May 7, 2010

Big-Ass 2011 Recruiting Update, Part 4 of 4

Damascus (MD) cornerback/wide receiver Brandon Phelps has Penn State high on his list of college choices. (Photo: Washington Post)

We wrap up our week-long review of Penn State football recruiting, with part four.

Eric MacClain
Fayetteville, NC

MacClain committed to Clemson on April 17. The Tar Heel tight end had originally committed to Lane Kiffin, when he was still coach at Tennessee. But you can't blame him for pulling out of his verbal there. Anyway, Penn State is out.

Curtis Grant
Richmond, VA

Grant is rated the No. 2 linebacker in the nation by, propelling him to the top of any major program's recruiting board. About 20 BCS programs have offered Grant, with Virginia, Florida, Alabama, Virginia Tech, North Carolina and USC hitting him the hardest so far. He's been working on the visit circuit, going to four schools in one week last month. Seven ACC schools and four SEC schools have offered Grant, along with others from the Big Ten, Big XII, and Pac 10 conferences.

When it comes to Penn State... Grant had been expecting an offer from Penn State, but he's still not listed on any of the major recruiting services Web sites as holding that offer. The coaches were in contact with Grant back in early March, apparently telling him that an offer was in the works, but not finalized. In that time, Grant has strayed away from serious interest in Penn State, even though he still says he wants to visit this summer. There's still time to get back in good with Grant.

Brandon Phelps
Damascus, MD

Phelps is projected as a cornerback in college, despite being listed on the recruiting sites as an all-purpose recruit. He's not exactly considered an elite recruit at this stage, but does hold more than 20 scholarship offers from BCS conference programs. Alabama, Iowa, LSU, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, and Wisconsin are just a few of the biggest names to have offered.

Phelps has most recently visited LSU and Notre Dame, specifically mentioning the Tigers as serious contenders. He said that location is not at all an issue. Phelps also wants to pick a school prior to the football season, to avoid the stress of playing a season while concerned about picking a college.

When it comes to Penn State... Penn State is the only school Phelps has visited twice. The first came in late March, with the return trip for the Blue-White Game. He said both were very impressive, and that Penn State is at or near the top of his list right now. That shouldn't be surprising, as Larry Johnson, Sr. is leading the charge for the Nittany Lions. While an earlier commitment is possible, this one could come in July or August.

Zach West
Lexington, KY

West is a mid-level recruit, in terms of hype. But scouts are slowly finding more about him and what he can do. His offers list isn't nearly as long as other recruits I mentioned in this week's updates, but there are a few schools big enough to draw some more attention as the summer arrives. So far, besides one from Penn State, West claims written offers from Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Cincinnati.

When it comes to Penn State... Unless West gets a case of homesickness, it would seem that the Nittany Lions are in great position to pull him out of the Bluegrass State (even though it's really a commonwealth). Offensive linemen are the toughest players to accurately rate before getting into college. You have to think that if the coaches are willing to go to a relatively unknown recruiting ground for the Nittany Lions, West must have something they really want.

Angelo Mangiro
Succasunna, NJ

The junior from northwest New Jersey is making quite a name for himself on the national recruiting scene. Mangiro, currently the No. 3 guard on, recently received an invitation to the 2011 U.S. Army All-American game in San Antonio. The first school to offer Mangiro was the home-state Rutgers, but more than a dozen more have come in since. Boston College, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio State, South Carolina, and USC are just some of the other BCS programs to have offered Mangiro in the past few months.

Mangiro has said that while location is a factor, it's not imperative that he stay close to home. Rutgers has been a leader with Mangiro from the beginning, but schools like Ohio State, Penn State, and Pittsburgh all hosted him for unofficial visits in April. A mid-summer decision is possible for Mangiro, as he wants to eliminate most of the schools before July.

When it comes to Penn State... One of the most telling anecdotes from Mangiro's experiences with the Nittany Lions has come from the early stages of his recruitment. This winter, before Penn State even offered Mangiro, he said how impressed he was with the fact that the Nittany Lions coaching staff likes to get to know their recruits before sending out a scholarship offer, as Josh Moyer of Nittany Network reported in February, "He said he actually finds it flattering Penn State gets to know its recruits first before throwing an offer at him, like some schools." The Nittany Lions are in a great position to stay with Mangiro to the end.

Marco Jones
Baltimore, MD

Jones says he wants to make a decision before the football season begins, which starts the clock for Penn State's prospects with the rising senior. He now holds between seven and nine offers, depending on which recruiting service you read. Those offers include West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Louisville, UConn, Kansas State and North Carolina. Jones recently returned from a trip to Rutgers, which he said impressed him and his mother very much, particularly in terms of the academic prowess of the school. If academics are a priority for Jones and his mom, Penn State should be in the top few schools.

When it comes to Penn State... Three defensive ends--six ends including the tight ends--currently hold offers form the Nittany Lions. The addition of Jones brings the defensive ends count to four. Why does that matter? Well, it doesn't really. But it does give somewhat of an indication that Penn State wants to sign at least one defensive end in this upcoming class. One defensive end might not sound like a lot, especially for Penn State. That's because, well, it isn't a lot. Larry Johnson, Sr. brings in pretty much a new defensive line rotation in each recruiting class. To sign only one defensive end in 2011 would surprise the hell out of a lot more people than just me.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Note: Stay tuned for more updates through this weekend. They will include players that have received recent offers, and are included on our offers board, but haven't been covered in their own posts here at LBU. Consider it like an addendum to this week-long update series.

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1 comment:

  1. I've been reading that Virginia Tech wants Grant badly. Pretty much have him at the top of their draft board.

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