August 4, 2010

Recruiting Update: Has Penn State lost Savon Huggins?

Savon Huggins, probably the highest rated prospect on Penn State's radar this off-season, has been the topic of much discussion around the internets, particularly on certain message boards ($). But that's not the only place folks are freaking the hell out over Penn State's perceived lack of recruiting prowess this season; it's just the jumping off point for today's update.

I've never been one to make a habit out of trashing what Joe Paterno or his staff does in recruiting. It's a casino. You're dealt certain hands, and you must play them, hold, or fold. You try doing what they do, then get back to me with just how well it goes over 60 years, nevermind just four or five.

Paterno said in Monday's press conference that, frankly, people don't know what the hell they're talking about when they discuss the merits of Penn State Recruiting 2010-11:
"Because we're still in the middle of trying to get a couple of key people that would make a difference. Our problem is with numbers, and that's what people look at, and we don't have that many scholarships available. As you look at our roster, you'll find out that we have a lot of walk-on kids, but as of... as far as scholarship kids, we font' lose a lot of kids so we really can't... couldn't go out and get 18, 19, 20 kids this year. So we want to go get people fill in where we need them, and hopefully make ourselves a little better. I think we're doing alright. I really do."
Only sane people understand that. Unfortunately, those asking the questions that get that answer aren't so sane.

But back to Huggins.

The forum thread on FOS got a bit immature towards the end (as of this post, anyway), but you can just ignore that stuff. The gist of what's going on is that's Matt Alkire thinks Penn State is out of it when it comes to NJ RB Savon Huggins. That is sad news, if it's true.

We haven't heard really anything substantative, particularly since Huggins had been reported to be very high on Penn State only a month ago. So don't freak out about this news.

What is more concerning about this is the impending doom and gloom we will be bombarded with, should Huggins not at least keep Penn State in the mix until signing day. Losing a top running back in this class--even though Penn State has more quality running backs right now on the roster than any time since probably 1994--would seemingly solidify the perception that Penn State has "lost it," and that Joe Paterno is single-handedly losing it for the Nittany Lions.

Of course, that entire premise is complete bullcrap. But it will be said over and over again regardless.

Over the next few weeks, I'll go through all the positions again just like I did in the spring. And when I get to the running backs, you'll know why it's really not a big deal if Huggins doesn't sign with Penn State.

But for now, if I'm not mistaken, I could swear we have a few guys on the roster by the names of Royster, Green, Beachum, Dukes, and Redd, along with fullbacks who go by Suhey and Zwinak.

In other news...

Darius Jennings was on campus for his visit this week with his dad and girlfriend. Sean Fitz ($) gave a nice update for the BWI readers, as he pointed out how Jennings still likes PSU very much, but will make a choice after the football season.

Zach West is now down to five schools.

Michael Cole committed to to Virginia Tech.

2012 recruit Sam Lebbie said he would choose Penn State right now.

Sorry for the short update, and no Tuesday Recruitin' this week. I'm on the road until Sunday visiting family, so you'll have to bear with me.

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  1. You do understand that recruiting in the 2011 class is about players 2013, 2014 (maybe 2015)?

    Royster is a Sr. so he has NO impact on the depth at RB when Huggins would be at PSU if he chose to do so. Green and Beachum are Jrs so they are gone in 2012. Why do you even bring these guys into the argument? It makes me question if LBU understands the concept of recruiting.

    Major programs have to replenish their rosters each year. To date PSU has 4 verbals. Many if not most major programs have 10+ verbals by this point. This is troubling.

  2. Don't act so snarky with you comment, Dave. You made your point about Royster. But if you think Green and Beachum don't matter, then maybe you yourself need to reevaluate your own concept of recruiting.

    Yet, I could even come back and say that while I didn't make the point clearly about Royster, it could be said that he was only a "three star" guy, which pokes a huge hole in anyone's argument that PSU must get very highly touted recruits.

    I think you're oversimplifying the idea of what "most major programs" do in recruiting. Most major programs have 18 or more (usually around 22) scholarships to offer in any given year. Penn State will have a max of about 15. That's not a lot, by most major programs' standards.

    Penn State has four verbals. That's 25% of the class. Which means most major programs with about 10 verbals are only 25% more full than PSU.

    Curtis Dukes is a redshirt frosh. Silas red is a true frosh. What if Beachum does redshirt? Then he'll be a redshirt junior in 2011. You telling me that Penn State won't be able to sign any other running backs by the time those guys graduate?

    This obsession with the 2011 class makes me question whether or not anyone has paid any attention whatsoever to any recruiting class before 2010.

  3. RBs just don't matter this year. Dukes and Redd are *so* good - any player recruited this year is going to have a hard time getting any playing time. Both lines and secondary are the places they need to go - and those positions don't typically get as hyped.

  4. Even if Penn State misses on Huggins, four-star RB Allen Wasonga, from West Virginia, visited campus recently and is very high on Penn State. So is another RB from Florida that possesses great speed. You win some recruits and you lose some and the facts are that Penn State still has time to make this a good class. Even if it ends up to be an average class, it won't break the program. Penn State is about to transition from the Paterno era; with that it makes sense that negative recruiting can takle its toll.

  5. Mike,

    What do I need to reevaluate? Green and Beachum are eligible in 2011 & 2012. That is good. But the recruits you get this year are supposed to be starters in 2013 & 2014, so those guys don't impact RBs selected in this class. That fact that you keep bringing this up makes me question if you really understand the recruiting process. Remember the 200-2004 stretch of 4 of 5 losing seasons. The seeds of that era were sown by poor recruiting in the late 90s, when PSU was in national championship hunts. You have to think about this stuff years in advance.

    PSU had a great class last year. If we had an average class this year, say 30ish or so, I wouldn't worry too much. But right now PSU does not have an average class in terms of numbers. In terms of the quality of recruits, we're ok, but not numbers. If we don't start picking up more quality recruits, we're going to end up giving scholarships to mid-major talent or guys we normally give preferred walk-on status too. If we keep up that trend for multiple years, we could be headed down the road of the early 2000s and no one wants to see that. Personally, I'm not pressing the panic button just yet, but my hand keeps getting closer and closer to it.

  6. If we keep up that trend for multiple years, we could be headed down the road of the early 2000s

    Dave, I think that's our point, one off year isn't going to plunge us into another 'dark years' kind of time, no one needs to panic yet. Now what worries me is in the next couple seasons it will be the end for Paterno and there will be a transition lag that may effect recruiting. It could get worse if the entire coaching staff (or most if them) are turned over by either retirement or getting let go. It's a murky near future for PSU.

  7. Galen,

    My point exactly!

    If we had a good class this year, it would help buoy the upcoming transition. One of the major draws for recruits is the chance to play for a legend in Paterno. Once that is gone, having a major draw like lots of talent so we're a contender would really help. Otherwise, there is going to be a lot of negative recruiting (it seems to be going on now) and tentativeness about for play for PSU post-Paterno. Of course having a head coach and Offensive Coor. that actually goes on the recruiting trail could help counter balance this.

  8. Dave, now you're changing your point. We weren't talking about the eventual transition of power or that kind of situation. 2011 isn't the last recruiting class ever in the history of Penn State football. But that's what you're portraying it as. Look at the last five years of recruiting, and tell me that a mediocre 2011 class will crush the entire program.

    But back to our original discussion of running backs specifically... you keep bringing up my mentions of Beachum and Green, but then you act like Curtis Dukes and Silas Redd don't even exist. Those will be the guys who will start in the 2012-2014 era.

    And the constant referencing that you "question my understanding" of recruiting is beginning to sound trollish, by the way. If you understand so much more than I do about recruiting, you would also understand that Redd and Dukes offer a fantastic pair of running backs for the next four years, if not five with Redd. And if Penn State can't recruit two more running backs that are starting-worthy in that time, then that's a much deeper problem than what you're talking about.

    YOu can argue with me all you want. That's why sports are fun. But please don't act like a troll, just trying to push buttons with people.

  9. At least you've finally came around to my point. In getting there I pointed out that your previous statements were incorrect and you were bringing into your commentary items that didn't make any sense. What other conclusion am I supposed to come to than the fact that you didn't understand the process of recruiting? That's not being a troll or pushing buttons, that's pointing out a fact. You might not like that, but it is what it is. your last post I see you've come around to understanding recruiting and the problem at hand, even if you share more optimism about this situation than many others. (See, I'm an objective evaluator who gives credit where credit is due) We'll have Redd and Dukes for this time period. This is good but your also right that we'll need more. But because of the overall lack of success in the upcoming recruiting class to date, I'm not sure that deeper problems are *not* on the horizon, if those problems are not already here. The numbers don't lie. We are behind in our verbal commits, even if we are being selective and unless this ship gets righted soon, we're in for a class we're we're giving way to many scholarships to second rate prospects.

    So, am I still a troll? Just wondering...

  10. I did not accuse you of being a troll because you were disagreeing with me. I said you were acting like a troll by using the same phrasing, "question your understanding," even though I had explained to you my side of the discussion. Even my first sentence of the reply was that you didn't have to frame your comment in such a snarky way. I admitted right away that I was in fact wrong on lumping Royster into the equation. But when I defended my use of Green and Beachum in the conversation, it didn't seem to phase you. To portray recruiting as a black and white topic told me right off that you yourself were lacking the very understanding that I supposedly didn't posses.

    I wasn't the one who started this conversation in such a negative tone. I am always happy to get into these discussions, and defend my opinion, even admit when I'm wrong, as I did this time. I would love to keep this conversation going about what we THINK Penn State should do, and why. But if you just keep firing back with the equivalent of "Well, your stupid!" then I have no use for it.