Recruiting Wrap-Up: Week Three
Penn State picked up their first loss of the season Saturday night, when they fell to the Central Florida Golden Knights 34-31. Despite the loss and a poor defensive performance, recruits in attendance got to experience a Beaver Stadium Whiteout under the lights.
Before taking a look at the prospects that made the trip to Happy Valley, there’s one quick note to make about a 2014 target mentioned in last week’s recap.
All indications show that Penn State is no longer recruiting DB Dravon Henry (Aliquippa, Pennsylvania). That leaves Montae Nicholson (Gateway, Pennsylvania) as the lone defensive back left on the Nittany Lions’ board. Look for Henry to stay close to home and end up at Pitt.
With that said, let’s take a look at a few more 2014 prospects that are garnering some increased attention from Penn State. All rankings are courtesy of Rivals.com
LB Christian Lezzer- 6’1 215 lbs. (Clearfield High, Pennsylvania)
Lezzer is currently committed to Boston College, but with the underwhelming lack of depth at the linebacker position, it’s critical that Bill O’Brien brings in at least one more in this class. He doesn’t hold a Penn State offer yet, but reportedly made the trip to State College this weekend.
It appears that among the three additional linebackers that the staff has targeted, Lezzer ranks third on their list. As we’ve seen with other Penn State targets, O’Brien typically won’t accept a commitment from Lezzer before the other two have made a decision.
LB Brandon Lee- 6’2 203 lbs. (Lawrence Central, Indianapolis, Indiana)
Of the three remaining linebacker targets, Lee is the only one to hold an offer from the Nittany Lions, illustrating that he’s at the top of the board. The 31st-ranked linebacker in the country previously had a top five consisting of Cal, Northwestern, Louisville, Oregon and Virginia Tech, before picking up the Penn State offer in August.
Penn State has a lot of work to do in order to land Lee, and the first step is getting him on campus for the Michigan game. Lee has never been to State College before, and the experience of a primetime whiteout against the Wolverines could go a long way.
LB Jason Cabinda- 6’1 220 lbs. (Hunterdon Central, Flemington, New Jersey)
Currently a Syracuse commit, Cabinda has been hearing more and more from the Nittany Lions over the past few weeks. It’s believed that the staff favors Cabinda to Lezzer, but as is the situation with Lee, O’Brien has work to do here as well.
Cabinda also holds offers from Maryland and Temple as well as a host of FCS scholarships. He projects more as an inside linebacker and the staff is looking for someone to play on the outside. That’s why Lee remains the top priority for the time being.
DL Ricky Walker- 6’2 275 lbs. (Bethel High, Hampton, Virginia)
The nation’s 216th-ranked prospect continues to hear from Penn State weekly. While Thomas Holley remains atop the staff’s wish list for the defensive line, Walker is still a viable option if Holley were to choose to go elsewhere.
The increased recent communication from Penn State over the past few weeks could be an indication that the staff doesn’t feel great about their chances with Holley. Or it could be because of the lack of production from the current crop of defensive linemen. We’ll find out shortly. Expect Walker to make an official visit for the Michigan game.
2014 Commits take in action
The following are confirmed commitments for the class of the 2014 that were in attendance for Saturday night’s clash with the Knights:
DB Marcus Allen- 6’1 187 lbs. (Wise High School, Upper Marlboro, Maryland)
RB Mark Allen- 5’7 185 lbs. (DeMatha High School, Hyattsville, Maryland)
OL Noah Beh- 6’7 245 lbs. (Scranton Prep, Scranton, Pennsylvania)
RB Nick Scott- 5’11 180 lbs. (Fairfax High School, Fairfax, Virginia)
DB Troy Vincent Jr.- 5’10 181 lbs. (Gillman High School, Baltimore, Maryland)
Top 2015 Prospects high on Penn State
There weren’t many high profile 2015 prospects in attendance Saturday night, but here’s a look at a few of the staff’s top targets that already appear to have Penn State near the top of their list:
DB Kareem Ali- 5’11 170 lbs. (Timber Creek High, Sicklerville, New Jersey)
Ali already holds eight offers and will be one of the top defensive backs in next year’s class. He’s already been to State College numerous times and is set to return for the Michigan matchup. Obviously there’s a long way to go here, but Penn State has positioned themselves nicely.
WR Van Jefferson- 6’1 166 lbs. (Ravenwood High, Brentwood, Tennessee)
Jefferson was supposed to make the trip north this weekend but was unable to because of a scheduling conflict with his high school team. His father coaches wide receivers’ for the Tennessee Titans and Jefferson appears to be staff’s top target at the wide out position.
Penn State typically hasn’t had much success recruiting the Tennessee area, but Jefferson speaks very highly of O’Brien’s offense and the way in which Allen Robinson is utilized.
OL Ryan Bates- 6’5 285 lbs. (Archbishop Wood, Warminster, Pennsylvania)
Finally, we talked about Bates last week and it appears he will be once again making the trip to Penn State this weekend, for the Nittany Lions’ contest with Kent State. The four-star prospect will be making his second trip in three weeks. If you had to put money on the first commitment for the 2015 class, Bates would be your best bet.
Matt Lawrence is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and economics. To contact him, email email@example.com.