Penn State Announces Football Signees

Audio/Story/Video posted February 10, 2012 in Sports, CommRadio by Patrick Woo

Penn State football officially announced a class of 18 players on National Signing Day.

"Penn State is Penn State" was the theme from the coaches made available to the media. That statement came from defensive coordinator Ted Roof, defensive line coach Larry Johnson and again from running backs coach Charles London.

In this video: Ted Roof | Video by: Patrick Woo

“Penn State is a storied program,” said quarterback signee Steven Bench. “It’s always going to be good.  It always has been.”

That was enough for Bench to commit to Penn State, he said.

Interview with Steven Bench | Conducted by: Patrick Woo

Penn State's recruiting took a hit from the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal that led to a change in leadership in football and administration. In the last three months, Penn State saw recruits like Tommy Schutt, Jarron Jones and Skyler Mornhinweg decommit and sign with other schools.

“It’s all about who wants to be here,” Johnson said.

In this video: Larry Johnson | Video by: Patrick Woo

Johnson is the leading recruiter and took on the responsibility of keeping the class together when Bill O’Brien was hired as the new head coach and hired six new assistants. There was a new challenge to selling Penn State.

“It was challenging,” Johnson said. "But Penn State is going to still be high in academics, get the right players that want to win in the classroom off the field and compete on the field.”

"This is about Penn State," O'Brien said via teleconference. "I believe that we've got to get out there and talk about Penn State."

Four-star wide receiver Eugene Lewis remained committed amid the scandal and believes Penn State can move forward.

“Everybody gets a second chance,” he said. “Even though all that stuff’s happened, I want to be part of the people that help the program. I’m very happy to be a Nittany Lion and I’m ready to get started.”

Interview with Eugene Lewis | Conducted by: Patrick Woo

Despite the criticisms of the Penn State signing class, the coaches are more than content.

“This 18 that signed in this class, they’re going to be special kids,” London said. “They took a step, a leap of faith.”

“This is the total package here,” Roof added.

“Great education, great football" newly signed tight end Brent Wilkerson said of Penn State. “At Penn State, if you do the right thing, you’re going to walk out with a degree and you’re going to play some great football.”

Interview with Brent Wilkerson | Conducted by: Patrick Woo

Patrick Woo is a sophomore majoring in Broadcast Journalism and is a ComRadio Sports Director. To contact him, email pww5053@psu.edu.