January 20, 2010

Wednesday Recruitin': Lattimore fallout

Following Marcus Lattimore's surprising decision this weekend to drop Penn State from his final group of schools, the message boards were sent into one big hissy fit. Between the Dominique Easley and Adrian Coxson decommitments, and now Lattimore exiting the picture, all of the recent recruiting news around Penn State has been negative. With only a few weeks left before signing day (Feb. 3), who's left? We'll take a look at just that in today's Wednesday Recruitin'.

And two remain...

In last week's Wednesday Recruitin', I highlighted three prospects that Penn State was pushing hard to land by signing day. Lattimore is now out of that mix, which leaves defensive end Mike Thornton.

Pullium is still dragging his feet on a decision, even though all signs in the world are pointing to Penn State.

As for Thornton, the Nittany Lions aren't looking so good. As late as last week, it was widely assumed that Thornton was set on Penn State, but needed some time to solidify his decision. Now, it looks as if some other programs have taken a bigger interest in the recruit, particularly Southern Cal and Georgia.

The Bulldogs were in a state of instability on defense, with the firing of DC Willie Martinez. But last Friday with the hiring of former Cowboys defensive line coach Todd Grantham, Thornton's interest in Georgia has picked back up.

Lane Kiffin has sent his wolves into the Peach State, also trying to pluck Thornton. Ed Orgeron had been recruiting Thornton for Kiffin when they were still at Tennessee. Now in Los Angeles, Orgeron is picking up where he left off. Thornton has set up an official visit to USC on January 29. Honestly, now that Georgia's situation has settled down, and Kiffin is calling from USC, Penn State's chances with Thornton are thinning quickly.

The "Plan-B" Running Back?

Marcus Lattimore would have been a fantastic pickup for Penn State this season. But is it the end of the world now that he's dropped the Nittany Lions? Not at all. The running back situation at Penn State is better than it has been in probably more than a decade, with 3,815 career rushing yards returning between Evan Royster and Stephfon Green; tack on another 708 yards from scrimmage if you include receiving yards. I'll have much more on how the depth chart and scholarship roster looks, but that's for another post.
Seeing this kid actually move on the field, he might not be a bad pickup in the end.

The point of all this is that Lattimore probably would have sat on the bench his first season, and only logged shared-time carries with Green in year two. Put that possibility together with Curtis Dukes coming off a 2009 redshirt season, Silas Redd already enrolled in classes this spring, and Brandon Beachum's likely return from an ACL in 2011; it would have been a tense situation at best with a former No. 1 recruit having to share time with just one back, never mind the prospect of sharing carries with two others. Lattimore wouldn't have been the feature back until 2012, at the earliest.

But don't think Penn State doesn't want to sign another back in this year's class. There is a mid-level prospect that had fallen off the radar last month, as Lattimore's interest in Penn State was rising. Tahj Kimble, a 5-foot-11, 197-pound tailback from Fernandina Beach (Fla.), was contacted in December by Mike McQueary, who asked Kimble if he had any interest in the Lions. When Kimble said yes, McQueary leveled with him that if Lattimore committed, Penn State would have no need to sign Kimble.

Now we stand with Lattimore out. Does that mean Kimble is back in the mix? I haven't heard to much the past few days, but it wouldn't surprise me to see Kimble show up suddenly again.

Follow LBU on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to Linebacker-U.com by Email

1 comment:

  1. Tahj Kimble: Runs just like Richard Kimble..And he's not even a fugitive.