May 3, 2010

Big-Ass 2011 Recruiting Update, Part 1 of 4

The post title says it all. Over the next few days, I'll give the best rundowns I can of all 28 (more or less, depending who you read) 2011 scholarship offers Penn State has out to recruits. Here is the first of four updates coming the rest of this week...

Remound Wright
Fort Wayne, IN

When Wright first appeared on our radar, all the way back in February, Indiana, Ball State, Iowa, and Michigan State were his only confirmed scholarship offers. The junior running back from Fort Wayne, Ind. has since upped that number to nine, including Boston College, Minnesota, Northwestern and Stanford. Even thought Ohio State and Notre Dame haven't extended written offers to Wright, the two schools are supposedly interested in him; Wright is, however, willing to listen should the Buckeyes and Fighting Irish.

Wright recently said that Iowa is pushing hard for his services, with more visits and letters than any other program. Wright finished up Saturday's Nike Camp in Columbus, Ohio, so it's not all that far-fetched to assume that if Ohio State is going to offer, it could come in the next few days or weeks.

When it comes to Penn State... it's been a quiet front for Wright. With the Nittany Lions fully stocked at running back, the position isn't a top priority for 2011, and Wright will probably project as a linebacker for the Nittany Lions. Wright is a quality athlete, and we all know how Joe Paterno will find a spot for any good football player.

Savon Huggins
Jersey City, NJ

The Jersey City running back's list of suitors has ballooned to 26 BCS automatic qualifier programs. Since I last checked in on Huggins, the list now includes teams like California, Georgia, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Stanford, Syracuse, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. There are more, but those are some of the bigger names.

Early last month, Huggins returned from Pitt with nothing but good things to say about the program. Dave Wannstedt even stuck New Jersey natives Dion Lewis and Ray Graham, both running backs, on Huggins the entire time he was in Pittsburgh. But the Panthers are facing a tough fight, not only against the big boys like Ohio State and Alabama, but against Huggins' hometown favorite, Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are very much in the thick of it, as Greg Schiano has done a fantastic job keeping Jersey kids home for college.

When it comes to Penn State... Huggins was on the list to attend Sunday's Nike Camp in State College, but after his coach urged him not to participate in camps, he decided to stay home. It's probably not a big deal, so don't read to far into this. Dick Anderson has been on Huggins from the start, having gained some traction early in the recruiting process. Huggins said he really appreciated how Anderson (who was Rutgers' head coach in the 1980s, and beat Penn State in 1988) took the time to get to know him and his family. Along with Anderson, running back Stephfon Green and one other current Penn State player had been talking to Huggins. If Penn State signs only one running back in 2011, this kid is it.

Quinta Funderburk
Chesapeake, VA

Over the last few months, the receiver from Chesapeake, Va. continued his march up the charts, and now holds a dozen offers, including a bunch of SEC programs. He attended Alabama's spring game a few weeks ago, but hasn't been on many high-profile visits elsewhere.

When it comes to Penn State... Like the running back situation, wide receiver isn't a top priority in 2011. Funderburk is the only true receiver with a confirmed offer from the Nittany Lions. Of course, that will probably change over the next 10 months before signing day. For now, though, this is it, and it's been quiet.

Cyrus Kouandjio
Hyattsville, MD

The nation's No. 1 offensive tackle for 2011, according to, Kouandjio is boasting almost 20 offers from BCS automatic qualifiers. More than half of the SEC is going full-bore for the rising senior's services, joining almost every other national player in college football. The one wild-card in Kouandjio's recruitment could be the University of Virginia. As I previously wrote about the Cavaliers, new head coach Mike London is a superstar in the region after winning the national title with Richmond. It's still a long shot, but not long enough to brush off UVA.

Kouandjio seems pretty set on attending a program east of the Mississippi, but he did attend the New Mexico spring game last month. Lobos head coach Mike Locksley has some of the strongest ties to the DC Metro area of any man in college football. Locksley is a DC native, coaching under Ralph Freidgen at Maryland, and later pulled recruits like Arrelious Benn to play for Ron Zook at Illinois. Between Locksley at New Mexico, and London at Virginia, there are two very big X-factors in Kouandjio's recruitment.

When it comes to Penn State... The Nittany Lions are in very good shape with Kouandjio. In early March, he said how much he enjoyed Penn State's campus. But even better for Penn State, after Kouandjio took a visit to Happy Valley on March 27, he told BWI:
"They're very strict, it's a lot like Dematha, my own school. It's a very strict bunch and they'll try to develop you as a true man. I like their style. They always want you to be 10 minutes early for everything, show up at every breakfast and be clean cut. They want you shaved down, no long hair, like businessmen, and I like that."
Kouandjio plays on both sides of the ball, but Penn State is most likely looking at him on the offensive line.

Brian Miller
Andover, MA

Miller one of Penn State's earliest targets. However, the highly-touted tight end out of Massachusetts chose to stay close to home, committing to Boston College on April 25. Miller had indicated that he would pick a school before the end of spring football, and stick to his decision. So, even though Penn State's offer is still standing, there's little to no chance of Miller re-opening his recruitment.

Darian Cooper
Hyattsville, MD

Cooper hails from the same DeMatha High School as Cyrus Kouandjio. Kind of scary to think of two such highly-touted players on the same defensive line. Cooper is up to about 10 scholarship offers, spanning all six BCS automatic qualifier conferences. Most recently, Clemson added its name to the offers list, with a solid "in" since Cooper has grandparents and other family in the Palmetto State.

When it comes to Penn State... Cooper had initially been high on just two programs, Penn State and Maryland. But since then, he's opened up to a more national scope. Still, it's never a bad thing to be one of the first schools a recruit likes. The real prize here would be if either Cooper or Kouandjio commits to Penn State. The Nittany Lions love to have their own recruits and/or players do the pitching. It's completely plausible that if one commits, the other could follow.

Ishaq Williams
Brooklyn, NY

Although Williams is now up to 16 or so scholarship offers, the news has been but a trickle over the last few months. One of the top-rated defensive end/tight end prospects this year, Williams has offers from nearly every corner of the nation, including USC, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Florida, Miami, and Pitt. I only mention the Panthers along with the other power programs because Williams had come away very impressed after visiting Pittsburgh. He said he was looking for a "calm campus," that didn't offer a lot of distractions.

When it comes to Penn State... Any time New York City is involved, Penn State is in the mix. Originally, Williams was projected to play for the Nittany Lions as a tight end, but was later informed by the coaches that they want him as a two-way player. However, with a few big tight end prospects falling away or committing elsewhere, the Brooklyn native might find a home in the Penn State offense.

Albert Louis-Jean
Brockton, MA

Louis-Jean gave his verbal commitment to Miami on March 24. A top-five cornerback for the 2011 class, Penn State was looking to add his talents to an already solid backfield. This loss isn't a crushing defeat for Penn State, as there are other defensive backs on Penn State's radar, but it would have been a very good prospect if Louis-Jean had left his recruitment open.

Doran Grant
Akron, OH

Grant is one of the most highly-touted cornerbacks in the 2011 recruiting class. With more than 20 offers on the table right now the Akron product can pretty much take his pick when it comes to playing college football. However, with all those offers, he has only expressed high interest in Georgia, Georgia Tech, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and USC. In April, Grant revealed his top-seven to
"Ohio State is at number one. Then there's Michigan State at two, Michigan at three, West Virginia at four, USC is five, and there's a tie right now at six between Penn State and Georgia Tech."
When it comes to Penn State... That's the problem, since he gave out his top-seven, it appears Penn State has fallen away. But appearances can be decieving. FOS's Mark Harrington reported that Grant took a surprise visit to Happy Valley on Saturday, the day before the NIKE Camp, adding that Grant is "seriously considering Penn State among his college choices." At Sunday's Nike Camp in State College, Grant came away as one of the most impressive players on the field, earning defensive MVP honors. But BWI's Sean Fitz put a damper on any excitement about Penn State's chances with Grant, with this ominous forecast following the NIKE Camp, "I still don't think there's much of a chance of him ending up at Penn State."

Next up: Part 2

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