July 1, 2010

Jersey RB Savon Huggins narrows list to 10

As if Penn State needed yet another challenge in this recruiting year, it looks like the Nittany Lions will be in a tough fight for one of the most prized 2011 prospects east of the Mississippi.

NJ RB Savon Huggins announced today through Scout.com that he has whittled his list of suitors down to 10. On the list: Rutgers, Pitt, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Florida, Penn State, Stanford, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Miami.

That list comes from about 60 offers from the most powerful college football programs in the nation. One school on that list that sticks out right away is Stanford. Jim Harbaugh's Cardinal are on a recruiting tear this year. If the boys from The Farm can snag Huggins from the east, it would easily dominate the recruiting headlines for a week, or more.

Then there's the Pitt factor. The Panthers have been a hot topic among Penn Staters on the blogs and message boards--even in a few mainstream quarters--after the once sure-thing pickup Marquise Wright out of Paramus, NJ verbally committed to Pitt this week. In early April, 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. This week, Huggins just returned from another visit to Pitt, where he was apparently pampered like a baby's butt. Oh, how I would have loved to been a fly on the wall in those recruiting pitches.

Penn State has been burned too many times in this young recruiting year for me to say Penn State has even a good chance to pick up Huggins. But the chance is still very real. At least the Nittany Lions made the top-10 cut. If PSU was left out, though, would it have really shocked anyone, given how the recruiting news has been lately?

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. But Anderson has been coming under heat on the message boards and in the media, as the New York City metro region is his wheel house; and Pitt just stole Wright from 15 miles west of the city.

As of early May, running back Stephfon Green and one other current Penn State player had been talking to Huggins, in addition to Anderson.

Huggins will announce his decision next January, during the ESPN Under Armour All-American Game.

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