Penn State Football: The Most Important Position for PSU Recruiters

Tim TolleyContributor IDecember 14, 2013

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The Nittany Lions and the rest of college football are less than two months away from National Signing Day, when high school students across the country will sign letters of intent to the schools they plan to attend and where they'll continue their football careers.

Coaches from all over the country are making in-home visits, trying to woo prospects to come be the next great players at their respective universities. Penn State is no exception.

With no bowl game to prepare for, head coach Bill O'Brien has been up and down the East Coast, stopping in homes from North Carolina to New Jersey. 

O'Brien and defensive line coach Larry Johnson even managed to swing through Yankee Stadium.

ICYMI Bill O'Brien and Will Muschamp are reportedly watching 4/5* DT Thomas Holley at Yankee Stadium tonight. Expected to decide this week

— Ben Jones (@Ben_Jones88) December 10, 2013 

Thomas Holley, the 5-star defensive tackle from Brooklyn, would be the gem of an already strong 2014 recruiting class.

Aside from being the highest rated player in the class, Holley would fit what is arguably the Nits biggest need: defensive tackle.

Penn State has already secured verbal commitments from Antoine White and Tarow Barney, both of whom will be enrolling in January. Still, with DaQuan Jones headed to the NFL and Kyle Baublitz moving on to pursue his professional aspirations, the coaching staff is in need of bodies. 

That doesn't include the potential need of moving Brian Gaia from defense to offense, which would further thin out the DT depth chart.

With that in mind, defensive tackle may not even be the highest recruiting priority in this cycle.

Christian Hackenberg's backup from 2013, Tyler Ferguson, has declared his intent to transfer, leaving Hackenberg as the lone scholarship quarterback on the roster. That is, until incoming commit Michael O'Connor gets on campus next month.

Bishop Kenny 2014 QB John Wolford was offered by #PennState yesterday. #904preps

— David Hickox (@904Preps_David) December 12, 2013

O'Brien made it clear that he isn't comfortable with just two capable quarterbacks last week when he extended an offer to Florida's John Wolford. He is currently committed to East Carolina, but, according to Ryan Snyder of Rivals, he has scheduled an official visit to Penn State.

A case could also be made that the Penn State staff feels wide receiver is the biggest need, as they've already secured commitments from three wideouts.

With the depth issues suffered in 2013, many would opine that linebacker appears to be as glaring of a need as any. John Butler used a safety as linebacker on more than one occasion the defense and lost a main cog in the middle in Glenn Carson. Jason Cabinda and Troy Reeder have already committed, and the staff is pursuing Melvin Keihn down the stretch.

It will be interesting to see how Penn State goes about filling the rest of the scholarships available to them. By most counts, they can take seven players in addition to the 16 who have already pledged. 

It's an inexact science, and O'Brien appears to still be looking for versatility. However, with the recent sanctions being raised on scholarship reductions, this class could serve as a building block for a stellar future in Happy Valley. 

Provided the right decisions are made, of course.