February 4, 2010

Thursday Question: Grading the Class

Each Thursday the staff at Linebacker-U.com will choose a topical question to answer in a roundtable format. Up this week, the staff will grade Penn State's 2010 recruiting class. So I guess it's not really a question this week, but an assignment: Grade the 2010 Recruiting Class


Well, I don't pretend to be some recruiting expert, in fact I dropped following it at all on the old site because it just seems a little creepy at times but I can't complain at all about Penn State's class. The coaches managed to get verbals early and amazingly keep most of them with a few minor exceptions that we we will not speak of. The fact that the kids in this class kept their promise just shows how hard the assistant coaches worked to keep them to their word and it shows that most of them are men of their words. It would have been nice to land Marcus Lattimore but aside from that the coaches addressed the most glaring holes and landed one of the best quarterback classes in the country. Now with no quarterbacks with any meaningful playing time we get to utter those wonderful words Penn State fans are used to hearing: quarterback controversy. Final Grade: A-


Penn State got what it needed, and did it with a little style. Joe Paterno has never been a trawler-type recruiter, who goes after anyone, regardless of position, just because they have five gold stars next to their name. That's particularly true about how the Nittany Lions recruit early in the process. You would think that Mike McQueary hands each staff member a scalpel prior to heading on the recruiting trail. The only real slip ups this year came when Dominique Easley recommitted for Florida, and Adrian Coxson was all of a sudden "not right" for Penn State.

However, outside of those two--even with the whiffs on Marcus Lattimore and Mike Thornton--this year's class addressed every one of Penn State's needs going into 2010. The linebacking corps has two new studs; the quarterback depth is looking better than it has in years, if not a decade; and there was the usual influx of outstanding offensive and defensive linemen. Hell, Penn State even picked up the nation's best fullback in this class--a fullback! The only area that was thin was in the defensive backfield. But that was heavily recruited last year. Penn State did this year what it does best, recruit for need. Final Grade: A-


It's hard not to be impressed with this year's class. Penn State seems to have brought in quality across the board, that being said the loss of Easley really hurts. If I had to look two years down the road, chances are either Bolden or Jones will probably be looking to transfer elsewhere assuming a position change or injury doesn't occur during that time. It's unfortunate because they both seem like great kids, but unless we move to a two-qb set offense, which is endlessly fascinating strategy in a theoretical sense, one is going to be dissatisfied with their number of snaps. I don't follow recruiting with any regularity since it only matters what the coaches can do with the talent when it steps on campus, however this class deserves an A so far.


If I were to claim that I wasn't disappointed in the least bit about this class, my name would be Lane Kiffin. Perhaps Adrian Coxson has some attitude problems and in which case, he probably will be spending the majority of his Florida career standing on the sidelines. Losing a beast of DE in Dominique Easley hurt big-time though, and I was hoping we might land Michael Thornton or Marcus Lattimore in his place, but neither of them came through for us. What was initially shaping up to be a Top-5 class ranked as high as #2 at one point, is now barely in the Top-10, finishing with a #9 ranking.

Really though, that previous paragraph was a blatant attempt to be picky. I'm actually pretty psyched about this incoming herd of frosh. Silas Redd and Khairi Fortt are Stamford, Connecticut's Shake 'n Bake and I'm highly looking forward to the QB battles between Robert Bolden, Paul Jones, and Kevin Newsome. Oh, and don't forget Mike Hull - Once he grows a killer 'stache like the Hull he's succeeding, there will be no stopping him. It seems like we filled all of our major position needs (offensive line, defensive line, linebacker, quarterback) and more impressively, we did it early in order to avoid becoming part of the increasingly melodramatic LOI Day which rumor has it, will be televised next year by Telemundo. FINAL GRADE: A-

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