Penn State Recruiting

Submitted by Chi-Blue on March 4th, 2012 at 11:55 PM

So several months ago I was one of the people that thought Penn State would have a very difficult time on the recruiting trail for the next couple of years. The verdict is still far from in but they have a great start to the 2013 class if you have not noticed . . .

Christian Hackeburg - ESPNU 150, offers from almost everyone Alabama, Tenn, Florida . . .

Garrett Sickels - ESPNU 150, offers from everyone as well Stanford, Florida, Georgia, ND, OSU, Oklahoma, Alabama, Tenn, and Miami

Ross Douglas - ESPNU 150

The top TE in the country Adam Breneman also ESPNU150 will be announcing this Friday and smart money is on Penn State claiming a big national target. Again, there is a long time left till NSD but this recruiting is better than I think almost anyone gave them a chance to have this early after all the problems they have had. I think this is Great News that they have had this kind of success and hopefully they can continue to do so.



March 5th, 2012 at 12:00 AM ^

The ESPU 150 isn't out yet, those 150's mean they are on the watch list, which is more like a top 300 or so.  And I believe those are all Pennsylvania kids, which they would probably get anyway.  Where it will hurt them is in out of state players,


March 5th, 2012 at 12:06 AM ^

Actually none of them are Pennsylvania kids, OH, NJ and VA. 

That said, I don't know why people thought they'd do poorly in recruiting.  They are a major program in a major conference who just hired a coach from a very successful and popular NFL team.  Sure, they had the scandal, but they cleaned house.  Penn State is a big name, and although these commits aren't from PA, Breneman is and they'll likely get commits from a lot of the top PA kids, as well as talent from MD, and the Northeast, as well as Ohio kids that Urbs and Hoke don't want.  They'll be fine.


March 5th, 2012 at 12:33 AM ^

By my count, there are 45 recruits from Big Ten states in the Rivals 250. Not all of those recruits are going to be going to Michigan and Ohio State. Based on positions of need, those two schools don't have the scholarships, and those kids need to go somewhere. Personally, I'd rather those kids stay in the Big Ten. Ohio State usually recruits PA pretty decently. If Penn State can recruit well and keep some of that talent in state and be a second tier program, it'll be great for us. 

There's also the fact that O'Brien is a new coach trying to start something new at that program. He hasn't coached a single game. I want to see how he does in the recruiting game after a season at Happy Valley. I also want to see him put together a couple strong classes. 

I can't say I'm not impressed though. I don't think they finished their class well, but he's gotten off to a good start. I've also heard good things about changes they're making. It looks like Penn State is coming into the 21st century. 

To sum, I'll start worrying if O'Brien can do this consistently as well as make it translate to the field (I almost said pitch, I've watched too much soccer this weekend).

Marley Nowell

March 5th, 2012 at 12:02 AM ^

With everything that went down and a relatively unknown coach who got a late start I am surprised to see them land top recruits this early in the process.  Hopefully Urban doesn't flip them all like he did with PSU's last class.


March 5th, 2012 at 12:04 AM ^

I never believed that only because no sanctions have been applied to the school that would hamper football. The people that were responsible or even remotely connected to the child rape allowing have all been dismissed and they made a great coaching hire.

The only thing that should stop kids from going to Penn State is if they have a Michigan offer.


March 5th, 2012 at 12:09 AM ^

I also have a tough time buying that most college football recruits look at something like this scandal and turn away from it. They care about football and Penn State has been one of the schools consistently good at football and sending players to the NFL. 


March 5th, 2012 at 12:23 AM ^

since they're in Ohio's backyard and have a top level program, not to mention the fact that they play in the same division.

I really wish this wasn't the case, I would love to root against PSU football, based on the kind of corruption and culture surrounding their program for the last couple decades.

Ron Utah

March 5th, 2012 at 12:27 AM ^

I have to admit, I'm surprised at their early success too, but very happy.  We need to keep the B1G strong, and we need Penn State and Wiscy to at least challenge ohio every year in the Legends division.

Just like we need MSU, Nebraska, and Iowa (to a lesser degree) to stay strong enough to make our wins significant.

Leaders And Best

March 5th, 2012 at 12:30 AM ^

Right now the Legends division is much tougher (Michigan, Nebraska, MSU, & Iowa) than the Leaders division.  If PSU can return to being an elite program, it could shift in the other direction and put more pressure on Ohio to be perfect to make the B1G Champ game.  As they say, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.


March 5th, 2012 at 12:40 AM ^

With an NFL guy like they hired, the question shouldn't be "Can he land highly rated recruits?" but "Can he spot which high school players will turn into good college players?"

Charlie Weis knew how to coach just as much as O'Brien (especially on offense) and landed a ton of highly rated classes, but he couldn't scout worth a shit.  Even Pete Carroll's teams took a dip a few years after guys like Orgeron and Kiffin (his top recruiters/scouts) left his staff. 

With no track record to speak of, it will probably be quite a while before we have any indication what kind of job O'Brien is really doing at PSU.


March 5th, 2012 at 12:52 AM ^

IMO, it's more can he cultivate the talent that he brings in. Yes, Charlie Weis brought in the recruits, but I don't think he took them and made them better players. College football isn't just bringing in players and teaching them schemes. You need to develop them physically as well as fundamentally. I'm not sold on Weis as a head coach.

I think the problem with Carroll wasn't that he wasn't recruiting as good, but because his coaches were leaving (less continuity, trouble finding guys as good). I believe that's part of the reason Meyer was getting frustrated at Florida as well. 

So yeah, that's what I want to see O'Brien do. I want to see how he uses the talent and cultivates it.


March 5th, 2012 at 1:09 AM ^

Just about every D-1 college football program has a bunch of guys who totally know what they are doing on the coaching staff. 

The difference between Denard Robinson and John Brantley or Garrett Gilbert isn't coaching.  One guy is just better than the others.  Greg Davis didn't get booted when he had Young and McCoy.  Nobody doubted Meyer when Tebow and Smith were running his offense.  Even Greg Robinson totally knew what he was going when Derrick Johnson was playing linebacker for him at Texas.

The guys who were actually good, Weis put in the NFL at an impressive pace (just look at the draft classes shortly after he arrived at ND).  Same goes for Larry Coker at Miami.  The difference between Golden Tate and Duval Kamara (two equally ranked prospects in ND's 2007 class) has nothing to do with coaching.  Trey Burke was good the second he landed on campus.

The list goes on and on.  Coaching (as in telling guys what to do and calling plays) has infinitely less impact on a team's success than the average fan thinks.  The sign of a good coach comes when you look at a recruiting class 3-5 years after the fact and go "Wow, there are a load of great players in that group."


March 5th, 2012 at 1:38 AM ^

those high school kids that the showergate will have little effect to the football program. NCAA has been quite  but the investigation of Fed on the university just started. The media has been silent because Joe Pa just passed away but things will heat up again once Sandusky's trial is over and the Fed's investigation is near completion. Given the scale of the scandel, it will take a quite few years before NCAA to handout its punishment. It may not has as big an effect as of now but things can take a sudden turn before you know.  


March 5th, 2012 at 4:32 AM ^

PSU will be fine. They have the facilities, tradition, and a massive following. Having a younger and more energetic coach should give the program that shot in the arm that they needed. Once the Sandusky trial is over the negative press will go away. I hardly hear anything about it anymore.


March 5th, 2012 at 6:55 AM ^

Nothing good for Penn State should be celebrated. I hope they have to sign 25 two stars each year. I disagree with the mentality of wanting our rivals strong. No. No way. I want Michigan to crush them all and rule with an iron fist atop the B1G. Do I need to put up the video of PSU fan reaction at Happy Valley when The Horror occurred? How soon we forget how much we are hated and despised by all in this conference.


March 5th, 2012 at 9:15 AM ^

I want Michigan to crush them all, too, but it would be nice if Michigan crushed Penn State AFTER they beat Alabama.  Or AFTER Ohio State beat Miami.  Or AFTER Wisconsin beat Oregon.  Otherwise, we'll just be a big fish in a small pond.


March 5th, 2012 at 9:28 AM ^

They should have kept their mouths shut...I have PSU relatives and they were also gloating after The Horror...we beat them a few weeks later and they just ended up looking like chumps.  We have to be bigger than that - rather crush them when they are good.


March 5th, 2012 at 8:35 AM ^

Amen.  The Sandusky trial has yet to begin and what little new news we do know makes it look like the athletic department facilities were that monster's personal playground.  And I still don't believe that beloved Joe-Pa didnt know exactly what Sandusky was when he took an early "retirement" in 1998, right after the intial botched investigation.

Sorry guys I can't sign up for the enemy of my enemy is my friend thing here cause they're in the same division as OSU. So PSU gets no polite applause and cheer-cheer from me.  I hope they get nothing of value and have to live with being shitty for quite a while.  Cause i think they placed being good above that of the lives of defenseless children.


March 5th, 2012 at 9:22 AM ^

As most of you have stated, it is important for Big Ten Teams to be successful in non-conference play.  I have always been a fan of the B1G (minus Ohio and MSU).  I am tired of hearing how the SEC is the far superior conference.  Not to mention, I don't want to play Ohio 2 games in a row every year.

Mr Miggle

March 5th, 2012 at 12:37 PM ^

No f'n way I'm going to celebrate PSU football bouncing right back after their scandal. And as far as cleaning house goes, I don't see that either. Hiring an outside coach would have been good for the program in any case. Rather than clean house in the way most expected, O'Brien kept their top two assistants, pretty much what would have happened under normal circumstances.

Steve in PA

March 5th, 2012 at 2:40 PM ^

He's going to get 1 year of decent recruiting, then the doubters will start doubting.  The B10 is not a place for on the job training for a headcoach.  I don't even think it should be a second job for a head coach.

The local homers have bought in, but I'm so much looking forward to next season to see tears in their eyes once again.

...Now the basketball coach that PSU hire, he's the real deal.  With football down, if he can recruit decently PSU is gonna make some noise in the next few years.  I can see them being about where Indiana is presently which is a vast improvement for PSU.


March 6th, 2012 at 11:49 AM ^

It depends. A major point of emphasis of development/success of a coach in the B10 is developing the recruiting inroads.  A lot of ground in that front is covered by the assistant coaches and support staff, which I am sure PSU has tons of. Players can commit to a headcoach, but if your position coach is suspect or soft no one will player for you.

Secondly, being a head coach at a B10 program is 75/50 on field and off field dedication (not a typo). Player development more than schematic advantage will usually win out in the long haul (Mattison is better at both). Think the biggest challenge yet to be answered by Obrien is whether he can develop the talent he stockpiles into the scheme he envisions.