Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien has wasted no time trying to prepare the Nittany Lions for the future. Fresh off of finalizing the 2013 class, Penn State has already received commitments from solid recruits for the class of 2014.
O'Brien has proven that he can recruit well despite the circumstances at Penn State. The Nittany Lions' 2013 class ranks 24th, according to ESPN.
As the years go by, recruiting at Penn State should get a bit easier, as there are only three years remaining on the bowl ban. 2014 recruits will be able to participate in bowls and contend for a championship when they are unpperclassmen.
Currently, the Nittany Lions have received verbal commitments for 2014 from three high school juniors.
Running back Mark Allen (Hyattsville, MD) was the first to decide on Penn State when he verbally committed on October 16th. He is currently a 3-star recruit and the 35th best running back in the class. Allen will bring depth to the backfield as current running backs Zach Zwinak and Bill Belton have just two years of eligibility remaining.
Athlete Nick Scott (Fairfax, VA) just committed to the Nittany Lions this week. He is a 3-star recruit who will most likely be a running back in college. According to Rivals.com, the 180-pound back had an offer from Boston College and also had interest from Alabama.
The most recent commitment comes in the form of linebacker Troy Reeder, who chose Penn State on Tuesday. The 22nd-ranked linebacker is a 3-star recruit, but has the potential to rise even higher as time goes on.
According to Pennlive.com, "Reeder, is a solid 6'2", 230 pounds with a 300-pound bench, 465-pound squat and 4.65 speed." In the next few years, there will be holes to fill at linebacker and he should be an excellent fit as he continues to develop.
With limited scholarships, it will be important for the coaching staff to research and make sure that they are bringing in the best recruits to fit the system.
Getting early commitments to Happy Valley will be pivotal in attracting top talent.
Of course it's early, and guys can always change their minds, but the first verbal commitments for 2014 show that Penn State is still a place where aspiring players want to play.
Note: All recruit rankings courtesy of the 247sports.com composite rankings.