As expected, success on the field has translated into more interest from top talent not only for the class of 2009, but also 2010 and beyond.
In our new Recruiting Roundup feature, we will take a look at the past, present and future of Penn State recruiting and how the Nittany Lions may be filling their needs.
In Part 1 of the series, let's take a look at the quarterback position:
Class of 2009
6-3 213 pounds
Hargrave Military Academy
New New is clearly the last man standing for Penn State at the quarterback position for the class of 2009. Newsome is a big, athletic quarterback in the mold of current PSU passer Daryl Clark.
He transferred to Hargrave for his senior year after having a lot of success at Western Branch High in Chesapeake, Va. Newsome was not only a standout quarterback at Western Branch, but he also showed his athleticism on the track as he took home the AAA state championship in the 110-meter hurdles during his junior year.
Newsome transferred to Hargrave for his senior season to work on his passing game and has made great strides in that area despite missing some time with a broken pinkie on his non-throwing hand. He had originally committed to Michigan earlier this year, but has since de-committed and seems to be down to Penn State, Virginia Tech and Boston College for his commitment.
Newsome plans on taking an official visit to Penn State Dec. 5 to get a more personal flavor of the school after taking unofficial visits for the Ohio State game in 2007 and the Michigan game in 2008.
Newsome will be playing in the U.S. Army All-American Game in San Antonio Jan. 3 and is expected to make his college choice live during the game.
Class of 2010
McKees Rocks, Pa
Paul P.J. Jones is clearly Penn State's top focus at the quarterback position for the class of 2010. Jones will assuredly be the top quarterback prospect in Pennsylvania and possibly the top overall prospect from the state.
Jones is a big, strong kid with a rifle for an arm and he is an excellent student to go along with it. He is athletic but he does not have the same running ability as Newsome. However, Jones makes up for it with his accuracy, arm strength, poise and polish in the passing game.
Jones led Sto-Rox to a conference championship this fall before a disappointing first-round loss in the WPIAL playoffs in a shootout with Beaver Area (43-36). Jones did not disappoint as a junior in 2008 as he finished the year 112 of 182 for 1,973 passing yards and 21 touchdowns, good enough for second in passing yards and passing touchdowns in the WPIAL.
He grew up as a Penn State fan and has been attending games at Penn State for the last eight years with his family. Jones currently has a verbal offer from Penn State, but is expected to receive the offer in writing in February 2009. The Lions seems to be the team to beat at this time.
Class of 2010
Oscar F. Smith High School
Sims is the best quarterback to come out of the Chesapeake area in quite some time. For those wo know the area, that is saying a lot.
Sims has been doing so well for so long that I just keep waiting for him to finally hit the college gridiron. He will be fun to watch, wherever he goes.
Just to keep everyone grounded, Sims is going to be an absolute national recruit. He will hold offers from schools all around the country and all over the Top 25 polls. Virginia Tech has been on Sims for years already, and it is hard to tell what kind of standing Penn State has with Sims at this early point in his recruitment.
That being said, Sims is the kind of talent that even with Paul Jones on your local radar, you can't ignore him. To give you an idea of just how good Sims is, I will point to one game in particular. It was the Virginia AAA state semifinal game last year against an undefeated Westfield team - some stiff competition. Sims' stat line for the game (as a sophomore, mind you) was a state playoff record 469 passing yards as he completed 26 of 42 passes with three touchdowns and an interception. This was not garbage time yards in a blowout, either. Westfield won the game 24-21 on a late touchdown with less than three minutes left in the game.
Sims' numbers for his career include a freshman season of 1,400 passing yards and 15 touchdowns, a sophomore season of 3,100 passing yards and 33 touchdowns, and an ongoing undefeated junior season that has him sitting at 2,273 passing yards and 29 touchdowns.
If I had to guess this early, I would predict Sims lands either at the local school Virginia Tech or heads south to a place like Georgia or Alabama. Keep an eye on Sims for the future, and if you live in the Chesapeake area, do yourself a favor and go see this kid play.
Also, keep an eye on the following 2011 young quarterbacks:
Matt Johnson: Class of 2011, 6-2, 185, Bishop McDevitt High, Harrisburg, Pa.
Austin Hancock: Class of 2011, 6-3, 220, Peters Township High, McMurray, Pa.
Tyrone Johnson: Class of 2011, 6-1.5, 170, Plainfield High, Plainfield, N.J.