July 6, 2010

Tuesday Recruitin': Reviewing the 2011 Offers... all of them

Can Mike McQueary turn Penn State's 2011 recruiting class into something more than mediocre?
It's summertime, and you have better things to do than sit at your computer trying to figure out what's going on in Penn State recruiting. That's where I come in. In today's update, we'll walk through all of the 2011 scholarship offers, in a big one-stop recruiting shop.

Let's get to it.

ATH/RB Remound Wright, Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Dwenger
Wright verbally committed on June 18 to play for the Stanford Cardinal

ATH/DB Terrell Chestnut, Pottstown, PA/Pottsgrove
Chestnutt is still open. He took a visit to Pitt on June 23, and a second visit to Rutgers earlier in the month. Penn State is still high on his list, but with all the grumbling about Pitt's recruiting pitches lately, you can't be so sure the Panthers aren't either leading now, or at least ahead of Penn State. The Lions want Chestnut, badly.

ATH/WR Darius Jennings, Baltimore, MD/Gilman School
Even though Penn State isn't looking for as many skill players as years past, a loss here with Jennings would be a significant blow to Larry Johnson, Sr. It was only four years ago that LJS single-handedly tore apart the Maryland/DC recruiting circuit for Penn State. But this year isn't looking so sharp. Landing Jennings would be a major spark for the 2011 class.

ATH/WR Bill Belton, Atco, NJ/Winslow Township
Belton verbally committed on June 11 to play for the Pittsburgh Panthers

ATH/WR Miles Shuler, Long Branch, NJ/Long Branch
The battle for Shuler might take on bigger meaning, but more on that later. Shuler cut down his list to 10 schools: Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Florida, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Penn State, Northwestern, California, Stanford and Cincinnati. Making that list is big for Penn State, as Shuler is one of the fastest players in 2011, and right in the Nittany Lions' back yard. Rutgers has hosted Shuler more times than any other campus, but that's expected being his home-state university.

QB Cardale Jones, Cleveland, OH/Glenville Academic Campus
Jones' recruitment has been quiet lately, even though he is regarded as one of the better still-uncommitted quarterbacks in the midwest region. Penn State is in Jones' top schools, from what everyone can tell right now.

RB Savon Huggins, Jersey City, NJ/St. Peter's Prep
We already covered Huggins this week, as he picked Penn State in his top-10 schools. Huggins is probably the biggest name recruit next to Cyrus Kouandjio on Penn State's offers board, but there could be a catch here. Huggins has been talking closely with Miles Shuler, which means Huggins might actually turn into a two-fer deal with Shuler.

WR Tobais Singleton, Madison, MS/Madison Central
UCLA is the big leader right now, but Singleton still hasn't made up his mind. Penn State would seem like a real long shot here, but there's always a chance as long as Singleton remains open. Plus, how great would it be to pull a highly rated prospect out of SEC country?

WR Quinta Funderburk, Chesapeake, VA/Oscar Smith
Funderburk is kind of off the radar for most Penn State recruitniks, but his recruitment is very much open. He comes from the same school as 2010 Penn State recruit Evan Hailes, so the Nittany Lions have at least somewhat of an "in" with Funderburk, even if it is only indirectly.

WR Ja'Juan Story, Brooksville, FL/Nature Coast Technical
Story verbally committed on June 28 to play for the Florida Gators.

WR Brandon Reddish, Brooklyn, NY/Fort Hamilton
A quiet addition to the 2011 offers board, Reddish has gained some momentum in terms of higher profile offers--Virginia, Syracuse, Maryland, West Virginia--but doesn't plan on picking a school until signing day. As a junior last fall Reddish caught 30 passes for 760 yards and 12 touchdowns. He recorded 47 tackles and two interceptions on defense.

WR Damiere Byrd, Sicklerville, NJ/Timber Creek
Byrd is being very heavily recruited by Florida, Rutgers and South Carolina. But the Penn State offer is still out there, and he's still uncommitted. Byrd attended the State College NIKE Camp last month, coming away with a positive impression. Penn State will have to step it up to jump ahead of his leading schools.

Visit the Linebacker-U.com recruiting board for the latest tally of recruits claiming offers from Penn State for 2011.
TE Brian Miller, Andover, MA/Andover
Miller verbally committed on April 25 to play for the Boston College Eagles.

TE Ben Koyack, Oil City, PA/Oil City
Koyack verbally committed on April 27 to play for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

TE Eric MacLain, Fayetteville, NC/Jack Britt
MacLain verbally committed on April 17 to play for the Clemson Tigers.

TE Marco Jones, Baltimore, MD/The Boys’ Latin School
Jones verbally committed on June 6 to play for the Virginia Cavaliers.

TE Nick Vannett, Westerville, OH/Central
Vannett verbally committed on June 6 to play for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

This leaves Penn State 0-for-5 on tight end prospects so far!

OL Cyrus Kouandjio, Hyattsville, MD/DeMatha
For such a highly touted recruit (most recruiting services have him the No. 1 offensive lineman), Kouandjio bucks the trend by not eliminating any schools from contention. This could be a very interesting race through the end of the year, as dozens of powerhouse programs are vying for his signature. Penn State would absolutely die for Kouandjio to come to Happy Valley.

OL Spencer Region, Cullman, AL/Cullman
Region pulled the trigger on Auburn right after signing day this year, but then began to have second thoughts. His recruitment has since opened up, and Penn State is surprisingly in the thick of things. Wisconsin and Penn State are the only two northern schools to offer Region, and he told Scout.com that he “like to play someday in Happy Valley," but wouldn't say if that meant for the home team or not.

OL Anthony Zettel, West Branch, MI/Ogemaw Heights
Zettel has narrowed his recruitment somewhat, with most recruiting services listing Michigan and Michigan State as the top two leaders right now. Still, Zettel technically remains open. But it doesn't look like Penn State, or any other non-Michigan school, has much of a chance here.

OL Aundrey Walker, Cleveland, OH/Glenville Academic Campus
The Buckeyes have led from the start, but Walker has not made a verbal. This one looks more like an inevitability than anything else, as Ohio State has been on a tear with recruiting lately. Walker won't pick a school until after he makes five visits this summer. Penn State hasn't been mentioned, but that could change.

OL Kiaro Holts, Indianapolis, IN/Warren Central
Holts verbally committed on June 25 to play for the North Carolina Tar Heels.

OL Zach West, Lexington, KY/Lexington Christian
Penn State offered West some months ago, taking a few folks by surprise. The Nittany Lions don't usually head to Kentucky for recruits, but they must have seen something in West to make the offer. Besides Penn State, his leaders are Kentucky, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Louisville and Auburn. All of his favorites have offered, except Auburn.

OL Angelo Mangiro, Succasunna, NJ/Roxbury
Penn State has lost a few NJ recruits to Pitt lately, so Mangiro is quickly becoming the next flash point in the recruiting war. A few weeks ago, Mangiro listed Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers and Ohio State as his finalists. The scary thing about Mangiro's timetable is that he wants to commit to a school before the football season starts. Penn State would be much more comfortable going into the fall with Mangiro on the Nittany Lions' commits board.

OL Jay Whitmire, Alexandria, VA/T.C. Williams
Penn State would not be mentioned nearly half as much when discussing Whitmire, if not for Larry Johnson Sr. recruiting the VA standout as a defensive lineman, rather than his projected offensive position. Penn State is the only school doing that, but Whitmire swears it hasn't hurt PSU's chances. Pitt is in the mix here, too, so do what you want with that.

OL Donovan Smith, Owings Mills, MD/Owings Mills
Smith is gaining interest from schools to play both sides of the ball, including from Penn State. This is another Larry Johnson Sr. assignment, as you might tell from the location (MD). Smith wants to cut his list down sometime in August, but doesn't know when he will commit to one school.

DT Darian Cooper, Hyattsville, MD/DeMatha
DeMatha high school has been kind to Penn State the past few years. But can LJS make it happen again this year? Cooper is good friends with teammate Cyrus Kouandjio, so this could be the first (more in a minute) of a few package deals in this year's recruiting class. Cooper wants to visit Penn State this week, and has the Nittany Lions near the top of his list. He wants to cut that list down soon, so the visit to State College will be crucial.

DT Shaun Underwood, Fuquay-Varina, NC/Fuquay-Varina
Penn State has sent LJS down on a special assignment this year to land Underwood for the Nittany Lions. This is a big deal. Unfortunately, Underwood has North Carolina as the clear No. 1 of his top three schools. However, the good part is that Penn State is still in that top three. Underwood won't make any decision until after he gets in a few more visits. Expect Penn State to be one of his destinations.

DT Marquise Wright, Paramus, NJ/Paramus Catholic
Wright (shockingly) verbally committed on June 28 to play for the Pittsburgh Panthers.

DT Al Page, Bronx, NY/Christopher Columbus
Page verbally committed on April 14 to play for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

DT Joel Hale, Greenwood, IN/Center Grove
Hale verbally committed on June 7 to play for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

DE Deion Barnes, Philadelphia, PA/Northeast
Barnes is a regional star in the 2011 class, but that region is the entire eastern half of the U.S. His offers list is growing to include most of the powers east of the Mississippi. Penn State is high on that list, but no higher than many of the other suitors. The offers are still coming in for Barnes, which is slowing down his own timetable for a decision. After losing Marquise Wright to Pitt last week, Ron Vanderlinden could use a nice pickup like Barnes.

DE Deon Green, Orlando, FL/Olympia
Green verbally committed on June 29 to play for the South Carolina Gamecocks [snicker].

DE Rob Burns, Ashburn, VA/Stone Bridge
Burns verbally committed on July 1 to play for the Virginia Cavaliers.

DE Shawn Oakman, Lansdowne, PA/Penn Wood
Oakman verbally committed on July 2 to play for the Penn State Nittany Lions.

DE Ishaq Williams, Brooklyn, NY/Abraham Lincoln
Williams is another New York City prospect that's gained plenty of recognition as the 2011 class has developed. Penn State was one of his earliest offers, and remains in strong contention. Williams wants to make a return trip to Penn State this summer, but only after he's seen places he hasn't been to yet.

DE Marco Jones, Baltimore, MD/Boys Latin School
Jones verbally committed on June 6 to play for the Virginia Cavaliers.

DE Jordan Kerner, Fairview, PA/Fairview
Penn State offered Kerner only last week, but it is widely assumed the Nittany Lions are going to be his pick. His offers include Iowa, Maryland, West Virginia, Rutgers, and Minnesota. Iowa is right up there with Penn State on Kerner's list, so it could come down to just these two schools.

LB Lawrence Thomas, Detroit, MI/Renaissance
Thomas verbally committed on March 5 to play for the Michigan State Spartans.

LB Travis Hughes, Virginia Beach, VA/Kempsville
Hughes has leaned away from Penn State in recent weeks, mostly due to the ascension of North Carolina to the top of his list. This one doesn't seem to be as much a knock on Penn State, as just another recruit buying into what Butch Davis is cooking down there in Chapel Hill.

LB Maika Polamalu, Pottsgrove, PA/Pottsgrove
Polamalu has been quiet the last few weeks, but even quieter in the Penn State world. Since he had kind of a falling out with himself about how he "fit" into Penn State's defensive scheme, the Lions have either pulled their offer, or just left it as a verbal offer. Either way, I'm not sure Polamalu will end up in Happy Valley.

LB Curtis Grant, Richmond, VA/Hermitage
After it was reported that Penn State verbally offered Grant earlier this spring, things kind of dissolved. There has been no further development, or official offer. But I include Grant on the list anyway because at one point during this recruiting season, Penn State seemed poised to pull the trigger.

LB Andre Sturdivant, Cleveland, OH/Glenville
Sturdivant is one of the best inside linebacker prospects for 2011, and Penn State is very much alive in the race for his commitment. He only got his official offer last week, even though a verbal offer was on the table for weeks. His teammate is Cardale Jones, with whom he visited Happy Valley last week. This is yet another (told you we'd come back to this) possible package deal for 2011, with Sturdivant and Jones.

LB Conner Crowell, Waldorf, MD/North Point
Penn State sent its two big guns, LJS and Vanderlinden, to formally offer Crowell a scholarship. He just wrapped up a big round of visits, including a stop by Happy Valley last week. Penn State is very high on his list. Crowell plans to make his decision on senior night during his team’s final high school game Nov. 7, though it is possible he could commit before that.

CB Brandon Phelps, Damascus, MD/Damascus
Phelps verbally committed on June 25 to play for the Virginia Cavaliers.

CB Doran Grant, Akron, OH/St. Vincent-St. Mary
Penn State's chances with Grant took a big hit when he didn't exactly sound enthusiastic talking about the Nittany Lions during the State College NIKE Camp. Grant's recruitment remains open, but he has displayed little interest in Penn State, while others have moved ahead.

CB Demetrious Nicholson, Virginia Beach, VA/Bayside
Since his offer came on June 6, Nicholson's interest in Penn State has remained decent. The problem is, North Carolina is light years ahead of everyone in this race. Penn State, along with every other school outside of Chapel Hill, is a very outside shot to land Nicholson.

CB Dominique Noble, Mount Ulla, NC/West Rowan
Noble was gaining mostly regional interest from the Carolinas, but that's blossomed into a full-blown recruiting war over another Tar Heel State prospect. Penn State is in the mix with Noble, and should host him on a visit this month. With cornerback as another so-so need for 2011, it would be very nice to land a kid like Noble.

CB Albert Louis-Jean, Brockton, MA/Brockton
Louis-Jean verbally committed on March 24 to play for the Miami Hurricanes.

S/LB Mike Caputo, Imperial, PA/West Allegheny
About a week ago, Caputo named his top four schools: Pitt, Penn State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin. He is the only safety prospect Penn State has offered in this class, which means it's not a need position in 2011. Still, I'm sure Penn State would love to grab Caputo, if for no other reason than to stick it to Pitt in an in-state battle.


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