Penn State Football Recruiting: 5 Targets to Replace Departing Talent

Derek GerberichCorrespondent IAugust 7, 2012

Penn State Football Recruiting: 5 Targets to Replace Departing Talent

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    First, it was Silas Redd.  Then, Justin Brown.  Even kicker/punter Anthony Fera followed suit.  Those three Nittany Lion football players headline a string of departures from the Penn State football program in light of the recent NCAA sanctions.

    So what now?

    What can Bill O'Brien and company do to fill the holes?

    With the quantity of scholarships that the Nits have to work with being significantly decreased, Bill O'Brien's crew will have to focus on signing quality prospects with the limited resources they have.

    Solidified commitments from prized recruits Adam Breneman and Christian Hackenberg should help with that endeavor. 

    Let's run down some other potential PSU targets that could be joining the 2013 recruiting class, and beginning to replace the recently departed Nits.

1. Greg Bryant Jr. (RB)

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    The Oklahoma Sooners recently landed PSU's best wide receiver, Justin Brown.

    At the same time, top RB recruit Greg Bryant Jr. announced that he was decommitting from Sooner Nation.

    Wouldn't it be sweet revenge if the Nittany Lions reeled him in?

    Admittedly, this is a bit of a long shot.  According to Rivals.com Mike Farrell, (h/t dallasnews.com) Bryant has noted that he wants to play in the SEC.

    But hey, he's already changed his mind once before.

2. Tyler Boyd (WR)

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    Tyler Boyd, a 6'1" wide receiver out of Clariton, PA is an ESPN Top 300 prospect, and also regarded as one of the best wide receivers in the state.

    As reported by Michael Sedor of PennLive.com, Penn State was the big favorite to land the dynamic Boyd, but the recent NCAA sanctions have bumped the Nittany Lions from the top spot.

    Here's to hoping O'Brien is able to work his magic and enable Boyd to remember why he wanted to come to Happy Valley in the first place.

3. Matthew McCrane (K)

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    The loss of Anthony Fera, was more than the loss of one player.

    It was a loss of an entire kicking game, as Fera handled both the punting and place-kicking duties.

    As for his replacement, the Lions have shown interest in kicker Matthew McCrane.  McCrane, a 5'11" recruit from Texas, has not picked a favorite team as of yet, but could be a crucial signing for the Lions as they look to move past the loss of Fera.

4. Alquadin Muhammad (DE)

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    Defensive end, Greg Webb, was the first Penn State recruit to decommit in light of the NCAA sanctions.

    With explosive DE Alquadin Muhammad still in the sights of PSU, Webb might soon become a distant memory.

    Muhammad, a 6'3", 230 pound force from New Jersey is one of the top DE recruits that still remains uncommitted at this point. 

    Penn State recruiters will face stiff competition from New Jersey's own Rutgers, as well as SEC schools like South Carolina and Alabama.

5. Jermaine Grace (OLB)

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    Lastly, one of the most overlooked transfers of the past few weeks has been the departure of linebacker Khairi Fortt.  Fortt was expected to compete for a starting job this season, and was in line to become another Penn State linebacking legend by his senior year.

    Enter Jermaine Grace.

    The 6'2", 205 pound Grace, posted an astonishing 4.43 split in his 40-yard dash, and would certainly be a candidate to continue the storied tradition of Linebacker U.

    The stiffest recruiting competition will come from the Florida programs (Jermaine's home state), but Penn State is still considered a contender to land Grace.