Top 10 Football Recruit Classes: No. 8 Penn State
For the next two months, SchoolSports.com will rank the Top 10 recruiting classes for the Class of 2004, spotlighting a different college each week. To recap, we ranked USC at No. 1, Miami at No. 2, LSU at No. 3 , Oklahoma at No. 4, Michigan at No. 5, Florida State at No. 6 and Ohio State at No. 7. Now it's on to No. 8.
No. 8 Penn State
All the talk of Penn State head coach Joe Paterno losing his touch on the recruiting front proved to be overblown this year as the Nittany Lions picked up five recruits from the Class of 2004 rated in the Top 100 by SchoolSports.com.
Leading the class is Strath Haven High (Pa.) LB Dan Connor, who's rated the No. 11 overall recruit in the country by SchoolSports.com. The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder was named a USA Today and Parade All-American his senior season after recording 141 tackles and three interceptions at linebacker.
He also excelled at fullback, rushing for 1,807 yards and 28 touchdowns. Connor finished his career at Strath Haven with 451 tackles, 4,551 yards rushing and 77 touchdowns. He'll play linebacker in college.
Penn State received a big surprise when Penn Hills High (Pa.) QB Anthony Morelli decomitted from Pittsburgh and signed with the Nittany Lions. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder is rated the nation's No. 20 recruit. As a senior, he completed 96-of-184 passes for 1,649 yards and 15 touchdowns with only four interceptions.
Another top 100 offensive recruit who signed with Penn State was No. 54 Greg Harrison, an offensive lineman from Shenandoah Valley High (Pa.).
Penn State also picked up two Top 100 defensive recruits in No. 70 A.Q. Shipley, a defensive lineman from Moon Area High (Pa.), and No. 86 Tyrell Sales, a defensive lineman from Butler High (Pa.).
The 6-foot-3, 280-pound Shipley is regarded as a run-stopping force. He had 53 tackles (42 solo), 13 tackles for loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery this past fall.
Meanwhile Sales, who stands in at 6-foot-4, 230-pounds, had 96 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, four sacks, four forced fumbles and two interceptions as a senior.
Other top recruits who picked Penn State included: McKeesport High (Pa.) LB Dontey Brown, who had 93 tackles (65 solo), four sacks and two fumble recoveries this past fall; St. Anthony's High (N.Y.) RB Matt Hahn, who earned his second straight Player of the Year award in the Catholic High School Football League of Metropolitan New York after rushing for 2,057 yards and 36 touchdowns; and White Plains High (N.Y.) DB Spencer Ridenhour, who broke or tied nine school records at White Plains High , including career rushing yards (3,676) and touchdowns (54).
Check back in next week as SchoolSports.com unveils the No. 9 football recruiting class in the Class of 2004.