Penn State Football: Updating the Commitment Status of Every 2013 Recruit
By now, everyone knows the story. The NCAA levied strict sanctions on Penn State's football program, the heaviest of which may be reducing the Nittany Lions' scholarships from 25 to 15 for the next four years.
That means Bill O'Brien has his work cut out for him. Not just on the field, but on the recruiting trail as well. As we near the end of July, the latter takes precedence.
O'Brien must hang on to as many recruits as he can. As you will see, he's done an admirable job thus far, but there are still holes to fill. He even managed to add a recruit after the sanctions were doled out.
Penn State fans know these recruits at this point. Let's get down to brass tax.
Who is staying, and who is going?
Here to Stay
I'll start with the important part. The bulk of Penn State's recruiting class announced their continued commitment on Saturday, according to pennlive.com.
Cedar Cliff tight end Adam Breneman, Virginia quarterback Christian Hackenberg, Hershey offensive tackle Andrew Nelson, Philadelphia Roman Catholic wide receiver Will Fuller, New Jersey offensive lineman Brendan Mahon and New Jersey defensive end Garrett Sickels all pledged to stick to their earlier verbal declarations for Penn State.
That's the biggest thing you will read in Happy Valley until September arrives. Hackenberg and Breneman had Nittany Lion faithful sweating bullets, but their promise, plus the others, give hope to the Penn State program.
The Nittany Lions' class wasn't big in the first place. Getting full commitments from six, of the seven, best players in the class preserves the quality within that small class.
Here to Stay, at Least for Now
Sometimes, silence is a good thing; at least Bill O'Brien hopes so. The core of his 2013 recruiting class has confirmed their intentions, but there are still a few players who have generated no press since the NCAA announced its sanctions
These players are:
- CB Neiko Robinson
- DE Curtis Cothran
- OG Andrew Nelson
- OT Dorian Johnson
I put Johnson last for a reason. He's the No. 2 offensive tackle recruit in the nation, according to ESPN, and things haven't been totally quiet on his front. Patriot News reporter Greg Pickel had this to say about Penn State's touted bookend.
Text came in a little while ago from Dorian Johnson, who said he will not be traveling to #PennState tomorrow along with other '13 recruits.— Greg Pickel (@GregPickel) July 28, 2012
This is probably bad news considering the agenda by those other recruits, but all hope isn't lost until he announces his definite intentions.
It's not all positive on Penn State's recruiting front. Two recruits have already bailed on their previous verbal promise.
Defensive tackle prospect Greg Webb dropped Penn State the Saturday before sanctions were announced, according to ESPN.com. He was the first recruit to renege on his original intentions.
There's another as well. ESPN reported on Monday (day sanctions were announced) that 4-star cornerback Ross Douglas had flipped his commitment to Michigan.
Ideally, the list ends here, but these are two notable names. Both players were exciting additions to Penn State's fold, and their loss will reverberate at least a little bit.
Most Important Reassurance
Courtesy of rivals.com
This is an easy one. Hackenberg fills Penn State's biggest need since 1993, and he's the No. 1 quarterback in the nation, according to ESPN.
Nittany Lion fans are more than familiar with this kid by now. He's got everything you would want in a major college quarterback, and he's got plenty of room to grow.
Outside of his physical traits, Hackenberg's firm commitment to Happy Valley show his strength of character. He's only 18 years old, but he opted against popular opinion in favor of the institution, and coaching staff, that he has grown to love.
That's the kid I want behind center when the going gets tough.
Who Else Will Stick?
Courtesy of 247sports.com
There aren't a whole lot of options here. Curtis Cothran and Neiko Robinson are both lower-level prospects who won't get attention from many larger schools. The same goes for Andrew Nelson.
I'd expect all three players to attend Penn State. They are going to get a chance to play, and, if they redshirt, can still play in a bowl game.
Because Dorian Johnson didn't join his fellow recruits in their re-commitment on Saturday, I have to think he's all but gone. Maybe he will change his mind, but obviously, serious doubt has crept into his mind.
Make sure you check back, but unless something changes quickly, Bill O'Brien has done a remarkable job thus far.
The 2013 recruiting class will be the first group of the "new" Penn State era. If it remains like this, fans have reason for optimism.