New Penn State head coach and current New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien is working double duty this week. Not only is he trying to game-plan for this weekend’s AFC Championship Game against the Baltimore Ravens, but he's also attempting to put together Penn State’s recruiting class as National Signing Day draws closer.
The Nittany Lions currently only have 15 commitments for their 2012 class, with Skyler Mornhinweg—the only quarterback commit—reportedly still keeping his option open. As a result, O’Brien decided to shoot for the stars by going after current Pitt commit Chad Voytik, one of the top-rated signal-callers in the 2012 class.
Scout.com reported that O’Brien surprisingly offered Voytik a scholarship over the phone on Tuesday in the hopes that he could try to convince the All-American recruit to hop on board with the Nittany Lions.
Voytik has been committed to Pitt since July. Furthermore, he has made it clear that he still wants to play for the Panthers even after the departure of head coach Todd Graham and the hiring of Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst.
The 6'1'', 185-pound Tennessee native doesn't have the desired size you're looking for, but he's got a live arm and great intangibles. If you've seen some of his high school highlights, it's easy to see that he's got the potential to step into a starting role early in his career and flourish.
Due to his lack of size and because he committed to Pitt so early in the process, Voytik hasn't attracted the attention of a ton of big-time BCS powerhouses. However, he has received scholarship offers from the likes of Clemson, Louisville, Mississippi State, Syracuse, Vanderbilt and Virginia.
According to Voytik’s father, who spoke with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, his son did have a cordial conversation with O'Brien over the phone this week. While the quarterback thanked the new Penn State coach for the offer, he also made it clear to him that Pitt is the place he wants to be.
O’Brien may have swung for the fences and missed on Voytik, but at least the coach is showing that he isn’t afraid to ruffle a few feathers. In the state of Pennsylvania, no less, where the folks at Pittsburgh obviously aren't too happy that he tried to poach one of their top commits.
He also showed that he plans on going after big-name recruits, even though the Jerry Sandusky scandal is still casting a heavy shadow over the program and the school.
You have to wonder, though, what kind of message does this send to Skyler Mornhinweg?
Sure, O'Brien has every right to try to land the best possible players that he can, but Mornhinweg probably isn't too thrilled that his new coach is going out and trying to shop for a glitzier quarterback.
That certainly could be a storyline to watch in the coming weeks. Penn State can't afford to lose its three-star quarterback recruit, since the Nittany Lions already have such a thin class for 2012 as it is.
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