Penn State Football: Should You Be Concerned About Low Big 33 Representation?

Kevin McGuireAnalyst IIMay 31, 2012

Eugene Lewis (7) is one of just three future Penn State players on this year's Big 33 Football Classic.
Eugene Lewis (7) is one of just three future Penn State players on this year's Big 33 Football Classic.

The Big 33 Football Classic is just around the corner and once again will see the top in-state prospects from Pennsylvania go against top prospects from the state of Ohio.

Penn State will have three members of the Class of 2012 suit up for Pennsylvania this year.

Linebacker Nyeem Wartman, wide receiver Eugene Lewis and defensive lineman Evan Schwan will represent Pennsylvania, while no players on Ohio's roster are preparing to play college football at Penn State.

Ohio State, as expected, has a number of players on Ohio's roster. Defensive back Najee Murray, linebacker Devan Bogard, wide receiver Frank Epitropoulos and running back Warren Ball are future Buckeyes who will represent their home state this year. No players on Pennsylvania's roster are attending Ohio State.

Pittsburgh has four players on Pennsylvania's roster and one on Ohio's roster. Temple has five players on the Big 33 roster for Pennsylvania.

It should be noted that Ohio has an in-state All-Star Game that attracts some elite talent, but the Ohio Big 33 roster is usually stacked in talent anyway. Penn State's Class of 2012 took some hits along the way in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky saga unfolding last fall, but the question should be whether or not it is any sort of concern seeing just three Penn State players in the Big 33 game.

The idea is that the Pennsylvania roster fields the best high school talent from within the Keystone State. Pennsylvania's roster used to be guaranteed to have a good handful of Penn State prospects, but as the recruiting game has evolved, that has changed. Big Ten rivals have long since established a presence in the more fertile recruiting grounds of Pennsylvania, which has made it more difficult for Penn State to keep the top in-state talent close to home. This is one of the top recruiting priorities for new head coach Bill O'Brien, and he seems to be off to a decent start with the Class of 2013.

Penn State has instead picked up momentum out of state in the region with prospects in Maryland and Virginia in addition to New York. Players from these states are not eligible for the Big 33 game, of course.

If Penn State has just three players in the 2013 Big 33 game it would be a shock, but it may not necessarily be cause for a fire alarm.

This year's Big 33 game is scheduled for June 16, with a 7 p.m. kickoff from Hersheypark Stadium.

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