Penn State Football: Bracing for the 2013 Recruiting Fallout

Mark BatorAnalyst IIJuly 23, 2012

STATE COLLEGE, PA - JULY 22:  An area of the statue of former Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno stood sits empty after it was removed by workers outside Beaver Stadium on July 22, 2012 in State College, Pennsylvania. Penn State's president Rodney Erickson made the decision Sunday to remove the statue in the wake of the child sex scandal of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. It's believed that Paterno had detailed knowledge of Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing children before and after Sandusky retired from coaching at Penn State. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Just hours after the NCAA penalties were handed down, Penn State saw what could be the beginning of a trend that the University can only hope will not become an avalanche.

Ross Douglas, a 3-star [] prospect at defensive back, de-committed from the Penn State program and will reportedly be reconsidering other options, including Michigan, Nebraska and Wisconsin.

"I mean, it's hurtful," Douglas said of the situation. "It's hurtful to see the school that you are planning on going to can't even go to a bowl game until you're a junior. That hurts."

This news comes on the heels of Saturday's announcement by defensive tackle Greg Webb's de-commitment decision. Webb, who is a 4-star recruit [], will now be attending North Carolina.

"I have noticed in college football recruiting whenever there is a scandal with a program, you can give it six months and they always rebound," mused CBS recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. "But the thing that is killing Penn State is the continuation."

The Sandusky scandal began having recruiting impact this past winter, when one of the biggest prospects of 2012, defensive end Noah Spence, announced that Penn State had been crossed off his list of schools. He later committed to Ohio State. This had followed the news of 2012 OL recruit Joey O'Connor, who announced his de-commitment from Penn State in November, 2011.

Several prospects sought after by Penn State for 2013 have chosen to go elsewhere, including defensive end Dajaun Drennon (North Carolina), while no less than 12 have committed to Rutgers.

It was hoped that Penn State would avoid this scenario, as many of the recruits who committed to the Nittany Lions did so well past the date when the Sandusky story had broken. The most recent prospect to commit, Zayd Issah, gave his nod to the University as recently as June 29.

The situation most closely watched may be that of 4-star [] quarterback prospect Christian Hackenberg, who committed to Penn State on February 28.

"It's very important, in our eyes, just to see how it plays out," said [via] Hackenberg's father, Erick. "A lot of people would walk away from it. That's not us."

In fairness, it should be noted that Hackenberg's comments were made in advance of the NCAA punishment, which may give the family cause to reconsider the decision of their son, Christian.

"That is the life of recruiting. It's the jungle," concluded recruiting analyst Mike Farrell. "If there is an injured animal out there, people are going to start circling. And that is what is happening now."