NITTANY NOTES: Early Enrollees (Part II)

Our exclusive assessments on the Class of 2010 members who are already on campus. How are the newcomers holding up as they transition to college?

Signing day for college football is still a few days away (Feb. 3). This is when many high school prospects around the nation will sign binding letters of intent with the college programs they will attend.

But at Penn State, Jan. 11 marked a day when seven recruits officially joined the program, even though they will never sign letters of intent.

The seven athletes have all enrolled for the spring semester, which began Jan. 11, and as such they are already athletically bound to Penn State. So there will be no reason for them to sign LOIs next month.

FOS went to program observers to get some initial assessments on the newest additions to the PSU football program. Check out Part I of our Early Enrollee Assessments.

Paul Jones, QB: At 6-3, 220 pounds, Jones has impressed observers with his general build and overall strength. "He looks the part," one observer said. He's also shown good early arm strength in basic passing drills. As one observer explained, "He can really launch a ball."

However, several observers describe him as being "raw." As one observer said, "If his technique comes around he could be really good." He has shown a tendency to force some passes. Despite this Jones has shown an ability to delivery the ball with a quick release, but he doesn't always follow through on his release and "he needs to square his shoulders up to his target."

He's shown a good, consistent drop-back rhythm, but will need to work on just getting used to the snap exchanges and "setting his feet with every pass." He's said to be "level-headed" and has been pretty humble. "Some guys get here and walk around like they own the place. We've had some guys in past years show up to a team meeting with their All-American jersey on. Jones hasn't shown any signs of that."

Kevin Haplea, TE: Observers tend to like Haplea's size. At 6-4, 235 pounds, he "has a good initial build to work with." He's not "incredibly fast" in runs, but he has shown solid endurance.

Haplea has "managed the weight room pretty well," and according to one observer, "the staff would ideally like to get another 15 pounds or so on him." Most feel he has the built to easily carry the additional weight.

Word is he has shown solid hands in some basic work, but the "key will be how he blocks and runs his routes this spring" in terms of whether he makes a run at the two deep, which is in need of depth with the departure of Andrew Quarless and Mickey Shuler. "So there's a big opportunity there for him."

Evan Hailes, DL: At 6-2, 315 pounds, Hailes "has a good frame to work from," but observers indicate the off-season will be focused on "getting his physique to where it needs to be." Hailes has a massive frame but needs to "build his endurance" and has struggled early on "with the sheer amount of running [the coaches] throw at the players."

Observers feel he has the strength for Larry Johnson to work with, assuming his conditioning comes along. The big issue will be getting him to work with the correct technique. "L.J.'s going to be on Hailes — he'll need to get lower on his stance or he'll get his doors blown off."

With the work aside, Hailes is said to be "coachable" and "determined in his lifts." As one observer said, "People seem to like his attitude."

Glenn Carson, LB: A grayshirt prospect, Carson was a member of the Class of 2009 who opted to delay his enrollment a year to help facilitate an injury recovery.

A champion wrestler in high school, Carson enrolled this spring semester to kick off his Penn State career.

Although he is working out, it is unclear just how cautious the staff will be with him. "[The coaches] are often deliberate when dealing with major injuries and getting guys back on the field. He's hasn't seen action in over a year," one observer said.

"He looks to be in shape, but they're testing him and making sure he doesn't re-injure anything." Carson is penciled in at linebacker, but observers says he'll need to add some weight and size in order to make a move on the depth chart.

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