Penn State Football Recruiting: How 4 Newest Commits Fit on the Depth Chart
Despite obvious hindrances to recruiting, Bill O'Brien keeps doing quite a bang-up job.
After an important recruiting weekend, the Big Ten Coach of the Year was able to snag verbal commitments from four guys on the Nittany Lions' radar.
With that addition, the Lions' 2013 recruiting class moves up to 17 total commits.
Now, the question is how will those four newbies fit immediately fit into O'Brien's plans?
Let's take a look at how these guys will fit into the 2013 scheme of Penn State.
DaeSean Hamilton, WR
Penn State's most recent commit came from wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton just about 24 hours ago.
Hamilton, a 3-star recruit (per Rivals) out of Virginia, is a guy with decent speed and dependable hands, giving him a good shot to make an impact for the Lions.
However, not too soon.
Hamilton, who was heavily recruited by Wake Forest and Virginia Tech among others, will have to wait in line behind quite a few receivers on the Lions' depth chart.
As long as no one leaves due to the free transfer policy, Penn State will lose just two wide receivers who didn't factor into the offense very much in 2012.
So long as they stay put, not only will O'Brien have leading targets Allen Robinson and Brandon Moseby-Felder to work with, but also a handful of young slot receivers including Trevor Williams and Eugene Lewis.
Considering the depth, Hamilton shouldn't have to step in and be hastily thrown into the mix, but he definitely has the intangibles to do so judging from his tape.
My guess is that, as long as no one transfers, Hamilton may be redshirted in 2013.
Zayd Issah, LB
Perhaps the biggest haul of the four is athletic outside linebacker Zayd Issah.
Issah, a Harrisburg native, was previously recruited and committed to Penn State, but rescinded his verbal once the sanctions broke.
After careful deliberation, Issah re-affirmed his commitment to the program and Lions fans should be happy.
The 6'3" 3-star (per Rivals) linebacker chose defensive-minded recruiter Larry Johnson, Sr. and Penn State over the likes of Oregon, Iowa, and Pittsburgh.
On tape, Issah shows the innate ability to create havoc blitzing off the edge—something defensive coordinator Ted Roof won't be able to wait to utilize.
With Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti leaving due to graduation, Mike Hull should wrap up the one outside starter job while Glenn Carson stays in the middle.
However, that leaves one spot at outside linebacker needing filling and Issah could be the guy.
In my opinion, it looks like Issah not only has the instinct, but also the potential coverage skills to play on the outside, making him a good candidate to compete for a starting job in 2013.
Jonathan Walton, LB
With the new coaching staff, a lot of emphasis was put on expanding the Penn State recruiting brand into the South and grabbing commits where the Lions normally don't succeed.
Using his Southern roots at Auburn, etc., defensive coordinator Ted Roof snagged linebacker Jonathan Walton out of Alabama.
Walton, a 2-star (per Rivals) prospect, wasn't heavily recruited with the likes of Minnesota, Arkansas St. and Louisiana Tech going after the Daphne, Alabama native.
However, adding depth at the college level is never a bad thing, especially when it's linebackers going to Penn State.
Even though the ratings may not indicate it, Walton has a lot of potential.
Walton was recruited as a linebacker, but also played running back in high school and showed his strength by dragging defenders along with him.
The Lions are pretty stacked right now at linebacker with the presence of 2013 commits Issah and Brandon Bell, along with Ben Kline, T.J. Rhattigan, Nyeem Wartman and expected starters Carson and Hull.
While Walton may not garner much playing time in 2013, look for him to be a project for Roof and make his impact in due time.
Anthony Smith, DB
In my mind, the Lions got a steal in recruiting defensive back Anthony Smith out of the Valley Forge Military Academy (Pa.).
Smith, a 2-star (per Scout) prospect, is a post-high school graduate so he should be a more seasoned player coming in, but still impressionable by the Lions' coaching staff.
According to his Scout.com page, Smith also had interest from lower level schools like Gardner-Webb, UMass and Towson.
After watching his tape, it's surprising the defensive back didn't get any more looks from around the country.
One word that would be an accurate description of Smith's play is "instinctual."
On tape, Smith does a phenomenal job of closing in quickly to make tackles and reacts well in coverage.
While, in my opinion, he would be best suited as a safety, the Lions may need bodies at cornerback this year.
Considering the Lions are rather thin in the secondary, don't be surprised if Smith sees a solid amount of playing time this season.
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