Friday Recruitin’ Looks At Some Running Backs

Stop looking at her lumps, lumps.

Resisting the urge to make Rep. Anthony Weiner this week’s Recruitin’ Babe, I checked out Google’s News page for some inspiration. When I got to the Entertainment section, there was a link to an article about Josh Duhamel, and the Babe became immediately apparent. No, Mr. Duhamel is not the Babe, to the disappointment of our female readers. Instead, this week’s honors go to his wife, the beautiful, talented (yea, I said it), curvacious, and all-around stunner, Fergie.

With that in mind, try to concentrate on the rest of the post.

We’ve covered the quarterbacks on the Big Board before (currently Skyler Mornhinweg appears to be the lone target unless and until decisions are made by the still-current Penn State QBs), and now we’ll take a look at the running backs.

I began this post last Sunday, as real life has taken me to Boston for a conference and I didn’t know if I’d be able to write up a post. Initially I had some less-than-optimistic comments about the running back recruiting. While PSU still has missed on some of the higher rated local recruits, it seems to have gotten back into the game with one. Who would have thought that Joe Paterno would be Skyping, and that the Skyping would be what turned things around for Will Mahone??

Some of the running backs on PSU’s Big Board…

Rushel Shell (PA/Hopewell) – A sure-fire star at the next level, the Pittsburgh area back has both the stars and offer sheet to impress, but doesn’t appear to be high on Penn State at all. Likely SEC bound unless Pitt can keep him at home, and they are certainly giving it all they have.

Drew Harris (PA/Downingtown East) – Like Shell, Harris is pretty high on the wrong in-state team, as the Panthers are likely in his Top 3 along with at least Virginia Tech, who appear to lead. Ron Vanderlinden is after him, but Harris has been somewhat cool on Penn State the whole time.

Will Mahone (OH/Fitch) – Each of Ohio and Pennsylvania had three stellar RBs according to most sites (PA – Shell, Harris and Greg Garmon, though some see Garmon as a DB; OH – Brionte Dunn, Warren Ball, and Mahone). After essentially missing on all three PA kids, and with the first two OH kids committed (for now) to OSU, Mahone became priority No. 1 for running back recruiting. Then the staff did the only obvious thing they could do – they told Mahone they wanted him at linebacker. Mahone had cooled on the Lions, but then the aforementioned Skype call happened, and Mahone has them back on top.

These are just three examples of either big misses or slightly bungled recruitment. We didn’t even get into the “Thanks, but no thanks” of Keith Marshall, TJ Yeldon, Wes Brown, and Jovon Robinson, to name a few. Don’t get me wrong, we could end up with Mahone or pull Harris from Downingtown in surprising fashion. Heck, even Dunn could surprise us, as he’s said he’s reopening his recruitment and plans on visiting PSU. But it sure would be nice to lock some top skill position talent down early this year.

As it stands now, Penn State needs to take a running back in this class, possibly even two (or maybe one RB and one fullback). Heading into 2012, it almost seemed like PSU could fall ass-backwards into a top tiered RB given the surrounding talent. But somehow, here we are, with PSU going 0-for-6 with the Top Three RBs in PA and OH. Sure, there are more than seven months before Signing Day. But things aren’t looking good at the moment for the running backs. Luckily, once the season start, and certain other running back that the staff tried to pressure into another position (DB) will be making us forget about the Class of ’12 deficiencies.

Recruiting News – Offers, Visits, and Other Information

  • Two of Joe Paterno’s newest Skype buddies are high on PSU, and I’d love to see PSU land them both. Nyeem Wartman ($) should end the linebacker recruiting quota, while Will Mahone ($) would be a great first RB of the class. Each have PSU in their Top 3.
  • Speaking of linebackers, Beth Long updates us ($) on the recruiting process for Linebacker U., including discussions of Nyeem Wartman and Quanzell Lambert, the likely candidates for the final spot. That is unless James Ross somehow comes back on the market, but I doubt there is any truth to that rumor.
  • FL TE Kent Taylor will trim his impressive offer list ($) soon, and since they are almost certainly in his Top 3, I would expect Penn State to make the cut.
  • mGo Weekly Recruiting Rankings – Penn State holds at No. 3, and Michigan pulls away at No. 1. The Wolverines now have 14 commits, but in a class that should number near 18 recruits, holding on to all of them will become the challenge.
  • mGo Wednesday Recruiting – Now featuring an update on the Wayne Morgan saga and some other interesting notes.
  • TomVH’s weekly update at mGo has a piece about Jarron Jones, a mention of OH S Jarrod Wilson’s top 3, and this awesome piece of news about MA DB Armani Reeves: (Sean Fitz has more ($) on Armani Reeves.)
  • Massachusetts DB Armani Reeves told me that he has dropped Michigan from his list. He says he is no longer going to camp at Michigan, but will visit Notre Dame instead. His list is Penn State and Notre Dame now.

  • TomVH also has an interview with Jarrod Wilson’s coach, and Jarrod appears to favor the Wolverines, with Penn State trailing closely behind (along with Notre Dame). Part of the reason Armani Reeves backed off (other than being pressured to commit early) was because UM has signed so many other DBs. Wilson’s coach claims he isn’t looking at depth charts, but I find it hard to believe the other schools aren’t letting him know how things are going elsewhere.
  • Finally in TomVH news, an interview with five-star Ohio State commit Kyle Kalis seems indicative of where their other commits/recruits are in the process – “I want to know that Coach Fickell is going to be my head coach when I’m there, and if we don’t have more than a two year bowl ban.”
  • Speaking of Jarron Jones, Iowa’s Scout site has an update ($) with Jones, including a darkhorse contender in the “Who Can Steal Jarron Jones From Penn State?” sweepstakes.
  • IN DT Sheldon Day plans to visit Happy Valley soon ($ – info in Lions247.com title), and with the DT recruiting quota nearly filled, adding Day would be a great haul. Day recently got back from a trip to Tennessee, and holds more than 20 offers.
  • ESPN has released their initial Top 150 recruits for the Class of ’12. As expected, it’s a terrible list, and I’m not just saying that because it’s relatively light on B1G recruits/commits. ESPN : recruiting coverage :: Bleacher Report : Sports reporting (except for Friend of the Program Kevin McGuire).

Everything Else – Fun Links, Non-2012 Recruits, and Anything Else of Note

  • Sean Fitz catches up with ($) Class of ’11 late addition Bill Belton, who is primed for some early action with the injury to Curtis Drake.
  • Scout.com has an update on ($) Class of ’14 (yes, really) QB Chandler Kincaide out of PA, who apparently did quite well in a recent camp against the likes of Gunner Kiel and Zeke Pike.
  • GA DE Francis Kallon committed to Georgia Tech this week. Normally this wouldn’t be news, but it is interesting because Kallon has NEVER PLAYED A GAME OF FOOTBALL IN HIS LIFE.
  • The Detroit News’s Sam Webb sat down with Scout.com’s Allen Trieu and Bill Greene to discuss the future of Ohio State’s commits.
  • Dr. Saturday on the craziness of Morgantown. Yikes.
  • Frank the Tank, a loyal Chicagoan, takes on the Big Ten Championship Game venue debate, and tries to explain just how biting cold December in Chicago can be.
  • Ed

    Are the Lions going after RB Trey Edmonds of Dan River HS in VA? He just won states in track and is the son of ex-Miami Dolphin Ferrel Edmonds.

    • http://www.twitter.com/EpicTripod Jeff

      Ed, It’s not a name I’ve come across, but I’ll keep my eyes open. Right now, I believe PSU is only after their A-list guys (the PA boys or whatever interest is left there, Mahone, and maybe Dunn). Once they move on to the second RB (if Mahone commits), we’ll see some new interest.

  • Chris

    How about the Maryland RB’s? There are a couple of really good ones there that PSU is after.

    • http://www.twitter.com/EpicTripod Jeff

      I’m assuming you’re referring to Cyrus Jones and Wes Brown.

      Jones – we’re in his Top 5, all of which are tied, according to Jones. Also, he’s a teammate of current commit Brian Gaia. However, he has made very pro-SEC comments in the past. He visited in the past, but this one probably ends up at Bama or Auburn.

      Brown – Haven’t really heard much here, which leads me to believe we’re not really in it.

      The only other MD RB that is on the radar is Uriah Bethea, who doesn’t have an offer but apparently has been impressive at some camps.