On Tuesday, we noted that Penn State's recruiting class had suffered four decommits, including two in as many days. That's a brutal state of affairs—and, as it turns out, not entirely correct.
Late Tuesday night, highly coveted tackle prospect Dorian Johnson, a Penn State commit since June, decommited from Penn State, making it three prospects gone from the PSU 2013 recruiting class in the last two days.
Here's more from ESPN.com:
Offensive tackle Dorian Johnson (Belle Vernon, Pa./Belle Vernon), No. 27 in the ESPN 150 and a Penn State commitment since June, decommitted from the Nittany Lions on Tuesday evening, his coach, Aaron Krepps said.
"I didn't get into that with him," Krepps said about a specific reason for the decommitment. "We spoke, and he informed me of his decision."
Johnson, the No. 2 offensive tackle nationally and No. 2 overall player in Pennsylvania, said he would take his time regarding a decision when sanctions, which include a four-year bowl ban and massive scholarship reductions, were levied against Penn State on July 23.
"I told him to just take his time instead of jumping to a conclusion, wanted to make sure he thought through this, and he's done that very well," Krepps said. "He's deciding to open things back up."
According to ESPN.com, Johnson said he'll take three official visits: Pittsburgh, Ohio State and Virginia Tech. You'll notice none of those schools are Penn State. Pitt was second on Johnson's list when he originally committed, but he wants to take all three of those visits and commit afterwards this time around, so Ohio State and Virginia Tech are still firmly in the mix.
Johnson is a 5-star tackle on 247Sports.com, and their No. 12 player overall. He's slightly lower on the other services (No. 27 overall at ESPN, 4-star at Rivals and Scout), but he's uniformly known as a big-time prospect. And that's why this decommitment hurts so badly.
Johnson is from Belle Vernon, a small town in western Pennsylvania. He's exactly the type of player Penn State should be able to recruit without breaking a sweat. And he would have been the cornerstone of an offensive line that will desperately need a cornerstone once this current line has since graduated.
Make no mistake: Johnson was a "need" for Penn State if the Nittany Lions wanted to stay competitive with the rest of the Big Ten. Even taking the dimmest view of Johnson's talents, with Rivals ranking him the 23rd best offensive tackle, only five tackles above him on the list are uncommitted. Commitments aren't binding until February, true, but let's be honest about PSU flipping anyone with a huge offer sheet this year. Not happening.
At any rate, none of the five tackles rated above Johnson are considering Penn State, and none are likely to begin considering Penn State at any point. It's also worth noting that Rivals lists PSU commit (and a firm commit at that) Brendan Mahon as the 15th best tackle in the country, but the 247Sports.com composite ranking has Mahon (289th overall) much lower than Johnson (82nd overall).
So yes, barring an unforeseeable miracle, Johnson's decommitment will have a permanently negative effect on this recruiting class. And Penn State just can't afford hits like that. Those hits will probably keep coming anyway.