February 16, 2010

Tuesday Recruitin': More 2011 Offers (updated)

Updated 5 p.m.
Savon Huggins

In last week's offers update, we touched on some of the early scholarship offers Penn State has made to several highly-regarded high school prospects. In today's update*, we'll go over even more offers put out there the last few weeks. By next week's update, I expect to have a full offers board posted, which we'll update as the offers are handed out.

The offers

Remound Wright (Rivals/Scout/ESPN) is an all-purpose back out of Bishop Dwenger High in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Scout.com lists Wright as a running back, while ESPN has him as a corner. Either way, Wright is definitely a quality football player, in the mold Penn State really likes. He is smart--has a 4.33 GPA on a 4.0 scale--and has experience on both sides of the ball.

So far, Wright has offers from Indiana, Ball State, Iowa, and most recently Michigan State. The Penn State offer has not been confirmed, meaning it could have been just a verbal offer. Still, the early going is good for the Nittany Lions, as Wright said this week:
"I'm taking it as it goes but I'm really into Penn State," he said. "I'm from Pittsburgh and that's towards back home for me. I moved to Indiana when I was about four but I still have family back there and we go out there a lot."
Wright was named 1st Team All-State this year, rushing for more than 2,000 yards and 40 touchdowns. As a defensive back, Wright collected 11 interceptions the past two seasons. Wright will visit Penn State this weekend.

Savon Huggins (Rivals/Scout/ESPN) out of Jersey City has seen a big uptick in attention the last week or two, particularly from Penn State fans. The star running back from St. Peter's Prep was given a written scholarship offer from the Nittany Lions this past week. Rated the No. 7 running back prospect by Scout.com, Huggins has also been named to the Rivals250 and ESPNU 150 watch lists.

The Nittany Lions are going into the spring in very good position to gain ground with Huggins, particularly after this quote from Monday:
"Coach [Dick] Anderson and I are developing a very good relationship," he said. "I talked to [Joe] Paterno actually the other day... [Anderson]'s been by the school and checking in on me, to see how I'm doing and see how my family stuff is going, too. I really appreciated it and I really like them."
In an era where personal and sincere attention isn't the norm for college recruiting, the Paterno Way of doing things is a very powerful tool. The "expert" analysts say every year how they just can't believe how Paterno gets high-level recruits to sign with the Lions. If they just dug an inch below the surface, they'd see what Penn State offers these kids: actual humans who care about their student athletes, not cyborg coaching staffs only concerned with winning football games.

Huggins ran for nearly 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior, adding in 24 stops and a pick on defense. So far, he has written or verbal scholarship offers from 20 BCS-automatic-qualifiers, including Alabama, Florida, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Miami(FL) and home-state Rutgers.

Quinta Funderburk (Rivals/Scout/ESPN) is a wide receiver out of Oscar Smith High in Chesapeake, Virginia. Another prospect from Penn State's personal recruiting well--Virginia's Tidewater Region--Funderburk's name has been spelled with an "e" at the end (Funderburke) by Rivals.com, but "e"-less by the others. So keep that in mind when trying to Google-search for him.

But that's not the only thing interesting about him, or I wouldn't be writing this. Funderburk is a 6-foot-2, 200-lb pospect who's gained quite a bit of attention from some big-name programs the past few weeks. Although not given an official position rankings by any of the recruiting services, Funderburk can sport offers from Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia Tech, among others including Penn State.
Hyeattsville, MD/DeMatha defensive end Cyrus Kouandjio

Cyrus Kouandjio (Rivals/Scout/ESPN), a 6-foot-7, 300-lb road-grader of an offensive lineman, hails from Hyattsville, Maryland's DeMatha High School. Kouandjio is rated by Scout.com as the No. 1 overall offensive tackle prospect for 2011, ranked No. 67 on the Rivals250 watch list, and was named to the ESPNU 150 watch list. His weight has been reported anywhere from the 270's all the way up to the 320's. Penn State requires its offensive linemen to play at a certain weight, which is usually lighter than the average Big Ten offensive lineman; the weight issue is something we'll keep an eye on as Kouandjio's recruitment progresses.

Kouandjio claims 14 scholarship offers, including Alabama, Iowa, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Southern California, West Virginia, besides Penn State.

Brian Miller (Rivals/Scout/ESPN) can boast selections to the Rivals250 and ESPNU 150 watch lists as a top-flight tight end prospect from Andover High in Massachusetts. At 6-foot-4, about 220 lbs, Miller has the size to become a real asset to any BCS-caliber team. Miller's stats for 2009 have been tough to come by, but as a sophomore, he pulled down 21 balls for 220 yards.

Miller could be a ticking clock, however, as he said this week that he's looking to make his decision within the next few months, and stick to it:
"I would possibly like to commit to a school in the spring, but really just when I feel comfortable with a school is when I will commit. I do not want to de-commit from any school I do not think that is a good thing. I am going to want to make sure the school that I pick is the school I will want to stay with."
He already has offers from the likes of Boston College, Iowa, North Carolina, Michigan, Northwestern, and Stanford. Miller added this week that he's received exclusively-verbal offers from Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, and Connecticut.

Darian Cooper (Rivals/Scout/ESPN) has been somewhat of an enigma recruit, as there is very little information out there, but the 6-foot-3, 275-pound defensive tackle is constantly drawing more attention from top programs. Cooper comes out of Dematha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Maryland. If you think that school sounds familiar, it should; Cooper is Cyrus Kouandjio's teammate.

Although Cooper hasn't garnered nearly the early reputation of his teammate, he was invited to the Premier Showcase, sponsored by TEST Sports Clubs, which assembles most of the top talent from across the nation each year. Penn State incoming freshmen Silas Redd and Mike Hull attended the Premier Showcase in 2009.

Back in December, Cooper was reported to have gained the most attention from Virginia, Pittsburgh and Maryland. However, one recruiting service has confirmed that Penn State has extended at least a verbal scholarship offer to Cooper.

Ishaq Williams (Rivals/Scout/ESPN) is a rising prospect out Abraham Lincoln High School, in Joe Paterno's home borough of Brooklyn, New York. Though not on the Rivals250 watch list, Williams has been named to the ESPNU 150 watch list for 2011, and is ranked the No. 13 overall defensive end by Scout.com.

At 6-foot-4, 220 lbs, Williams is considered an offensive/defensive hybrid, playing both defensive end and tight end. He will most likely be recruited on defense, but teams like Penn State tend to experiment with defensive ends and tight ends, switching them between the two positions. Williams has mostly received interest from eastern schools, including scholarship offers from Maryland, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Syracuse. He's being recruited by Penn State assistant Kermit Buggs.

Albert Louis-Jean (Rivals/Scout/ESPN), a highly-rated cornerback out of Brockton, Massachusetts, received his scholarship offer from Penn State last week. Louis-Jean is currently ranked the No. 9 corner by Scout.com, and has been named to the Rivals250 and ESPNU 150 watch lists.

Louis-Jean picked off a pass, recovered two fumbles, while on offense catching 14 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns in 2009. During the indoor track season he runs the 55-meter dash and 4x200-meter relay. In the outdoor season, Louis-Jean runs the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and the 4x100-meter relay.

Boston College, Connecticut, Miami, Penn State and Vanderbilt have all offered; but Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Oregon, Rutgers, Stanford and Virginia are all on the radar.

(added in update...) Doran Grant (Rivals/Scout/ESPN) was extended a scholarship offer from Penn State on Feb. 16 (today), as one of the highest-rated cornerbacks in this young recruiting season. Out of St. Vincent-St. Mary in Akron, Ohio, Grant is listed as the No. 2 overall corner by Scout.com, on the Rivals250 and ESPNU 150 watch lists, and was named to the Under Armour All-America team.

On a good day, however, Grant comes in at only 5-foot-10, 171 pounds. But before any Penn State fans howl about recruiting an "undersized" corner, keep in mind that current Nittany Lion Stephon Morris broke into the first team as a true freshman and played very well; Morris is only 5-foot-8, 180 pounds.

Grant boasts 16 offers from BCS-AQ programs, including Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Southern California--all schools he has legit interest in--as well as Pittsburgh, Wisconsin and North Carolina.

Another 2010 walk-on

Seals High School receiver/defensive back Ryan Keiser has been invited to walk on to the Penn State football team. The all-state performer from Selinsgrove caught 61 passes for 1,144 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2009, to go with his 55 tackles, three fumble recoveries, and two interceptions on defense. Early reports have him starting his Penn State career at safety.

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


  1. Last time we had a Brian Miller on the team, he was kicking ass and taking names for our secondary back in the mid-90's.

  2. I'm really keeping an eye on Cyrus Kouandjio. He looks like a real big-time lineman. Penn State hasn't had a kid like him up front in a long time. Usually, Joe Paterno doesn't like super big offensive linemen, but you have to believe that CK will be just too good to pass up. I haven't been able to find out which assistant coach is in charge of CK's recruitment, but you have to believe it's Larry Johnson, Sr., since CK is in Maryland.

  3. I just added Doran Grant, the No. 2 ranked corner by Scout.com, an Under Armour All-American, and on all the major watch lists. Penn State has really picked up its defensive back recruiting the last few days.