Penn State Football Recruiting: Meet Nittany Lions' Class of 2013

Andrew KulhaSenior Analyst IIIFebruary 4, 2013

Penn State Football Recruiting: Meet Nittany Lions' Class of 2013

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    Penn State football may be hindered by sanctions, but that doesn't mean that Bill O'Brien and his staff can't find success on the recruiting trail.

    The Nittany Lions are still a brand name, and the staff in place is focused on the future. This program can and will be rebuilt, but it's going to take some time.

    Penn State's 2013 class will be looked back on as the cornerstone of this new era of Nittany Lions football. 

    Despite multiple sanctions, O'Brien was able to go out and put together an impressive class. Not only is this a testament to his character as a coach, but it also goes to show you the quality of recruits that Penn State will be signing.

    They know the long path that's ahead, and they've chosen to be a part of a new, better chapter of Penn State football.

    Let's get to know the 2013 recruiting class.

     

    Note: Information via 247Sports, ESPN RecruitingNation or Scout.com unless otherwise noted. Star rankings according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.

Adam Breneman

1 of 17

    Height: 6'5''

    Weight: 227 lbs.

    Position: TE

    Stars: 4-star

    High School: Cedar Cliff High School (PA)

    Senior Stats: N/A

    Other Finalists: Virginia, Ohio State

    Commit Date: 3/9/12, Enrolled: 1/7/13

     

    Analysis

    Adam Breneman is going to be a star tight end for the Nittany Lions. He has great intangibles and he's ranked as the No. 2 tight end in the 2013 class, according to the 247Sports Composite.

    He's one of the bigger commitments from this class, and he has incredible potential. Breneman will compete with Kyle Carter, Jesse James and Matt Lehman for playing time, and he could even take a redshirt year to create some separation from that group.

Tyler Ferguson

2 of 17

    Height: 6'5''

    Weight: 210 lbs.

    Position: QB

    Stars: 3-star

    School: Ridgeview High School (CA), College of the Sequoias

    2012 Stats: 2,614 YD, 22 TD

    Other Finalists: Houston 

    Commit Date: Enrolled 1/7/13

     

    Analysis

    Tyler Ferguson is going to compete with Steven Bench for the starting job at quarterback in 2013. He's 6'5'', 210 pounds, so he has great size, and he was the No. 5 JUCO pro-style quarterback, according to 247Sports. Either way, the winner of this competition will eventually give away the spot to Christian Hackenberg.

Jordan Smith

3 of 17

    Height: 5'10''

    Weight: 187 lbs.

    Position: CB

    Stars: 3-star

    High School: Woodson High School (Washington D.C)

    Senior Stats: N/A

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: 7/24/12, Enrolled: 1/7/13

     

    Analysis

    Robinson has a lot of players in front of him on the depth chart, including Adrian Amos, DaQuan Davis, Jesse Della Valle, Jordan Lucas and Stephon Morris. The fact that he enrolled early should help give him an advantage over the other incoming recruits though, and he may be able to work himself into a rotational spot or special teams role right away.

Richy Anderson

4 of 17

    Height: 5'11''

    Weight: 175 lbs.

    Position: RB

    Stars: 3-star

    High School: Governor Thomas Johnson High (MD)

    Senior Stats: N/A

    Other Finalists: Maryland, Temple

    Commit Date: 10/28/12, Enrolled: 1/7/13

     

    Analysis

    Richy Anderson will most likely find himself on the depth chart behind Zach Zwinak, Akeel Lynch and Bill Belton. He could perhaps work his way into the rotation, but a redshirt could be the best option. In time though, look for Anderson to be a good second or third option out of the backfield for Penn State.

Anthony Smith

5 of 17

    Height: 6'0''

    Weight: 185 lbs.

    Position: CB

    Stars: 2-star

    School: Valley Forge Military Academy

    2012 Stats: N/A

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: 12/9/12, Enrolled: 1/7/13

     

    Analysis

    Anthony Smith is only a 2-star commitment, but he's coming in with good measurables at 6'0'', 185 pounds. He'll be far behind on the depth chart, but in time, he can work himself into the rotation or at least become a special teams player. The fact that he's enrolled early should also give him a bit of an advantage.

Christian Hackenberg

6 of 17

    Height: 6'4''

    Weight: 210 lbs.

    Position: QB

    Stars: 5-star

    High School: Fork Union Military Academy (VA)

    Senior Stats: 2,144 YD, 24 TD, 436 RUYD, 3 RUTD

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: 2/29/12

     

    Analysis

    For all intents and purposes, Hackenberg is Penn State's quarterback of the future. He has elite size, a good arm and he's very accurate. Overall, he looks the part of a big-time quarterback and he's ranked as the No. 2 pro-style quarterback in the 2013 class, according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.

    With Steven Bench and JUCO quarterback Tyler Ferguson all in the mix at quarterback, don't be surprised to see Hackenberg to take a redshirt in year one.

Garrett Sickels

7 of 17

    Height: 6'4''

    Weight: 230 lbs.

    Position: WDE

    Stars: 4-star

    High School: Red Bank Regional High School (N.J.)

    Senior Stats: N/A

    Other Finalists: Tennessee, Florida, Georgia

    Commit Date: 3/4/12

     

    Analysis

    Garrett Sickels is going to compete for playing time right away at Penn State. Simply put, he has the chance to be a star defensive end. He has terrific size at 6'4'', 230 pounds and he runs a 4.68 40-yard dash, according to 247Sports. He'll most likely be a sub for Deion Barnes and C.J. Olaniyan at defensive end, and he could become a pass-rush specialist.

Brendan Mahon

8 of 17

    Height: 6'4''

    Weight: 318 lbs.

    Position: OG/OT

    Stars: 4-star

    High School: Randolph High School (N.J)

    Senior Stats: N/A

    Other Finalists: Rutgers

    Commit Date: 3/17/12

     

    Analysis

    Mahon could end up being a star lineman for Penn State. He has tremendous size at 6'4'', 318 pounds, and he's ranked as the No. 12 guard recruit in the country according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings. That said, he has the size and versatility to move over to tackle, and that could be an option for Penn State, as he'd be a stellar replacement for Mike Farrell.

DaeSean Hamilton

9 of 17

    Height: 6'1''

    Weight: 185 lbs.

    Position: WR

    Stars: 3-star

    High School: Mountain View High School (VA)

    Senior Stats: N/A

    Other Finalists: Virginia, Illinois

    Commit Date: 12/9/12

     

    Analysis

    DaeSean Hamilton has a lot of potential as a wide receiver, and he may end up being one of the surprise stars from this class. Penn State is extremely deep at wideout, though, with players like Allen Robinson, Trevor Williams, Eugene Lewis, Malik Golden, Jonathan Warner and Brandon Moseby-Felder all projected to be on the depth chart. I'd be surprised if Hamilton didn't redshirt in year one.

Zayd Issah

10 of 17

    Height: 6'3''

    Weight: 220 lbs.

    Position: OLB

    Stars: 3-star

    High School: Central Dauphin High School (PA)

    Senior Stats: 80 TCK, 6 SCK

    Other Finalists: Oregon

    Commit Date: 12/9/12

    Analysis:

    Issah will compete for playing time at outside linebacker as a freshman. He has great size and exceptional speed, and he could be very effective on the edges and as a pass-rusher. He runs a 4.50 40 yard dash, according to 247Sports.

    With Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges gone, look for Issah to compete with Mike Hull, Nyeem Wartman, Ben Kline and Brandon Bell for playing time. I believe his speed could give him the edge, especially in pass-rushing situations.

Brandon Bell

11 of 17

    Height: 6'2''

    Weight: 215 lbs.

    Position: ILB

    Stars: 3-star

    High School: Oakcrest High School (N.J.)

    Senior Stats: N/A

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: 6/13/12

     

    Analysis

    Brandon Bell is a talented linebacker that can probably play either inside or outside for the Nittany Lions. He'll be an important sub behind Glenn Carson and Gary Wooten. Bell could also try to get into the mix over at outside linebacker, and he'll definitely be a big special teams player for Penn State

Andrew Nelson

12 of 17

    Height: 6'5''

    Weight: 270 lbs.

    Position: OT

    Stars: 3-star

    High School: Hershey High School (PA)

    Senior Stats: N/A

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: 4/15/12

     

    Analysis

    Nelson is a big offensive lineman with a lot of potential for Penn State. Donovan Smith should be the starting left tackle and Nate Cadogan should back him up. On the right side of the line Penn State has Adam Gress, Kevin Blanchard and Brendan Mahon. Chances are, Nelson may want to take a redshirt season, which would also give him time to put on a bit more mass.

Neiko Robinson

13 of 17

    Height: 5'11''

    Weight: 170 lbs.

    Position: S/CB

    Stars: 3-star

    High School: Northview High School (FL)

    Senior Stats: N/A

    Other Finalists: Minnesota

    Commit Date: 6/3/12

     

    Analysis

    Neiko Robinson is ranked as a safety, but he may want to move to cornerback at the college level. At only 5'11'', 170 pounds, that could end up being the best fit for him. Robinson could also work his way into the rotation at corner behind Adrian Amos, DaQuan Davis, Jesse Della Valle and Jordan Lucas.

Parker Cothren

14 of 17

    Height: 6'5''

    Weight: 265 lbs.

    Position: OT

    Stars: 3-star

    High School: Hazel Green High School (AL)

    Senior Stats: N/A

    Other Finalists: Tennessee, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, Auburn

    Commit Date: 11/20/12

     

    Analysis:

    Cothren is a big offensive tackle recruit, but he may want to end up taking a redshirt in year one to create some room on the depth chart. He garnered some late offers from Auburn, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt and Tennessee, but ultimately stayed committed to the Nittany Lions.

Curtis Cothran

15 of 17

    Height: 6'5''

    Weight: 230 lbs.

    Position: SDE

    Stars: 3-star

    High School: Council Rock North (PA)

    Senior Stats: N/A

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: 3/26/12

     

    Analysis

    Curtis Cothran has great potential as a defensive end at 6'5'', 230 pounds. He'll compete with Garrett Sickels, Deion Barnes and C.J. Olaniyan to get into the rotation on the defensive line. Cothran is the No. 43 ranked strong-side defensive end in the 2013 class, according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.

Kasey Gaines

16 of 17

    Height: 5'10''

    Weight: 160 lbs.

    Position: CB/S

    Stars: 3-star

    High School: Grayson High School (GA)

    Senior Stats: N/A

    Other Finalists: Miami (OH)

    Commit Date: 9/19/12

     

    Analysis

    Gaines can play safety or corner, but unless he puts on a ton of mass in the next year or two, his bets option will be to rep at cornerback for Penn State. He's only 5'10'', 160 pounds, but he is very quick, so that will be an advantage for him on the football field.

    Gaines runs a 4.44 40-yard dash, according to 247Sports. Taking a redshirt year to put on 10-20 pounds, while not losing his quickness, may be the best option for Gaines.

Tanner Hartman

17 of 17

    Height: 6'4''

    Weight: 255 lbs. 

    Position: SDE

    Stars: 3-star

    High School: Liberty Christian Academy (VA)

    Senior Stats: N/A

    Other Finalists: Maryland

    Commit Date: 9/25/12

     

    Analysis

    Tanner Hartman has very good size for a defensive end at 6'4'', 255 pounds. He most likely wont be able to crack the rotation as a freshman, but in a few years, his size could be advantageous once the depth chart clears out a bit. By junior year, Hartman could be an important role player for the Nittany Lions.

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