In the next three weeks college athletic directors across the country will be checking and double checking to make sure that their fax machines are well stocked with toner and paper and that the phone lines are in working order. Because February 6th is College Football's National Signing Day.
The Recruiting season - it's crazy - fans get all riled up over who goes where and star rankings and the stats and such of little 18 year old kids - as always it's a competition - albeit 100% virtual.
A "good" recruiting class can turn around a struggling program and give the fans some "hope". In the winter of (our discontent) 2004-05 things were pretty bleak at PSU. The team had ended on an "up" note by defeating michigan state handily, at home, knocking the spartans out of a bowl bid - but it had been a long and torturous five years - and then - this little kid from Maryland changes everything - just by picking up a baseball cap. #1 recruit, Derrick Williams, picks "The University of Penn State" - he was milking every nano-second of drama. Williams announced his choice, live, on ESPN - I was at work (no tv) so I streamed in the audio on the one PC we had in the office - I shouted, stood up and started galloping around the room - the support staff has serious concerns about my sanity. But that little spark was just what Penn State (especially the fans) needed to get back on track. Things haven't been perfect since then (and neither has DW), but it was definitely a turn in the right directions.
A "great" recruiting class can instill some temporary pride - but be a total bust on the field. We have our own stories of recruiting regret - but EDSBS has a fine tale, recounting the career of one Xavier Lee.
There is, of course, no way to predict who will be great in any particular program - if you do choose PSU (and the PSU way) I'll be your fan forever - but then I look at kids to who snubbed PSU and I don't wish them well (I'm small in that way) - but I remember their names and I follow their careers -
Personally, I'm happy with a class of 4 and 3 star players - generally, it has shown that they have talent which just hasn't been fully realized yet - 3 star Paul Posluszny would be an example, as would 4 star Sean Lee. But it still hurts to see other teams (especially the ones with craptastic records and reputations, such as ND, Miami, Pitt, FSU) getting 4 to 8 kids in the top 100 while PSU gets 2 (all linebackers, all the time).
One player in particular has caught the attention of, well, everyone - his high school, camp, and post season play have cemented his spot atop the national rankings - and he grew up in PSU's backyard - but it's doubtful that he'll choose PSU. Oh well - Joe would just make him a tight end anyway.
With that I present those who have chosen Penn State - The State of PSU's recruiting - is, currently, as follows:
TE, 4*, Mark Wedderburn, Springfield, PA, 6-5/235 - Good height and size - he's a receiving TE - needs more experience blocking.
S, 4*, D'Anton Lynn, Celina, TX, 6-1/177 - Texas? really? - Yup - although there has been some concern that he might "decommit" - he's still on the list.
DE, 4*, Jack Crawford, Richland, NJ, 6-6/250 - New Jersey? really? actually - no - he's from London, England. He's been playing football for a year - but he's done quite well for himself (receiving over 10 scholarship offers - including tosu, um, bc and ru).
DT, 3*, Pete Massaro, Newtown Square, PA, 6-4/245 - Standout from Southeastern PA. He had some troubles with injuries this season - but he, reportedly, has the height and frame required to excel.
RB, 4*, Michael Shaw, Trotwood, OH , 6-0/187 - speedy and strong - weakness is blocking.
OT, 4*, Deon'tae Pannell, Beverly Hills, MI 6-5/305 - recruited for offense, he has a quickness that may land him on the other side of the ball.
RB, 4*, Brandon Beachum, Youngstown, OH, 5-11/220 - Beachum was a highly sought after RB - He joins his teammate, Michael Zordich, in the class of '08.
DT, 2*, James Terry, Wilmington, DE , 6-2.5/294 - a standout his sophomore year, recording 10 sacks. Terry attended PSU football camps.
WLB, 4*, Mike Yancich, Washington, PA, 6-2/219 - another western PA star linebacker - they used to grow quarterbacks there - I guess they all got the memo that JoePa switches them all to Defense anyway. Top 5 in his position. He was a big hit (har har) at the All Stars game.
MLB, 4*, Michael Mauti, Mandeville, LA, 6-2/220 - Brother is a walk-on for the Lions - Participated in PSU football camp and fell in love with the place. Seems to have the same attitude and proclivity of a Pittsburgh raised linebacker - even if he is from Cajun Country.
MLB, 4*, Michael Zordich, Youngstown, OH , 6-2/210 - So, yes, of course, he is the son of PSU (and NFL) great, Michael Zordich. But he's proven himself on the field and is ranked nationally in the top 5 at Middle Linebacker.
OG, 4*, Matt Stankiewitch, Schuylkill Haven, PA, 6-4/290 - the first kid to commit to PSU - he's a top 10 ranked Guard with mad blocking skills (especially for the running game).
So, there you have it - PSU's current recruiting forecast - One thing is blatantly obvious - Michael was a popular name in the late 80s and (yes) early 90s.