February 10, 2010

Wednesday Recruitin': Early 2011 Offers

What, you thought recruiting was over just because Signing Day is over? With spring practice weeks away, and the basketball team quickly flushing itself down the drain, getting ready for the 2011 recruiting season is one of the few things that won't give Penn State fans a headache. In today's Wednesday Recruitin' we'll take a broad look into who's on Penn State's offers board in 2011.


Penn State has set its sights on a bunch of prospects currently rated very highly at their respective positions. We will run down a few who currently hold scholarship offers.

Lawrence Thomas out of Detroit's Renaissance High School. He is already rated the No. 1 overall linebacker by Scout.com--the other two services haven't ranked individual players by position yet--and has been included in the Rivals250 and ESPNU 150 watch lists.

In the early going, most of the recruiting services have Michigan State as the front runner for Thomas. But we all know how quickly, and often, things change with high school kids. The good news for Penn State is that Thomas has the Nittany Lions on his list of top schools, and currently holds a scholarship offer. His recruitment is being handled by Ron Vanderlinden, who has been a real thorn in the side of both MSU and Michigan the past few years.

Other than the Spartans and Nittany Lions, Thomas has shown interest in, and currently holds offers from, Alabama, Florida, Miami(FL), Michigan, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Syracuse, UCLA, Wisconsin, Colorado, Indiana, and Vanderbilt.

Ben Koyack - A Rivals250 and ESPNU 150 watch lists selection, Koyack is pushing for the top tight end spot in the 2011 recruiting class. The Keystone State product from Oil City High School was listed as the No. 2 tight end nationally by Scout.com.

Over the last two seasons, Koyack has caught 88 passes for nearly 1600 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Penn State is just one of nearly a dozen schools to have already extended a scholarship offer to Koyack. Other programs with offers on the table are Pittsburgh, West Virginia, California, Virginia Tech, Ohio State, North Carolina, Duke, South Carolina, Rutgers and Notre Dame.

Travis Hughes - The second linebacker on Penn State's current offers list, Hughes is a speedster on the defensive side of the ball, as most of his 40 times have hovered around 4.55. Hughes has been named to the Rivals250 and ESPNU 150 watch lists, and is currently the No. 3 inside linebacker according to Scout.com.

Out of Virginia Beach's Kempsville High School, Hughes falls well within Penn State's recruiting comfort zone in southeast Virginia. Former quarterback Michael Robinson, current quarterback Kevin Newsome and defensive lineman Chimaeze Okoli, and incoming freshman Evan Hailes are all products of the Tidewater region. Bill Kenney is in charge of Hughes' recruitment.

Of the increasing number of scholarship offers so far, East Carolina, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia have all sent letters to Hughes. Oregon is reportedly also in the mix, but have not extended the official scholarship offer.

Terrell Chestnut - It's a bit surprising that Chestnut is so far the only defensive back prospect to hold a scholarship offer from Penn State. With a log-jam of junior Penn State defensive backs ready to be seniors in 2011, you would think this position would be priority number-one for the Nittany Lions in this recruiting class. But Chestnut is definitely a start. The Pottstown native has been named to the Rivals250 and ESPNU 150 watch lists, and is currently the No. 4 cornerback according to Scout.com

Over the last two seasons, Chestnut has thrown for about 1,500 yards and 13 touchdowns, run for 2,150 yards and 39 touchdowns, while on defense he's collected 180 tackles, six interceptions, three fumble recoveries. To top it off, Chestnut is a star special teamer, returning a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns his sophomore season.

Aside from the Nittany Lions, Chestnut holds offers from Connecticut, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Villanova, and West Virginia. Other teams that are in the mix, but have not offered yet, are Buffalo, Syracuse, South Carolina, Purdue, Northwestern, Duke, and Temple.

One interesting nugget, Chestnut said during a visit to Rutgers last year that he was not sure if he was ready to get away for college.

Michael Caputo - You would be hard pressed to find two recruiting services that could agree on which position Caputo will star in college. From West Allegheny High School in Imperial, Caputo is the No. 9 outside linebacker according to Scout.com. Rivals has him as a safety prospect. ESPN likes Caputo as a running back.

As a junior, Caputo recorded 104 tackles, but also ran for 2,500 yards, scoring 38--THIRTY EIGHT--touchdowns along the way. Penn State loves linebackers that are excellent running backs. He currently has offers from Ohio State, Pittsburgh, and Purdue, besides from Penn State. Boston College, Syracuse, West Virginia, and Wisconsin are also gaining Caputo's interest.

Maika Polamalu - Maika is more than familiar with what it means to play top-level football. Maika is the cousin of All-Pro Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, while his father, Al, was a Nittany Lion in the 1980s. But Maika is making quite a name for himself as a standout teammate of Terrell Chestnut at Pottsgrove High School.

Polamalu was named third-team All-State by Pennsylvania Football News in 2009. From the backfield, Polamalu ran for 2,800 yards, 28 touchdowns the last two seasons. But it was along the defensive front where Polamalu is gaining attention. The linebacker/end hybrid raked in 50 tackles and five sacks. Scout.com has Polamalu as an unranked running back prospect. Rivals lists Polamalu on its Rivals250 watch list, while he is an ESPNU 150 watch list athlete.

Right now, Polamalu only holds two scholarship offers, from Penn State and Villanova. However, Clemson, Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, UCLA, and West Virginia are all on the radar.

Jay Whitmire - The lone offensive lineman in Penn State's early offers crop, Whitmire is gaining steam as a prospect. A tall, but athletic hog, the 6-6, 287-pound T.C. Williams junior fits the mold Penn State sets for its offensive linemen.

One of the top overall recruits out of Virginia for 2011, Whitmire has been named to the Rivals250 and ESPNU 150 watch lists, but is unranked by Scout.com.

Whitmire holds scholarship offers from Maryland, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Virginia. Home-state power Virginia Tech is also expected to make an offer soon.

Coming up: In next week's edition of Wednesday Recruitin', we will look at prospects that are expected to get scholarship offers from Penn State.

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1 comment:

  1. I didn't realize Savon Huggins has yet to be offered. I keep seeing his name pop up on the FOS boards as a must-get RB for next year.