May 4, 2010

Big-Ass 2011 Recruiting Update, Part 2 of 4

The second of four big recruiting updates coming the rest of this week...

Lawrence Thomas
Detroit, MI

Thomas has been committed to play for Michigan State since early spring. Don't expect that to change. Thomas is an elite recruit--the No. 1 MLB nationally according to most services--who could end up playing early in his career with the Spartans.

Ben Koyack
Oil City, PA

Koyack committed to play for Notre Dame on April 25. Penn State had been very high on Koyack's list of finalists, but fell away just before he made his decision between Ohio State and the Fighting Irish. It should be noted that Koyack had originally planned to wait until later this summer to make a college choice. He seemed to catch everyone by surprise (by choosing earlier than expected; not his pick of ND), including Penn State.

Travis Hughes
Virginia Beach, VA

Penn State hasn't been in Hughes' top choices since late winter, but the scholarship offer is still out there, just as the offers still stand for the other already-committed recruits. On a recent visit to Maryland, Hughes made no mention of the Nittany Lions, pointing to Virginia Tech, North Carolina, and the Terps as his top three colleges.

Terrell Chestnut
Pottstown, PA
Can Penn State hold its early lead with Pottstown defensive back Terrell Chestnut?
Chestnut now holds just over a dozen scholarship offers from nearly every major program in the Big Ten-ACC footprint. Boston College, Michigan, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, South Carolina, Syracuse, and West Virginia are all among those going after the Keystone cornerback. But following a heavy dose of official visits in March and April, and a heavier concentration on his track season, Chestnut said he wanted to cool down the recruiting process for a little while.

When it comes to Penn State... The Nittany Lions are still in great shape. One of those latest visits came in mid-April, when Chestnut traveled to Happy Valley. On that visit, his host was Brent Carter (not returning for '10), but that shouldn't make a difference. Chestnut said he had a very good time at Penn State. And as long as he keeps his recruitment this wide open through the summer, the Lions have a fantastic shot of landing the top-20 cornerback.

Mike Caputo
Imperial, PA

Caputo's recruitment started off quietly enough, but has been a rising tide since first arriving on our radar in early February. The West Allegheny star is now the No. 9 outside linebacker on's rankings, and holds about 10 very solid scholarship offers. I say solid to emphasize that, right now, while there aren't a lot of schools with official offers out to Caputo, the ones he holds can forecast how much attention he will surely get later this recruiting season. Boston College, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, and Wisconsin all sent written offers.

When it comes to Penn State... Of course, being the premier college football program in Caputo's home state helps here. Penn State is looking at Caputo potentially as a safety, as is Pitt. But the junior has just as much talent on offense, breaking 2,500 yards carrying the ball in 2009. We all know how Penn State loves to turn great running backs into great defenders.

Maika Polamalu
Pottsgrove, PA

Although Polamalu (Troy's cousin) hasn't yet committed to a team, it seems unlikely that he will chose the Nittany Lions. Penn State was one of his first scholarship offers, coming all the way back last fall. But Polamalu said he doesn't feel Penn State is the right fit defensively for his skill set. His offers numbers haven't exactly been skyrocketing, so we won't call this one dead until something concrete happens. For now, however, the interest level for Polamalu isn't all that high.

Jay Whitmire
Alexandria, VA

The offensive tackle prospect from T.C. Williams holds about 14 scholarship offers, all in that familiar Big Ten-ACC footprint. Hailing from the DC-metro area, schools like Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Duke are pushing hard to keep the star lineman in the Mid-Atlantic region. But others like UConn, Boston College, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, and Cincinnati are all right in the mix.

Whitmire had been rumored to be leaning towards North Carolina, then Notre Dame, but nothing has really come of any of that. He seems to want to stay close to home, at least within a few hours drive. Naturally, the two Virginia programs (UVA and VT) would love to keep Whitmire from going out of state.

When it comes to Penn State... Whitmire was up for the Blue-White Game, one of his few visits so far in the recruiting process. He said he came away impressed, but didn't sound anywhere near ready to make a decision. The Nittany Lions have indicated to Whitmire that they would really like to have him as a defensive lineman, positioning Penn State as the only program to recruit him on that side of the ball. If Whitmire has any interest in defense, Penn State could have the edge.

Next up: Part 3

Part 1

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