June 1, 2010

Tuesday Recruitin': Spring Evaluation Period Ends (updated)

This story was updated at 9:17 p.m.

Think college football has confusing rules and regulations? Try learning the guidelines that come with college recruiting. They are so bad, most in the media don't even try to explain it to their readers and viewers.

Well, today you're in luck. It's the first day of June, and I'm in a productive mood following the long weekend. Oh, and the spring evaluation period ended yesterday, starting one of the many "quiet periods" that dot the recruiting calendar.

So what are all these fancy-shmancy names the NCAA gives to its recruiting schedule? Here's the short version...

Contact period: When college coaches may make in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts and evaluations.

Evaluation period: Authorized athletic staff members can be involved in off-campus activities to assess academic qualifications and playing abilities. Evaluations usually involve a coach or recruiter observing a game or practice. In-person, off-campus recruiting contact ("contact period" stuff) during evaluations is prohibited.

Quiet period: There can be in-person recruiting contact, but only on the college campus.

Dead period: When college coaches are restricted from making in-person, off-campus recruiting contacts and evaluations. There will be no contact with players, no evaluations of players or no official or unofficial visits during this time.

(For the wonks out there, you can find the official NCAA recruiting calendars HERE, with all the technical jargon.)

The reason I'm mentioning all of this (as opposed to just getting into the actual recruit reports), is because Penn State sent out a handful of new offers this past week, before the end of the evaluation period. Understanding the recruiting calendar is critical to understanding (and predicting) when coaching staffs will move on some recruits, while holding on others. This week, we have some movement.

New Offers
Connor Crowell's latest offers included Penn State. (Photo: ESPN)
Conner Crowell (Rivals/Scout/ESPN)
Waldorf, MD/North Point
6-1, 220 lbs

Crowell is rising among the Mid-Atlantic programs, particularly after a great showing at the Blacksburg NIKE Camp last month. While still not considered a blue chip recruit, he is rated the No. 38 middle linebacker by Scout, and should come in on the Rivals and ESPN boards somewhere comparable.

The offers list stands around a dozen right now, but that number is subject to interpretation. The consensus includes UConn, Duke, Hawaii, Kansas State, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, Stanford, Virginia, and West Virginia. Other schools supposedly in the mix are Michigan, Boston College, Pittsburgh, and Virginia Tech.

Crowell reportedly wants to narrow his list by the end of the summer.

When it comes to Penn State... Two current Nittany Lions are from Waldorf--fullback Andre Dupree played alongside Crowell at North Point; and receiver Devon Smith played across town, at Westlake. Crowell has said he is very interested in Penn State, particularly for its presence in the DC Metro area. Ron Vanderlinden and Larry Johnson, Sr. are working together on Crowell. Should he keep Penn State in his top schools at the end of the summer, the Nittany Lions have a good chance to land a very good linebacker prospect.

Bill Belton (Rivals/Scout/ESPN)
Atco, NJ/Winslow Township
5-9, 190 lbs

The offensive star from southwest New Jersey is getting a lot of attention lately, but not as a quarterback, the position he played in high school. Belton is being eyed as either a slot receiver or a running back. He's open to both positions. Scout.com has him rated the No. 13 wide receiver for 2011, while being named to the ESPNU 150. As a junior, Belton accounted for approximately 3,400 yards of total offense and 26 touchdowns as a quarterback. He also played defensive back.

Belton's offers list is growing, even though he's been openly trimming schools at the same time. West Virginia, South Carolina, Florida, Purdue, Oregon, Penn State, Cincinnati, Louisville, Maryland, and Pittsburgh are on Belton's short list. But he holds offers from more than 20 schools overall, including Maryland, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Nebraska, Rutgers, South Florida, and Wisconsin. Honestly, I'm surprised Rutgers isn't on his short list, but there are a number of reasons any recruit picks or doesn't pick a school.

When it comes to Penn State... Making an early cut is better than not, so I'd have to say that Penn State is in decent shape with Belton. The Nittany Lions only recently offered him. Belton is a rare football talent, who's capable of playing Penn State's "slash" role. That multi-threat position was made famous by Derrick Williams, and is now occupied by Curtis Drake. I would venture to say that if Belton couldn't throw the ball well, Penn State wouldn't have much interest.

Rob Burns (Rivals/Scout/ESPN)
Ashburn, VA/Stone Bridge
6-8, 226 lbs
Defensive End/blocking Tight End

Burns is a local product--for me, at least. He is a good prospect from a great high school program. The Bulldogs have been a regular in the state finals, taking home a few titles along the way. Burns is currently holding offers from eastern schools, including Boston College, Duke, Maryland, Syracuse, Rutgers, North Carolina, Virginia, Penn State, and Wake Forest. As a junior, Burns had eight sacks at defensive end and is a blocking tight end on offense. He was named first-team All-District, All-County, second team All-Region, and second team All-State.

When it comes to Penn State... Burns is still getting to know Penn State, but that's not terrible news. Penn State has never heavily recruited this area, which is one county west of Evan Royster's home in Fairfax. I'm kind of surprised with that, as the entire Northern Virginia region is full of Penn State alumni. Burns said that academics will be a big part of his decision, which should keep Penn State in the running.

Deon Green (Rivals/Scout/ESPN)
Orlando, FL/Orangeburg
6-3, 251 lbs
Defensive End

Green is another recruit shooting up the boards. He currently holds more than 25 scholarships, most coming from BCS conference programs. Green recently cut his list, but with so many scholarship offers, cutting down still left him with about 18 contenders. Among those still in the running are Cincinnati, Duke, Illinois, Iowa State, Mississippi, Northwestern, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers, South Carolina, South Florida, Texas Tech, Central Florida, Virginia, and Wake Forest. Louisville and Syracuse also offered, but have been effectively eliminated by Green.

He told the Orlando Sentinel that his "top four" are Clemson, South Carolina, Penn State, and South Florida. Green had 75 tackles and six quarterback sacks last season.

When it comes to Penn State... Green told Blue White Illustrated "Penn State is almost at the top, if not at the top," so there is legitimate interest on his part. This would be a huge coup for the Nittany Lions, never mind the Big Ten overall. Going on down to Florida, plucking out a very highly touted recruit would make some waves on the national scene. But keep in mind that should Penn State strike out, it would just continue the theme that the Big Ten can't compete with the South.

When will Penn State offer one of the best recruits in Pennsylvania? Turns out, TODAY! Kyshoen Jarrett just received the offer from the Nittany Lions. (Photo by Keith R. Stevenson)
Kyshoen Jarrett (Rivals/Scout/ESPN)
East Stroudsburg, PA/East Stroudsburg
5-11, 180 lbs

As a sophomore, Jarrett recorded 45 tackles, 2 interceptions and he forced 3 fumbles on his way to earning First Team All-Conference honors. His performance at the State College NIKE Camp a few weeks ago was considered by many as one of the best in the field. Jarrett holds between 12-14 scholarship offers, most from schools east of the Mississippi. So far, the list includes Cincinnati, UConn, Duke, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Stanford, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, and Virginia.

When it comes to Penn State... Jarrett is a favorite among the PSU message boards, but not in a good way. Rated by most services as one of the best cornerback prospects for 2011, fans are chomping at the bit wondering how it's possible that Penn State hasn't offered Jarrett. He's even said that he has been trying to keep in touch with Penn State on his own. I understand that defensive back is not one of Penn State's priorities this year, but unless there's something seriously wrong with Jarrett, an offer better be in the works. Penn State offered Jarrett today, so everything you just read is moot. This is a big offer, for both parties. Look for continued updates this week, right here at LBU.

Offers Coming?

D'Angelo Roberts (Rivals/Scout/ESPN)
5-10, 178 lbs
Bloomington, IN/Bloomington North
Running Back

Roberts is expecting an offer soon from Penn State, but there has been no official report that the offer has been sent. Most of his offers have been from local programs, including Ball State, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Indiana, and Western Kentucky. Purdue, Michigan State, and Iowa are also looking, and are in a similar position as Penn State. Roberts is a great running threat, amassing more than 2,600 yards last season; but he can also catch the ball, with 400 receiving yards out of the backfield.

Richard Rodgers (Rivals/Scout/ESPN)
Shrewsbury, MA/St. John's
6-4, 230 lbs

Rodgers is a Cal legacy, meaning his recruitment could be moot. However, he's is getting a bunch of attention from some big name programs, including Boston College, California, Maryland, Notre Dame, Oregon, and Virginia. Penn State, Michigan, Iowa, and Syracuse are also supposedly on the verge of offering a scholarship. Rodgers' father played for Cal and is a defensive coordinator now at Holy Cross, and his cousin Jairus Byrd was a cornerback at Oregon and plays for the Buffalo Bills now. Last season, Rodgers had 49 catches for 722 yards and 17 touchdowns, and played defensive end and safety where he amassed 27 solo tackles and four interceptions, two returned for touchdowns. He was named first-team All-League and All-State.


Noah Spence (Rivals/Scout/ESPN)
Harrisburg, PA/Bishop McDevitt
6-3, 225 lbs
Defensive End

It's tough to gauge how many offers a player has at this stage, when all the offers are just verbal. But it looks like Penn State is joining a growing field, as Spence already claims to have about a dozen offers, including from Cincinnati, UConn, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, and Virginia. With a verbal offer from the Nittany Lions, it looks like they don't want to let another Bishop-McDevitt star (read: LeSean McCoy) slip through their fingers.

Last football season, Spence made 50 tackles, 20 TFL, 7 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery, which was returned 86 yards for a touchdown. As a freshman, Spence recorded 9.5 sacks and was named First Team All-Conference.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for our updated offers board!

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  1. According to FOS, the Lions offered Jarrett today. Rough timing for you guys.

  2. The news only broke at 6:30ish, so forgive us... I wrote most of this article during the day, before that story broke.

  3. Oh, yeah. I hate it when that happens, though--you work on your write up and the situation changes before you publish it. Major PITA