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.

With Gaia's commitment, speculation now rises as to the rest of the class, especially as it pertains to the defensive line. Three defensive tackles are already on board, though I expect at least one to switch sides in college (most likely Jamil Pollard, but possibly Jarron Jones as well). All three can play on either side, so the staff may be signing the best linemen they can and waiting until they get on campus to decide. I expect the staff to sign another defensive tackle (likely a two-way player like Gaia) while continuing to put all of their defensive end eggs into the Noah Spence basket. Let's take a look at the breakdown so far, with some liberties taken on positioning (as mentioned, its very difficult to project some linemen):

DT - 3 (Jones, Pollard, Gaia)
TE - 2 (James, Wilkerson)
LB - 1 (William)
OL - 1 (Stanko)

In March, I projected the class would like like this:


I'm sticking to that projection, with the lower end of each range the likeliest. With two TEs already on board, I'd bet we're done there unless FL TE Kent Taylor wants to commit, in which case we'll find room. Similarly, with the DL, I expect 1-2 more commits before we close the doors. The rest of the positions are wide open still, and it remains anyone's guess as to who will be the lucky few to sign with the Nittany Lions in February.

Recruiting News - Offers, Visits, and Other Information
  • Fresh commit Brian Gaia talks to local media outlet, and has some pretty good things to say about Penn State.
  • The Collegian catches up with Jarron "Soft Verbal" Jones.
  • Barton Simmons of 247Sports has a way-too-early ranking of some of the early movers in the Class of 2012 recruiting scene. I'm not sure I agree with us being ranked first in the conference, but we're certainly in the Top 3, so I guess this is good news.
  • In other rankings news, mGo's weekly ranking puts Penn State at fourth (third in actual conference teams). They have Michigan at the top which I don't agree with, but there is no denying the fact that Brady Hoke is killing it on the trail. He will be a tough competitor in future recruiting battles.
  • Also at mGo, TomVH has a weekly update on some Michigan prospects. There is little in the way of direct conflict, but one thing to keep an eye on is OH RB Bri'onte Dunn's decision. Currently, Dunn is an Ohio State commit, but has reopened his recruitment in the wake of the mess that is Columbus. Michigan appears to be in good shape if Dunn decommits. Should that happen, there is no reason why OSU wouldn't go after the third (or maybe even second) best RB in Ohio, who just happens to be top PSU target William Mahone.
  • Finally from mGo, their recurring series "Dear Diary" took a look at some serious data this week, covering recruiting, in-state talent, and more. If you liked the BHGP posts from last week, you'll like these as well. Data are fun!
  • The first Rivals100 is out. There is a distinct possibility that this will be the last time I link to a Rivals story (except maybe some rankings later on) as I feel that Scout and 247 are on a different level than Rivals (and ESPN doesn't even count). So take Rivals with a grain of salt. Jarron Jones comes in at #67 while many other PSU recruits (Noah Spence (13), Devin Fuller (37), Chris Muller (69)) made the cut.
  • MD OL Greg Pyke names some early leaders ($), and Penn State makes the cut. 
  • JC Shurburtt talks about what we already knew - Michigan is on fire.
Everything Else - Fun Links, Non-2012 Recruits, and Anything Else of Note
  • At a local Pittsburgh bar last weekend I met and spoke with Tom Bradley. I felt like a schoolgirl meeting a Jonas brother. Needless to say, Bradley was an extremely nice guy who went out of his way to talk football (among other things) with my buddy and I. Further, before he left, he again stopped by to shoot the bull with us for a few more minutes. I never had anything bad to say about Bradley before, and I certainly don't now. A great guy all around. 
  • Michigan kept the good times rolling, this time getting a commitment from Class of 2013 QB Shane Morris.
  • Michigan WR Daryl Stonum is in whatever the Brady Hoke equivalent of Joe Paterno's doghouse after his second DUI.
  • Indiana's epic beatdown at the hands of Wisconsin last year ranks sixth on the list of the most points allowed against a conference opponent since 1960. (Notice the two different Houston-Tulsa games on that list as well.)
  • Former five-star linebacker Dorian Bell is transferring from Ohio State to Pitt, where he played high school ball (at Gateway HS). Bell was suspended for the 2011 season for an undisclosed transgression. If new coach Todd Graham can get Bell on track, he could be a monster linebacker. 
  • If you haven't picked up yet, I'm kind of a stats nerd. Numbers intrigue me, especially when attached to something I enjoy (like college football, or sports in general). Why I became a lawyer, I don't know, but the math geek in me loves articles like this, entitled "The Joy of Stats." 
  • Iowa has offered a high school freshman quarterback that has never played varsity football yet. Caring certainly is creepy this time.

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