Those playmakers turned out to be Deon Butler, Justin King, Jordan Norwood and Derrick Williams. The speedy quartet helped lead to the resurgence of the Nittany Lion program as it went on to claim two Big Ten championships in four years.
Now that the Nittany Lions are back on top of the conference, they are looking to continue to stock their shelves with high-end speed. One player they have a close eye on is State College Area High receiver Alex Kenney. He also has a close eye on them.
I obviously have a lot of respect for Penn State because I am from the area, Kenney said. They have also had four big commits (Adrian Coxson, Mike Hull, Paul Jones and Silas Redd) early, so it is very tempting.
However Kenney, who's father Larry is an instructor at Penn State, has insisted that he is not a lock to commit to the Nittany Lions. While Penn State remains one of the top schools he is considering, Kenney is trying to keep his options open.
My biggest priority is to attend a school where I know that I will be getting a top-notch education, Kenney said. Anything can happen in football -- you never know it, but any play can be your last play. So I want to make sure that I have something to fall back on.
In addition to football, Kenney is also an outstanding sprinter. Last week at the PIAA AAA Track Championships in Shippensburg, Kenney took second place in the 100-meter dash and fourth in the 200-meter dash. He has said he will consider running track in college, as long as it doesn't interfere with football.
I love running, so I would like to do it if I can, he said. Especially if I end up at Penn State, I have known their coaches very well and really enjoyed working with them.
Kenney is clearly a very well rounded individual. In addition to his success on the football field and the track, he is able to maintain a 3.4 GPA in the classroom and still find time to umpire Little League games with his father.
I played at the same field for three years when I was younger and my dad got me into the idea of helping umpire the games, Kenney said. It is cool to help out with the kids and make some extra money on the side.
So for a kid who is as involved in the community as Kenney is, he is bound to receive a lot of pressure from local fans who want to see him wearing blue and white in college.
Everywhere I go, people say they want to see me at Penn State, Kenney said. Originally, at the beginning of my recruitment, I thought that I wanted to get out of State College, but over the last year Penn State has become on of my top schools.
Kenney says the coaching staff at Penn State is one of the biggest reasons the Lions are near the top of his list, particularly assistant Mike McQueary. The Penn State receivers coach and State High alum has built a good relationship with the young receiver over the course of his high school career.
We have gotten pretty close, Kenney said of McQueary. He is a great guy, like all of the coaches I have met from Penn State. That really stood out to me, the whole staff really seems to care about you.
While the offers continue to come in, Kenney has stated that ideally he would like to have made his decision by the fall.
I just want to make my decision and get it out of the way, he said. I want to get it over with and put it aside so that I am not worrying about it, that way I can focus on having a great senior season.