:  TBs (4) - Michael Gasparato (Jr.), Pete Gilmore (Jr.), Tim Shaw (So.), Donnie Johnson (Fr.); FBs (5) - Paul Jefferson (Sr.), Sean McHugh (Sr.), Ricky Upton (Sr.), BranDon Snow (Fr.), Chris Wilson (Fr.)

With Larry Johnson proving he is a workhorse running back in the mold of Ki-Jana and Enis, we have not had a true evaluation of the talent behind him.  Gasparato has looked good, bringing a dangerous ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.  But he has not proven he can be an every down 'back.  Gilmore looks like he has been passed on the depth chart but true freshman Tim Shaw, a bruiser who very well may end up starting next season.  Larry Johnson raved about Donnie Johnson in the preseason.  The coaching staff made a great decision by redshirting him this season, though he may have certainly helped out on kickoff returns.

While of tailback may not be proven next season, fullback holds a wealth of experience.  Paul Jefferson and Sean McHugh have both played well this season, dishing out their fair share of punishment to Big Ten defenders.  Ricky Upton doesn't have his peers blocking ability, but he may be the most dangerous runner of the bunch.  BranDon Snow will have 200, 000+ eyes on him next season when he steps on the field for the first time.  His highlight tape may have been the most impressive collection of highlight plays ever put together for a high school fullback.  He could easily move to tailback or linebacker.  Chris Wilson remains the unknown of the freshman because a back injury has left him unable to practice.  He's been rumored to have been practicing (pre injury) at tailback, fullback, and middle linebacker.

Brian Dennison - Jacksonville, Fl.  (Mandarin HS)  5-10, 194, 4.4   * *
Like the situation that occurred with Mandarin HS star Cedric Taylor last season, Brian Dennison's recruiting has become a bit fuzzy.  He claims to have an offer from Penn State, but that may currently be in question.  With two of the top 'backs in the nation already in the fold, the Nittany Lions seemed to have cooled on him, sending only letters.
official visits - none set

Going, going, gone? :
Barrington Edwards - Georgia (11-30), Michigan State (12-13), and Maryland (12-20)
Kregg Lumpkin - Committed to Georgia
Tashard Choice - Alabama, Gegoria Tech, Auburn, Clemson, South Carolina and Vanderbilt
Tyrone Moss - Miami (LOCK!), Virginia Tech, and Michigan State
Jerome Jackson - Michigan State (11-5), Purdue (9-27), Minnesota (11-8), and Michigan (11-1)
Lance Ball - Committed to Maryland
* Darrell Blackman - NC State, Iowa, Maryland, and Michigan State

3 Athlete:
When reading the names below, it will jump out at you that all of these players could be outstanding running backs or defensive backs on the next level.  Because they have this versatility on the gridiron, they have been placed in this special category.  In recent years, Penn State has been criticized for not having enough speed at the skill positions.  Following the script of teams like Florida State and Miami, Penn State will look to sign high end athletes and teach them how to play a position.  As the saying goes, "Either you have speed or your chasing it from behind!"

*Albert Young - Moorestown, Nj.  (Moorestown HS)  5-10, 205, 4.4   * * *
Wisconsin holds the lead for Albert right now, but Penn State appears to be hanging close.  The question is where does Albert fit in--on the offensive or defensive side of the ball.  The kid's a stud athlete, who should see the field quickly at which ever institutions he chooses to spend his college career.  The Nittany Lions have not offered as of yet.  If they did, would they climb up Albert's list?
official visits - Wisconsin (12-6), Virginia (1-17); Penn State, Boston College, and Miami, Fl.

Andre Callender  - West Orange, Nj.  (Seton Hall Prep)  5-10, 185, 4.4   * * *
Andre has had a very good season, rushing for 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns for a mediocre (3-3) Seton Hall team.  Recently Andre has seemed to cool on Penn State, while Michigan State and Boston College have risen up his list.  In fact, look for Michigan State as the leader here.  Rumor has it that Roselle, Nj. wide receiver Jesse Holley and Andre are very good friends.  Holley, a basketball and football star, is being tempted with playing basketball for Tom Izzo as well as football for whoever wants to step in the mess that is Spartan football.  Other teams that include on Andre's list include Clemson and North Carolina.
official visits - none set

Rodney Kinlaw  - Goose Creek, Sc.  (Stratford HS)  5-10, 185, 4.3   * * *
Rodney gets overshadowed in South Carolina because of the state's abundance of quality running backs, including The Insiders' # 1 'back Demetrius Summers.  But there is no doubt why a number of high echelon teams have offered Rodney.  Just recently, posted video of Rodney on their web site.  Rodney reminds me of a slighter Eric McCoo or Iowa's Fred Russell--he is not very thick, but he has outstanding vision, shake to go with his bake, and great speed.  He has the potential to be a very good back if used in the right scheme.  Because of his lack of bulk, he will not be a back who can pound it up the gut constantly.  There were no defensive clips for Rodney, but defense could be a possibility at any school he chooses.  Virginia Tech seems like the team to beat, but he consistently mentions Penn State, South Carolina, Clemson, and NC State too.  
official visits - none set

* Kenni Burns - Springfield, Il.  (Sacred Heart HS)  6-0, 190, 4.4   *
Kenni has not been offered by Penn State and it seems that they may have cooled on him completely.  He has only scheduled a visit to Missouri (12-13), but also sports offers from Ball State, Boston College, and Northern Illinois.
official visits - Missouri (12-13)

Ervin Battle-Baldwin - Richmond, Va.  (Huguenot HS)  6-2, 225, 4.6   * *
Huguenot HS and Coach Richard McFee have been very good to Penn State over the years, sending players like Bruce Branch and Eric Sturdifan to State College.  Last season, Marshawn Harvey committed to Penn State, only to fail academically and he now attends Lackawanna Junior College in Scranton (just blocks from where I was born and attended college.....Go University of Scranton....sorry).  This year Coach McFee's top player, Ervin Battle-Baldwin, has really begun to pick up steam in the previous weeks.  Notoriously  coywith the media, Coach McFee has been mum on Ervin, but two schools have really taken a liking to him--Penn State and Michigan (David Terrell is also a Huguenot grad).  Currently Michigan leads for the runningback/fullback/linebacker, but Penn State will probably get an official visit.
official visits - none set

Eric McCollum - Camden, Sc.  (Camden HS)  6-0, 180, 4.5   *
The updates on Eric have been few and far between this season.  But the quarterback/athlete, who claims an offer from the Lions and also led Camden HS to a State Championship last season, very well might repeat that honor again this season.  Wake Forest has also offered, but none of the South Carolina colleges have stepped up yet.
official visits - none set

Chase Anastasio - Fairfax, Va.  (Robinson Secondary HS)  6-2, 190, 4.4   * *
Chase has not shown an intense interest in the Nittany Lions.  It could be because former Robinson Secondary HS defensive back Scott Sanden signed with Penn State, grey-shirted, and promptly left the team before he even sniffed the turf at Beaver Stadium.  He has stated recently that he may visit Penn State, but Virginia is his clear leader.
official visits - Notre Dame (12-6), Stanford (12-13); Virginia, Ohio State Virginia Tech, and Penn State

Going, going, gone? :
Tommy Zbikowski - Notre Dame (12-6), Iowa (12-13), Nebraska on (12-20), and Arizona State (1-18)
Michael Bush - Louisville, Ohio State, Auburn, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Wake Forest, and Kentucky
Travis Thomas - Purdue (10-28), Notre Dame (11-1), and Iowa (11-22)

4. Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:   WRs (7) - Tony Johnson (Sr.), Ryan Scott (Jr.), Gerald Smith (Jr.), Ernie Terrell (So.), Kinta Palmer (So.), Terrance Phillips (So.), Josh Hannum (Fr.); TEs (3) - Casey Williams (Sr.), Andrew Richardson (So.), Isaac Smolko (So.)

Unfortunately Bryant Johnson will leave Penn State after this season, garnering respect as the best go to receiver since Bobby Engram.  Tony Johnson returns, giving us a very solid, returning receiver, but a second wideout must come forward this spring.  There are some impressive athletes amongst the six  reserve wide receivers, but none has really seen a significant amount of PT.  Penn State will try to sign at least one receiver in this class, hopefully giving the Zack-Attack one most explosive weapon.

Terrell Golden - Norfolk, Va.  (Lake Taylor HS)  6-4, 205, 4.4   * * * *
Currently Golden looks like the only true wide receiver recruit on Penn State's list.  It once looked like we might since at least three, but the others chose to go elsewhere.  Terrell sports some impressive physical statistics, very similar to Bryant Johnson.  Penn State coaches offered him on the spot during their summer football camp, when he reportedly ripped off a sub 4.4 forty yard dash.  The Nittany Lions and Virginia Tech Hoakies will go wire to wire for this athlete.

official visits - Penn State (12-6), Virginia Tech (12-13); Maryland, NC State, and Tennessee

Dorien Bryant - Swedesboro, Nj.  (Kingsway HS)  5-10, 170, 4.3   * *
If your a Penn State fan right now, your thanking God that Dorian Bryant may be visiting Penn State.  This kid is one of the most electrifying athletes to come out of New Jersey in a long time.  Dorien grew up actually disliking the Nittany Lions, but on a September night watching Penn State and Nebraska clash under the lights of Beaver Stadium, a spark of interest began to kindle.  The Lions remain a long shot even with a visit, trailing Boston College, Tennessee, NC State, and Purdue.  Dorien should be considered an athlete because he can play receiver or corner, but his explosive ability opens up to many possibilities to keep him on D.
official visits - Purdue (11-8), Boston College (12-6), Tennessee (12-13), NC State (1-24); and Penn State or Notre Dame

Louis Irizarry - Youngstown, Oh.  (Ursuline HS)  6-5, 230, 4.7   * *
Though committed to Ohio State, Louis appears a bit unhappy with the Buckeyes passing game, particularly as it pertains to the tight end.  Penn State, Florida, Miami, Fl., and Notre Dame hope to makeup ground on the Buckeyes and get an official visit from the Youngstown star.  Ohio State will get the last shot, but will he have seen a better situation by then?

official visits - none set

* Nick Stefanow - Wheeling Park, Wv.  (Wheeling Park HS)  6-5, 215, 4.6   * *
If offered, Nick may commit to the Nittany Lions on the spot.  Of course that's speculation, but Nick appears to be #1 on Penn State's tight end list (not counting the committed Irizarry).  Although he weighs in at a frail 215, Nick is very strong, bench pressing 185 pounds, 25 times during the Nike Camp at Penn State.  His 4.66 forty time and 4.23 shuttle times, show that this kid has great athleticism.  The only question about Nick right now, is can he bulk up enough to both block and catch balls over the middle in the Big Ten.  The success of Penn State's current undersized tight end core, Casey Williams and Mike Lukac, could benefit Nick's pursuit of the offer he wants the most.  Duke, Purdue, Ohio, and Northwestern also remain in pursuit.
official visits - none set

Going, going, gone? :
Seth Fogarty - Committed to Connecticut
Deyon Williams - Committed to Virginia
Derrick Harper - South Carolina (11-9), Pittsburgh (12-6), Maryland (1-3), and Boston College
Jesse Holley - Michigan State (10-18), Virginia (11-22), Ucla, Maryland, Notre Dame, and North Carolina
Chinendum Nduwke - Committed to Notre Dame
Joseph "T.J." Gartrell - Committed to Georgia

Vernon Davis - Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Florida, Michigan, and Pittsburgh
Greg Olsen - Notre Dame (12-6), Tennessee (12-13), Michigan (1-10), Miami, Fl., Florida State, and Syracuse
John Kinzer - Committed to Virginia Tech
Tony Hills - Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Louisiana State, Colorado

5. Offensive Line:  (14) Chris McKelvy (Sr.), Damone Jones (5Sr.), David Costlow (5Sr.), Nick Marmo (Jr.), Scott Davis (Jr.), Tyler Reed (So.), John Wilson (So.), Tommy McHugh (So.), E.Z. Smith (So.), Brian Borgoyn (Fr.), Mark Farris (Fr.), Robert Price (Fr.), Chris Auletta (tFr.), Lee Lispi (tFr.)

Penn State, along with every other college team, can always use depth on its offensive line.  Very rarely does a team get through the entire season without an injury of some sort to one of the lineman.  Penn State (knock on wood) has been lucky so far this season.  Next year, however, we will lose 4 of 5 starters and replacing offensive line starters has not been this coaching staff's strong point over the years.  McKelvy and Smith should both enter the season as starters, but after those two, everyone should be considered a potential starter.  Penn State will probably try to sign 4 offensive lineman with this class.  Don't forget both Chris Auletta and Lee Lispi will be considered true freshman next season because they accepted a gray shirt.

Joel Holler - Lancaster, Pa.  (McCaskey HS)  6-6, 335, 5.4   * * *
Joel appeared much trimmer at the Northwestern game than he did earlier this spring at the Nike Camp.  It's been said a million times that the kid was by far the most impressive lineman at the camp, even if he weighed in at 330 plus lbs.  At 300 pounds, Joel has the footwork, agility, and strength to be a four year starter after a redshirt year.  The Ohio State guys seem to believe they have a great shot at Joel, but its just to hard to believe he will end up anywhere but State College.
official visits - Ohio State (11-23), Virginia Tech (11-30), Penn State (12-6), and Miami, Fl. (12-13)

Jeff Zuttah - Princeton, Nj.  (The Hun School)  6-5, 280, 5.0   * * *
Jeff has consistently proved himself to be an impressive prospect, since his showing in the New Jersey-New York Governor's Bowl Game.  He has some impressive offers in hand.  How many offensive lineman from Jersey can say that they were offered by Florida State?  An impressive student, rumor has it that Jeff may enroll early in the school of his choice so that he can participate in the spring drills.  Although he has never stated Penn State is his clear leader, indications point toward Penn State inking this fantastic guard.
official visits - Florida State (11-30); Penn State, Boston College, Maryland, and Notre Dame

Dan Mazan - Carteret, Nj.  (Carteret HS)  6-4, 290, 5.0   * * *
Like Jeff Zuttah, Dan seems to have the Nittany Lions very high on his list.  Another visitor to the Nebraska game, Dan came home very impressed with everything that he saw that weekend.  In fact he said it was "awesome."  Throw in a "dude" and we've got a good thing going.
official visits - Penn State (12-13); Oregon, Ucla, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Nebraska, and Boston College

Brandon Nixon - Pottstown, Pa.  (Pottstown HS)  6-7, 310, 5.2   * * *
Recently rumors have floated that have Brandon committing to the Terps soon.  This may be speculation, but Brandon does have a very strong interest in Maryland.  He attended the Northwestern game and enjoyed his first game experience at Penn State.  Although he was primed to set up an official visit, nothing was set in stone.  Brandon possesses a tremendous amount of ability for an offensive lineman.  His frame and agility could allow him to become a very good tackle on the next level.
official visits - NC State (12-6), Maryland (12-13); Georgia Tech and Penn State

* Dan Pribula - Strongsville, Oh.  (Strongsville HS)  6-6, 315, 5.2   * * *
Dan has had interest from the Nittany Lions, but they have yet to offer a scholarship to him.  Unless Penn State offers, Dan's choices could come down to Notre Dame and Tennessee.  He expects to defiantly visit Penn State, especially because his father is a self described, "Penn State fanatic."
official visits - none set

Martin O'Donnell - Downer's Grove, Il.  (South HS)  6-5, 290, 5.2   * *
Martin ranks as one of the nation's top offensive lineman.  Coach Vanderlinden, a native of Michigan, has midwest ties and has to get the credit for peeking Martin's interest in the Nittany Lions.  The destruction of Nebraska didn't hurt.  Penn State may receive a visit, battling both Iowa and Oregon for a spot on his official visit list.  The chances do seem good that Martin will at least trip to State College.
official visits - Illinois (12-6), Nebraska (12-13), Stanford (1-10); Iowa, Oregon, and Penn State

Mike Jones - Oak Lawn, Il.  (H.S. Richards HS)  6-5, 307, 5.1   *
The Nittany Lions have seemed to waver in the eyes of Mike recently.  Penn State once seemed destined to get a visit from Mike, but now, like O'Donnell, they are lumped into a group scrapping to get a remaining slot.  Right now logic says that Notre Dame should be considered the favorite for Mike's services because his older brother Jim plays for the "Evil Empire."  Don't be shocked if Michigan steals little brother away.
official visits - Notre Dame (12-6), Michigan (12-13); Tennessee, Iowa, Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Penn State and Wisconsin

Going, going, gone? :
John Sullivan - Notre Dame, Boston College, Michigan, Miami, Fl., and North Carolina
John Rochford - Committed to Miami, Fl.
Jake Long - Committed to Michigan
* James Ryan - Committed to Illinois
* Brock Choate - Committed to Maryland
Ian Cunningham-Yates - Notre Dame (12-6), Virginia (12-13); Georgia Tech and Nebraska

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