May 20, 2011

Friday Recruitin' Feels Cheated And Has Its Bags Packed

Thanks to Blogger, last week's Babe was given short shrift and she does not deserve that. So, since this may or may not be the last time that Friday Recruitin' appears on a Blogger blog (at least this Blogger blog), Ms. Zooey Deschanel is going to be our babe, again. And since what I wrote about her was tragically lost to eternity, we'll simply give you her gorgeous photograph, and leave you to determine what words need to be said about the Most Beautiful Woman in the World.

Friday Recruitin' was initially slated to be lighter fare, as PSU had not picked up any recruits and the future was looking solid, yet lengthy.

Then, like a shooting star in a dark night, offensive lineman JJ Denman appeared on the horizon and laid all of our mid-week fears to rest. That gives Penn State three "official" offensive linemen for the Class of 2012 in Denman, Brian Gaia, and Anthony Stanko. I'm not convinced that either Jamil Pollard or Jarron Jones' future ISN'T on the offensive line, but until then, we'll count the number at three. We projected 4-5 offensive linemen in this class, so we're getting towards the end of a great haul in the trenches. Denman is very good friends with PA OL Chris Muller, and Muller was recently visited by a certain redheaded coach, so don't be surprised is Muller is the next, and last, offensive linemen to commit to Penn State. The remaining targets (that PSU has a reasonable-to-good chance of landing) include, in the order I would prefer them: Muller, Patrick DeStefano (see below), Adam Bisnowaty, Greg Pyke, and Blake (brother of Brad) Bars. One of them will be a future Lion, maybe two, but it's almost time for the skill position recruits to come aboard.

So with apologies to the readers and a "Thanks for slightly more than nothing" to Blogger, here is this week's Friday Recruitin' update.

Recruiting News - Offers, Visits, and Other Information
  •'s Phil Grosz (via an Allentown blog piece) thinks that OH RB Will Mahone will eventually pick Penn State, which is nice. Try to ignore the (hopefully) typo at the bottom of the article that says that inexperienced Alex Mateas and Khamrone Kolb are the frontrunners for the RG position.
  • MA DB Armani Reeves named a top four, with a top two that are ahead of the others. "'My favorite two are Michigan and Penn State, and following behind them are Stanford and Boston College.' Reeves said, adding that the Wolverines and Nittany Lions have a decided edge." Reeves' best friend is PSU commit Cam Williams. Just sayin'.
  • A lot of good information in Steve Wiltfong's National Notes about Penn State.
  • A fluff piece on NY DL Jarron Jones, a soft verbal commit to PSU, from his hometown. But this Detroit News piece is a little concerning, as Jarron's mother says that "Jarron made the decision [to commit to PSU] without discussing it" with his mom or dad, and that she is encouraging him to see other places.
  • SC OL Patrick DeStefano is holding a press conference ($) on Monday to announce his college choice. He is thought to be a heavy Clemson lean, but some think that Penn State could surprise here. No one expected to see Anthony Zettel commit, so a DeStefano commitment wouldn't be unprecedented, but I would be very surprised if he picked the Lions. It's not a huge loss, either, as PSU is said to be high on a few other four-star or higher OL recruits (including the silent verbal alluded to above).
  • has finally reached the Top 5 in their countdown of the top PA recruits in the Class of 2012. RB Drew Harris lands at the No. 5 spot ($), and while Penn State isn't completely out of it for Harris, most signs point to Harris heading south for college (UNC is said to be the current leader).
  • Cory James of FOS has a nice position-by-position recap ($) of the Class of 2012 as it relates to Penn State so far, and it matches up pretty well with what we've been saying here.
  • mGo's Weekly Rankings keep PSU at fourth (third in conference members). Since nothing new (as of post time of the post in question) has happened in Happy Valley, I'm OK with this.
  • mGo's Wednesday Recruitin' once again doesn't have much crossover, but there is a nice rundown of the expected makeup of the remainder of UM's class.
  • Ohio State adds a three-star tight end ($ - info in header). Michigan adds a four-star CB, and continue their blazing run. I don't know what Brady Hoke is offering ($180K?), but at this point, he could probably sell a ketchup Popsicle to a woman in white gloves.
Everything Else - Fun Links, Non-2012 Recruits, and Anything Else of Note
  • Mike Mauti has earned a spot on the cover of stat nerd guru Phil Steele's much anticipated 2011 College Football Preview (magazine DROPS on June 7). Mauti can be seen on the inset of the East Coast distribution cover, though no Penn State player appears on the Big Ten distribution cover.
  • The Pittsburgh Post Gazette ran an interesting story a couple of weeks ago (sorry!) showing that there are only two high schools in the country that have produced four (or more, I presume) NFL first-round draft picks, and one is Aliquippa H.S. outside of Pittsburgh. The more interesting fact is that "Aliquippa's high school enrollment is about 270 (grades 9-12). Long Beach Poly with an enrollment of 4,650 is 17 times bigger than Aliquippa."
  • As if you didn't already know, Penn State has some funny people.

Follow LBU on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to by Email

May 19, 2011

PSU at Northwestern set for Primetime

2010 Penn State vs Northwestern-62 This is not shocking, but Penn State will not kickoff a game in primetime under the Beaver Stadium lights in 2011. The Nittany Lions will, however, do just that in Evanston against Northwestern:
The Nittany Lions and Wildcats will meet on Oct. 22 in Evanston, with kick set for 7:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. CT at Ryan Field. It will be the first prime time match-up between Penn State and Northwestern.

The contest is the Nittany Lions' first announced kick time for the upcoming season. Penn State will be playing at least one regular season night game for the 12th consecutive season.
This isn't to say there won't be games played at night in Beaver Stadium. It's just that none of them will specifically kickoff after dinner time.

Follow LBU on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to by Email

Don’t Pitt on Me: The Argument Against Renewing the “Rivalry”

Incoming Pitt head coach Todd Graham recently commented during a meeting with the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association that he "would actually love to play that game [Pitt-Penn state] in the future." Of course this gets debated almost every year to the point that it's like kicking a dead horse. So…. let's roll the old mare over and start kicking some more. In part one or our riveting point-counterpoint series, I take on Jeff on the topic of renewing the Pittsburgh – Penn State "rivalry."

Last year I SOUNDLY1 defeated Tim in the start/bench Newsome debate and I started off with a SNL reference so this year I'm going with Even Stevphen. Hey if there's one thing ESPN has taught2 me it's the guy that yells the loudest wins the argument; and I like to yell.

May 18, 2011

Penn State Lands Eighth Commitment: PA OL JJ Denman, Come On Down

Penn State picked up its 8th Class of 2012 commitment on Wednesday when PA OL JJ Denman committed to the Nittany Lions ($ - info in header).

Denman is a four-star prospect on both and and will join the Lions from Pennsbury H.S. In full disclosure, I am a former student of the Pennsbury School District, so this commitment pleases me greatly, but Denman is also a solid offensive lineman that continues the great class that Penn State has put together.

In addition to his four stars, Denman had a relatively huge offer list, including (but not limited to) Miami, Michigan, MSU, Pitt, South Carolina, and (most importantly) Wisconsin.

We'll have more on JJ in the Friday Recruitin' post, but until then...ladies and gentlemen, JJ Denman.

Follow LBU on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to by Email

LBU Video: OMG, You Mean The Latest Recruiting News Is Only a Phone Call Away? Get Out!!

Life really did suck before the advent of the Internet, and we have the video evidence to prove it. This particular commercial I found from my DVD copy of the 1991 PSU-Cincinnati game provides a stark reminder of just how fortunate we are to be only a few mouse clicks away from gathering information about JoePa's latest press conferences or to keep tabs on how the current recruiting class is shaping up. Twenty years ago, you had to dial a 1-900 number to obtain the very same information that we take for granted these days, and you paid a hefty price of $1.25 per minute in order to do so.

Think about how often your average PSU fan goes to Scout, Rivals, or 247 Sports. Now, imagine said average fan dialing said 900 number just as often...yeah, we're talking about quite the phone bill being racked up. For those of you who are old enough to recall 900 numbers, consider this a whiff of nostalgia. Also, if any brave soul out there is willing to dial the 900 number that the commercial flashes at the end, we would love to hear your story about whatever phone sex hotline that number probably leads to.

Follow LBU on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to by Email

Linkbacker U. is Measuring for Drapes

For the past few days, mostly on Twitter, you've been seeing some not-so-cryptic Tweets from me about blogging platforms. The topic of WordPress has come up. And as you might imagine, there is going to be a change around here in the very near future. I would say keep your eyes peeled this weekend, but that would be giving away too much.

Oops! Darn, now the cat's out of the bag.

Anyway, there won't be any more details about what will happen. Not yet, at least. But I can promise you that LBU is movin' on up.

2010 Penn State vs Illinois-1
This man has little use for folks like us.
We don't blame him.
And now, the linkage...

Genaro Armas reported for the AP how Joe Paterno has little use for... um... anything nowadays. But especially when anything includes interacting with the media.

Matt Fortuna wrote this weekend that Pitt head coach Todd Graham would like to see the Penn State vs Pitt rivalry restored. You will hear more on this from LBU, I assure you.

The Patriot News's Sara Granim reported on Austin Scott's claim that the dismissed rape charges brought against him were part of a conspiracy. While the word "conspiracy" automatically makes anything sound like it came from someone wearing a tin-foil hat, read this article. There's nothing crazy about what's in it.

Kevin McGuire noted that 71% of Big Ten football fans prefer a 9-game playoff.

50-Yard Lion blogger Mike Justus offered up a little optimism (I like to call it 'sanity') about Penn State's "Under the Radar" label bestowed by the media already this year.

May 17, 2011

Brandon Ware to Transfer, PSU's Tweet Production Cut by Half

2010 Blue-White Game-11
Buh-bye Brandon, if only your football production
matched your Twitter production...
Oh my, Brandon Ware. The redshirt junior-to-be has been one of the best talents Penn State fans have never seen. It now looks like it will stay that way... unseen. Well, that is, unseen in a Penn State uniform.

Yes, you've likely heard the news first reported by Sean Fitz at Lions247 that Ware is on his way out the door.
Following the spring semester, Ware was deemed academically ineligible. Due to a new NCAA rule, he would have to sit out the entire 2011 season should he choose to remain at Penn State. Sources say he will likely seek a transfer with the aid of the Nittany Lions staff.
If it's true, and the staff is trying to find him a better home, I'm not sure this isn't he best situation possible for Ware.

Bob Flounders wrote today that Ware texted the Patriot News, that he would be "transferring for personal reasons. I don't know where yet, though." In the Flounders write-up, we're once again reminded of what could have been:
The 6-3 Ware, a member of the 2008 Pennsylvania Big 33 team, redshirted in 2008 and did not play much during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. He broke his right foot early in 2009 and was frequently criticized by head coach Joe Paterno for being overweight and for his academic approach.
Not much else is being floated out there right now. We all know Ware's story. Frankly, it became tiresome a long time ago. It's also difficult to keep feeling sorry for a kid that has gotten so many opportunities. He doesn't care what we think. He shouldn't care. But if simply studying hard enough to earn C's was too much for Ware, I'm not sure Penn State was the right place for him in the end.

He seems like a good kid, as do 99% of the players who have come through Happy Valley. Sometimes it just doesn't work out. Good luck to Brandon.

What's left behind

I wasn't going to get into this now, but the depth issues along the defensive line just got a smidge worse. Since Ware wasn't a big contributor--okay, okay, haha "big"--so far in his career, Penn State isn't losing proven production along the line. But with big time running games on the schedule this year, like Alabama, Nebraska, and Wisconsin, losing so much pure mass could be an issue early in the season.

This does leave open opportunities for some of the incoming true freshmen, as well as those from last year who redshirted 2010, to have time on the field right from opening day. But let's not worry about that just yet.

Follow LBU on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to by Email

May 16, 2011

Penn State's Biggest Trouble Spots for 2011, Part 2

2010 Penn State vs Northwestern-66
Silas Redd
It's that time of the year when college football offers NOTHING of substance to talk about. That's why God invented bloggers like us. This may be the ump-teenth time you've read a breakdown of what Penn State will or won't do, where it could fail or succeed. But it's still fun. Why? Because no one seems to have the same take on where the chips may fall this, umm, fall.

As mentioned last week, there are four big sections in the off-season: post-bowl (Jan-Feb), pre-spring (Feb-Mar), pre-summer (May-June), and pre-season (Aug). Usually during these inter periods it's a good time to gauge the depth chart situation. 

Today, we'll wrap up this two-parter by looking at the backup running back spot, quarterbacks (ugh!), and as one of our followers on Twitter suggested (which I'll modify a bit), the weather and schedule. I'm absolutely sure we'll have a schedule-related post in the coming weeks. But just one quick glance as the murderers row Penn State must face in 2011 will tell you that schedule could end up being the deciding factor in whether or not Penn State is playing in a top-tier bowl game.


PSU Softball Earns 2011 NCAA Tourney Berth


What a way to celebrate the inaugural season at Nittany Lion Softball Park. Penn State softball will return to the postseason for the first time in four years:
The Nittany Lions (29-22-1) will serve as hosts in the University Park Regional during the opening round of the tournament and will open against Fordham on Friday. Albany and No. 13 seed Oregon will travel to State College as the regional’s other two squads.

The 64-team tournament field is divided into 16, four-team double-elimination regionals, beginning Friday. The 16 regional winners advance to super regionals, where eight will emerge as Women’s College World Series participants.
The University Park Regional will be this weekend, May 20-22. Penn State will face Fordham, while No. 13 Oregon will take on Albany. If you're in the area, it would be really great to get out on hopefully a nice weekend to support the team and enjoy a really, really nice new ball park.

Follow LBU on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to by Email

May 14, 2011

LBU Week in Review, 5.14.11

Thanks to Blogger, this week was much more of an adventure than it needed to be.

Here's our weekly roundup of featured posts, in case you missed anything.

May 13, 2011

Friday Recruitin' Should've Posted This Morning...

*This week's post was scheduled for its normal early-morning time slot. But Blogger's spasm this week really took a hammer to everything we were trying to do the last 48 hours or so.

Jeff had this week's gal all picked out, and I'm sure as hell not going to disagree with the selection. Unfortunately, there won't be any real intro for her--though she deserves one very much so--because I'm absolutely pressed for every minute right now. Damned Friday the 13th. --Mike

Well the big news this week is the commitment of Maryland (Gilman School) lineman Brian Gaia. A three-star recruit, Gaia is a two-way player that was recruited by Larry Johnson to play defensive tackle. Gaia said that Penn State is one of a few (if not the only) schools to recruit him on the defensive side of the ball, which is the side he prefers. He also said that he grew up watching Penn State football and is thrilled to join the blue and white. As Mike from BSD pointed out, we're getting to the point where the kids we're recruiting are almost too young to remember the "Dark Years" so hopefully the worst of that era is behind us. You can view Gaia's rundown sheet here, though the videos require a subscription.

May 12, 2011

Linkbacker U Says Goodbye to the Lemonade Guy, Hello to Ali Krieger

*Apologies for re-posting this article. As you may have heard, Blogger was down for a full day, and any posts published after yesterday morning went with it.

Beauty AND athletic talent?
Be afraid world, be very afraid.
It's the offseason, that's for sure. We've covered non-issues like Pat Fitzgerald getting an extension and Jay Paterno's prowess in coaching quarterbacks so far, while others have gotten deep into the Ohio State mess (an endeavor I have neither the time nor the patience to take on). So we're left looking elsewhere for news, and this is what comes out.

UPDATE: See bottom of the post for some awesome new maps released by the University. Specifically, if you'll be visiting, or want to show some friends around, or simply want to relive some of the aspects of your college life, these maps are pretty sweet.

In Cory Giger Gets Called Out News. Boom. To his defense, Cory responded yesterday via Twitter, saying that if this particular reporter didn't know that Fitzgerald-to-PSU was big news, that's her fault.

In Adam Rittenberg News. He linked to us yesterday, so he gets his own spot today. First, he gives PSU the "schedule analysis" analysis. Second, he answers "Patrick, from Dayton" in yesterday's mail blog with perfection.

In The Best Women's World Cup News Since Brandi Chastain News. "Penn State women's soccer alumnus Ali Krieger was named to the final roster representing the United States for the 2011 World Cup. The defender is one of 21 players on the squad that will head to Germany starting June 28." #winning

May 11, 2011

Penn State's Biggest Trouble Spots for 2011, Part 1

2010 Penn State vs Youngstown State-17 A few big story lines stick out from Penn State's depth chart heading into this summer. The quarterback battle is on everyone's mind, but that's only part of what could possibly make or break the entire 2011 season. The running backs, tight ends and defensive ends are among and handful of trouble spots, though none of them are worrisome for the same reasons or to the same degree. For instance, the running backs aren't necessarily a problem, but the situation is still more unsettled than most other positions.

You know one thing that isn't all that unsettled this summer? The offensive line. Yup, that perennial message board fodder in the trenches is still getting a lot of ink, but almost because it's supposed to be a problem for Penn State practically every year. But it's not rainbows and jellybeans, either. More on that in a minute.

There are four big sections in the off-season: post-bowl (Jan-Feb), pre-spring (Feb-Mar), pre-summer (May-June), and pre-season (Aug). Usually during these inter periods it's a good time to gauge the depth chart situation. That's what I will begin today, though it was something I had originally planned for a week or two ago.

This week and next week, I'll look at a couple positions that are the most troublesome going into the summer and fall camp season. Today starts with the trenches, mainly the defensive ends, tight ends and a very specific look at the right guard position on the offensive line.


May 10, 2011

Pat Fitzgerald Signs Lengthy Contract Extension, Effectively Dashing Any Hopes of Joining PSU Staff

2010 Penn State vs Northwestern-30
Next at Penn State,
or Northwestern's long term plan?
Yesterday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Pat Fitzgerald, head coach of the Northwestern football team, was set to sign a brand new extension "in excess of seven years." Today, more details are emerging, but it appears that Northwestern is doing all they can to keep their man locked up for as long as they can. And for good reason - there is no shortage of teams out there that would love to have the 36-year old coach running their staff, one central PA school in particular.

At the outset, let me be the first to admit to being squarely on Team Fitzgerald for the future of Penn State coaching. Four months ago, I wrote an article for SBN Pittsburgh outlining the potential successors for Joe Paterno. Some will say that this issue is a "dead issue" (possibly a poor choice of words given the age of Paterno), but I think it's imperative that fans, administration, and other coaches keep an eye to the future. Paterno can't coach forever, and when his contract expires after this season, the odds are that he'll hang up his laces; then again, we've heard that story before, so who really knows what Joe will do? Regardless, it would be silly to think that the university, the athletic department, or even fans aren't thinking about the post-Joe era, even while the current-Joe era is still ongoing.

May 9, 2011

Penn State Lands Seventh Commitment From OL/DL Brian Gaia

Penn State got its seventh Class of 2012 commitment on Monday from lineman Brian Gaia out of Maryland. He had been recruited by Larry Johnson as a defensive tackle. Lions247 ($) and Scout ($) both have good coverage of Gaia, and we'll have more later this week.

Gaia is a 6'3", 285 pound two-way lineman from Gilman School in Baltimore. He held offers from Boston College, Maryland, Pitt, Virginia, and West Virginia, among others. Gaia is a three-star lineman according to and has yet to be rated by

Welcome to the fold, Brian! And Larry Johnson strikes again!

Follow LBU on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to by Email

May 7, 2011

LBU Week in Review, 5.7.11

2010 Penn State vs Northwestern-42 In sports news, it was quite a light week. In real news, well... there was that little story from Sunday night. But overall for Penn State it was your typical early-summer week. We wrapped up the NFL Draft, saw PSU hoops bring on a new face, added a dash of fire to the quarterback controversy, and finished it all off with a red-headed smile.

Here's our weekly roundup of featured posts, in case you missed anything.

May 6, 2011

Friday Recruitin' Loves Stars, Hates Brady Hoke's Linebacker Recruiting Prowess

I stumbled upon this week's Friday Recruitin' Babe accidentally; while searching IMDB for information about a completely unrelated matter, I caught a poster of one of her recent movies and I re-fell in love with her. If you're like me, you probably met her in "Superbad" but now know her as that Hollywood young starlet that isn't addicted to coke or drama. I give to you, Emma Stone. (NOTE: The 2011 Maxim Hot 100 was released recently; debate surrounded the Maxim list, but suffice it to say, you'll be seeing some of these beautiful women on Friday Recruitin' in the future).

May 5, 2011

Linkbacker U. is setting the DVR as we speak

To start off, I need to link you to some background info before I link you to some interesting analysis; it's a link within a link. OH MY GOD, IT'S LINK-CEPTION!

May 4, 2011

Trib Report: PSU Had a QB Starter Before Spring Game

2010 Penn State vs Michigan State-61
Will PSU elect to stay the course at QB?
Jay Paterno and the coaching staff could have picked a starting quarterback before the Blue-White Game, according to a report by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Penn State quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno said the staff could have identified a starter between Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden at the end of spring drills.

"We had an idea of who would start if there was a game this month," he said earlier this week, "but don`t ask me who it is, because I`m not going to tell you."
Is JayPa just messin' with the media, as his father had done with great fun for the last 50 years? Possibly, but not likely. It's tough to avoid making an even bigger deal out of this than I am right now, giving it its own post and all. But Jay did come out and stay something that he knew very well would inflame the quarterback debate for at least the rest of the summer. Ignoring this or burying it would be almost as dumb as being sensationalist about it.

Jay did offer up another intersting assessment of this spring practice:
"We were more accurate than we were in the spring of `08, and we threw the ball well that season," he said.
If the quarterbacks, AS A WHOLE, are more accurate than Daryll Clark and Pat Devlin were at this stage in 2008, that's damn impressive.

Oh, this summer is going to be fun.

Follow LBU on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to by Email

May 3, 2011

Penn State Men's Volleyball in NCAA Final Four, Starting Thursday

The 2008 championship team. Can the 2011 team recreate the magic?
For the 12th time in a row, the Penn State men's volleyball team took home the EIVA conference crown and earned an automatic berth in the 2011 NCAA tournament. It's safe to say that eastern volleyball belongs to Penn State, regardless of gender. Now the men will go for their third national championship, and with home court advantage throughout the postseason, expectations are high.

Linkbacker U. Dodges an NCAA Bullet

Leading off today is an update to a link we posted a week ago, to an eBay listing for a 2008 Big Ten Championship Rose Bowl Ring. Naturally, one gets suspicious of those kinds of sales, particularly when it's such a recent item as Penn State's conference title three years ago. After all, many of those players are still on the team now.

But fear not, Penn Staters, there won't be any scandals in Happy Valley over this bit of memorabilia, as I've been able to confirm that the ring belonged to recently-departed running back Shaine Thompson. Thompson left the team following the 2010 season, and is not currently listed on any official roster.

So no "Ring-Gate 2011." Whew...

May 2, 2011

Report: Matt Glover to Penn State

According to Robin Washut of Huskersonline, Nebraska's Rivals affiliate, Junior College player Matt Glover will sign with Penn State today. Washut broke the news on twitter. The 6'4" combo guard will have picked Penn State over Nebraska, Iowa, Utah State, and Iona. The California native will come to PSU from Sheridan CC in Sheridan, Wyoming where he averaged 11.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 3.8 APG in his freshman season.


Oh, you didn't hear? Damn it feels good to be a gangsta!

The scene along Beaver Ave in State College as news broke at about 11:45 p.m. yesterday that Osama Bin Laden was killed.
Enjoy today, fellow Americans.