Penn State Football: 5 Recruits Bill O'Brien Must Keep Committed
Penn State's 2013 recruiting class has already taken two hits. Defensive tackle Greg Webb flipped his commitment from the Nittany Lions to North Carolina the Saturday before the NCAA announced its sanctions, and Ross Douglas followed suit a few days later with his commitment to Michigan.
It's up to Bill O'Brien to cement Penn State's remaining commitments into place. He isn't likely to get any more marquee names, so he must make due with what he has.
Some players' pledge is more important than others.
Let's take a look at five players O'Brien must do everything to hold onto.
ESPN rates Johnson as the No. 2 offensive tackle recruit in the nation because of his athleticism and projectable frame.
He's 6'6'' and very fast for his size. If he fills out and adds strength to that frame, he will be a very good college lineman.
Pennlive.com reports that Johnson told 247sports.com that he still intends to come to Happy Valley. Given the importance of his position, that's huge.
Bill O'Brien is going to need solid bookends on his offensive line. Johnson could be a major building block for the future on Penn State's offensive front.
Pennlive.com gave an update on Sickels' status earlier this week:
Sickels texted several recruiting outlets Monday afternoon saying he remains committed to Penn State and shot down a rumor he was going to visit Nebraska later this week.
Sickels is a 4-star recruit according to ESPN. He's a versatile defensive end recruit because of his ability to play from a stance, or as a stand-up edge rusher.
Bill O'Brien and Ted Roof's defense would benefit big time from Sickels' presence. He's the best defensive player in their 2013 class, and they can't afford to lose his commitment. His initial desire to play in Happy Valley is encouraging, but you still never know how that will pan out.
Sickels' motor and tenacity fits Penn State football. He would make Nittany Lion fans very happy.
Pennlive.com reported on Zach Bradshaw's status per Washington Post reporter Paul Tenorio:
Paul Tenorio of the Washington Post spoke to Damascus assistant coach Gregg Frazier, who said Bradshaw will not be commenting today, save for saying he is still committed to Penn State, and will be discussing things with his family today.
The report also states that Michigan State made an offer on Monday.
Bradshaw is expected to play linebacker at Penn State, but he could play receiver as well. His versatility makes him a unique player, and he would be an asset to Penn State's team.
O'Brien wants to make sure as many recruits stay on as possible. Bradshaw's ability to line up all over the field makes him an important one.
Breneman is an incredible receiving threat at the tight end position. He stretches the field vertically and puts a tremendous amount of pressure on opposing defenses.
He claims he's committed, and he very well may be, but Bill O'Brien needs to make absolutely sure. He's a game-changer on offense, and his presence is extremely important to Penn State's future.
ESPN rates Hackenberg as the No. 1 quarterback in the country. If you follow Penn State's program, you understand that that fact alone makes him a big deal.
O'Brien, above all else, must make sure Hackenberg comes to Happy Valley. ESPN reported on Thursday that he will revisit the Penn State campus. This is encouraging, but doesn't guarantee anything until his letter of intent is signed.
Hackenberg could be an ambassador of sorts for future Nittany Lion recruits. His commitment would show that it's still alright to play football there, and that talented players won't be fighting by themselves.
Other recruits are important, but Hackenberg is the bottom line.