Penn State continues to pick up steam during a crucial stage of the 2014 recruiting cycle, overcoming severe Paterno-era sanctions. The program collected its third commitment in a six-day span on Wednesday when 3-star linebacker Jason Cabinda switched his allegiances to coach Bill O'Brien's team, according to 247Sports reporter Sean Fitz.
Cabinda, a Hunterdon Central High School (Flemington, N.J.) standout, was previously committed to Syracuse. He initially created a verbal pact with the Orange in July.
"It was where I wanted to be from the beginning," Cabinda told Fitz on his switch to Penn State. "And in my heart that's where I was going to go to continue the tradition of Linebacker U."
Penn State extended an offer to Cabinda on Sept. 29. His other options included Connecticut, Boston College, Maryland and Navy.
The 6'1", 220-pound playmaker projects as an outside linebacker at the next level. He is ranked the nation's No. 66 athlete and New Jersey's No. 23 overall recruit by 247Sports.
The Nittany Lions have been extremely busy on the recruiting trail recently, landing a trio of top prospects since last Thursday.
Gesicki, a 6'5", 236-pound Southern Regional High School (Manahawkin, N.J.) senior, is ranked No. 1 among national tight end recruits by 247Sports. Thomas, a 5'11", 205-pound speedster from Danvers, Mass., is the country's No. 27 running back prospect in 247Sports rankings.
Which recent Penn State commit will make the biggest impact?
The flurry of commitments quickly brings Penn State's 2014 class total to 15 players. O'Brien and his staff have been able to sell players on the program's new vision, while capitalizing on a signature four-overtime victory over Michigan.
Despite severe scholarship restrictions and a bowl ban through the 2015 season, the Nittany Lions have assembled a class that features five 4-star recruits and currently ranks third in the Big Ten Conference.
Cabinda's commitment also signals sustained success in the Garden State. During O'Brien's first two seasons at the helm in Happy Valley, he's secured six New Jersey recruits.