Penn State Football Recruiting: Latest News and Opinions on 2013 Class
During the season last year, Penn State was compiling a long list of high-end recruits with loads of potential and expectations.
However, their quality cast was depleted to a group of last-minute pickups after the Sandusky scandal broke in early November 2011.
With the installation of Bill O'Brien and the excitement that surrounds his offensive philosophy, the Penn State 2013 recruiting class has looked superb thus far, highlighted by tight end Adam Breneman and quarterback Christian Hackenburg.
Despite this haul, the former Patriots offensive coordinator is nowhere done with his quest to assemble one of the nation's best groups.
There have been some recent signing and interesting news surrounding the current 2013 class, so let's take a look.
Another Linebacker Offers Verbal Commitment
Defensive-line coach and recruiting extraordinaire Larry Johnson has done it again.
Living up to its name of Linebacker U, Penn State and their determined coaching staff have reeled yet another defensive prospect to its 2013 class.
On June 29th, 3-star recruit (via Rivals.com) Zayd Issah verbally committed to Penn State, citing proximity to home and the direction the Lions are heading as the main reasons for commitment.
Just as with all recruits, Issah has a long way to go until he straps up the white helmet, but he brings a lot intrigue to the recruiting class considering his versatility.
A Harrisburg native, Issah played both sides of the ball at Central Dauphin (PA) and will likely bring his athleticism and quick reactions to the outside linebacker position.
Also playing running back in high school, he shows balance and brute strength with the ball in his hands—something Ted Roof would like to see him display as a backer.
Magnitude of Dorian Johnson's Verbal
While the Breneman and Hackenburg verbals caused a great deal of jubilation and euphoria among Penn State supporters, a recent decision that could prove to be greater in magnitude is that of Dorian Johnson.
After already adding two offensive line recruits to the mix in Andrew Nelson and Brandon Mahon, Johnson brings high expectations as he's currently listed as the nation's 27th best player by ESPN.
He had offers from multiple institutions, most notably Ohio State, Pittsburgh and West Virginia.
Listed at 6'6", 280 lbs., Johnson will likely be playing offensive tackle if he holds true to his commitment to the Lions.
In the past few years, the Nittany Lions have produced a few NFL lineman like Stefan Wisniewski, but they haven't been able to assemble a healthy, perennial offensive line.
Not saying that the verbal commitment of Johnson will change those fortunes and carry the line play, but he is a guy that new offensive-line coach Mac McWhorter will use as a cornerstone at the tackle position.
As long as he remains faithful to his verbal commitment, Johnson will be walking onto the Penn State practice field sooner rather than later and look to make his mark.
Losing out on Alex Anzalone
After being creeped out at Ohio State by a registered sex offender not affiliated with the program, it was speculated that heralded linebacker recruit Alex Anzalone would consider Penn State as his new place of commitment.
However, Anzalone chose Notre Dame over the Nittany Lions and Florida after narrowing his list to three.
Listed on Rivals.com as a 4-star recruit, Anzalone is a stud and had every linebacker coach in the country salivating at a chance to coach this kid.
While the Lions struck out on the seventh best linebacker recruit in the country, it's really not that big of a blow to the recruiting class as a whole.
Sure, Anzalone is a Wyomissing, PA, native and you'd like to get verbals from the in-state guys.
Despite this, the 6'3" linebacker picking the Irish and in-state wide receiving stud Robert Foster ruling out Penn State are virtually the only thing that's gone wrong for Bill O'Brien and his 2013 bunch.
Also, the Lions already have three solid verbals at the linebacker position, and it's questionable whether or not they'll even pursue another backer.
Commits Open Up About Potential Sanctions
With all that's going on with the Sandusky scandal and recent release of the Freeh Report, it's tough as a Penn State fan to focus on anything but the off-the-field issues and occurrences.
However, it has been speculated that the NCAA will somehow come down on the Penn State football program and everyone involved, although they don't have any laws that would allow them to act on this particular situation.
With buzz about bowl bans and the "death penalty," the 2013 recruiting class have to be paying attention to anything that may affect their verbal commitment to the program, including possible NCAA sanctions.
With this, a few heralded recruits have openly talked about how they feel about their commitment to Penn State regardless of the given situation.
As reported by Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror, highly-touted recruits Christian Hackenburg and Adam Breneman would remain committed to the Lions, even if TV or bowl bans become a reality.
However, Hackenburg expressed obvious and understandable concerns if a "death penalty" to the program were implemented by the university or NCAA.
"Unless it was something completely wild like death penalty or something, I'm still coming to Penn State," the Virginia-product told Giger.
It's nice to see if you're a Penn State fan that your top 2013 recruits and leaders of the class will stick with the program, showing unwavering support and confidence in the process.
Breneman's "Catch the Cure"
Although the nation's No. 1 tight end recruit for 2013 (via ESPN) is injured with a torn ACL and will miss all of his senior season, Adam Breneman continues to make an impact—only this time it's off the field.
Working jointly with Project ALS, the vocal leader of Penn State's 2013 recruiting class has been working for months on a campaign titled "Catch the Cure" as reported by PennLive.com's Tim Tolley.
ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, is a serious neurological disease that causes muscle weakness, disability and eventually death, according to the Mayo Clinic.
This is something we all look for in athletes in the public eye—use your popularity for the betterment of others.
Even though he won't be catching any balls his senior season, Bill O'Brien must like what he's seeing from a potential future leader on the team.