April 6, 2010

Tuesday Recruitin': Big Names, Big Visits

Cyrus Kouandjio could be one of only two or three offensive linemen Penn State signs this class. If his reaction to the March 27 visit is any indication of how the Nittany Lions stand in his favor, Penn State is still very much in the mix for his services next season. (photo: VolNation.com)

Spring practice is a time for teams to get a first look at their players. But it's also a time for recruits to get a first look at the programs recruiting them. Penn State's slate of prospects is no different, as several big names arrived on campus in the waning days of March, to watch practices, talk with coaches, and see the Happy Valley landscape.

But first, a big thanks to Tim for covering last week. The recruiting gods must like him, because a there was actual basketball recruiting news, somehow perfectly timed for his post.

On to this week's update...


March 27: Four recruits were on campus--offensive lineman Cyrus Kouandjio, defensive tackles Darian Cooper and Marquise Wright, and athlete Brandon Phelps. At such an early stage of the recruiting process, most recruits are just happy to be on campus. This wasn't any different, with all four prospects saying they thoroughly enjoyed their visits.

Kouandjio's next scheduled trip is to the University of Virginia. Since the Cavaliers are a regional destination, they would normally be a decent threat to steal a guy like Kouandjio. But with the arrival of head coach Mike London from Richmond, where he led the Spiders to the 2008 FCS (I-AA) National Championship, things could get tricky in the mid-Atlantic region. I'm not saying at all that London's arrival in Charlottesville will be a seismic shift, but don't be surprised if you hear his Cavaliers come up big once or twice this recruiting season.

Cooper has listed Penn State in his top-two college choices, along side the Maryland Terrapins. With Ralph Fridgen getting one more shot to turn the Terps around, you can bet any recruit in the DC-metro area will be getting a ton of attention from College Park. That includes Cooper and Kouandjio.

Wright's and Phelps' visits on the 27th went just as well. Phelps said that he plans to come back to Penn State for the Blue-White Game, so I'll be on the look out for him on the sidelines in three weeks. Phelps also falls into the "look out for Virginia" category, as his dad played there, and the Cavaliers just made a scholarship offer. Wright has referred to Penn State as his "dream school."

The day before those four recruits took their visits to Penn State, defensive end Shawn Oakman toured campus on March 26. The Nittany Lions are supposedly in the lead right now for the 6-foot-8 prospect out of Lansdowne, PA.

Last week saw two more visits. Brooklyn defensive end Ishaq Williams stopped by on March 29, while Philly defensive end Deion Barnes was in on March 31. Besides picking up a written offer from Penn State, there hasn't been a ton of news around Barnes. Williams, though, has been steadily rising up the scouting reports for weeks. He now boasts more than 20 offers, including Penn State.

Coming Up

All-American offensive guard Angelo Mangiro, defensive tackle Al Page, and offensive tackle Donovan Smith all attended practice yesterday. Smith reportedly has Penn State in the lead. He plans to attend the Blue-White Game, making him another face to look for on the sidelines.

Defensive tackle Shaun Underwood hasn't set a visit date, but it's been confirmed that Larry Johnson, Sr. made a scholarship offer sometime in March. He previously said that Penn State was at or near the top of his list.

New Offers

Visit the Linebacker-U.com recruiting board for the latest tally of recruits claiming offers from Penn State for 2011.

Just a few names that I've added to the offers board this week. I'll gather more information as the week goes on, and report back to you in next week's recruiting post.

Bronx (NY) defensive tackle Al Page
Richmond (VA) linebacker Curtis Grant
Fuquay-Varina (NC) defensive tackle Shaun Underwood
Fayetteville (NC) tight end Eric MacLain

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