Football Recruiting Lacking in Numbers
Just a year ago Penn State football pulled in the hottest recruiting class in the Big Ten, attracting 6 of ESPN’s top-150 high school players and 14 other high school athletes primed for success. 2011 is not shaping up quite the same… so far.
With signing day not until February, Indiana leads the Big ten with 20 verbal commitments. Ohio State follows with 17 verbal commitments and Nebraska has 12– the Nittany Lions have just 4. After stockpiling prospects last year, quality is certainly better than quantity, but the clock is ticking for Penn State. No other team in the conference is lacking in numbers like Penn State.
Angelo Mangiro (pictured), a 4 star recruit from New Jersey, lightened the situation with his verbal commitment Sunday after considering universities such as Ohio State, Rutgers, and Florida. Mangiro will be playing offensive guard this season for Roxbury High school, and will likely play the same position at the Division I level. Perfectly fit for the interior of the offensive line, the 6-feet 3-inches, 290-pound lineman is especially skilled in the run game. It seems as if the offensive line has been porous for some time now, so Mangiro will have the chance at a starting position as a freshman.
Sean Oakman helped solidify the team with his signing on July 1. Towering over opponents at 6-feet 8-inches tall, Oakman has made a name for himself playing pass rush at the defensive end, but he is also a talented tight end. Tight end may end up being the best position for the Oak given his superior blocking skills and giraffe-like height. Watching defenders attempt to cover a guy this tall can be comical.
Fairview, Pa. resident, Jordan Kerner is also expected to play defensive end next fall for the Nittany Lions with his recent commitment. The stand-out defender got looks from West Virginia and Iowa, but the brute decided to stay in state and spend his Saturdays at Beaver Stadium. A position change for Kerner is not out of the question either. He also trucks defenders as a fullback, and has the exact build of a dominating linebacker. With his 3.8 GPA, it can be assumed he is intelligent enough to understand either position.
Delaware native Kyle Carter has also committed to the Nittany Lions, and will use his athletic abilities as a tight end. Delaware is not necessarily a dominant high school football state, so many teams looked over the the 240-pounder. However, Penn State sees a lot of potential. Last year, Carter was named best wide receiver/tight end at the Ultimate-100 East Combine, an invitational combine.
Certainly these first four have the ability to contribute greatly in the future, and will complement the 2010 class well. However, the 2010 class is arguably the reason why the recruiting numbers are so low at this point, possibly leaving as little as 10 scholarships for the 2011′ers.
Coach Paterno has dealt with digestion issues all summer, which has caused him to miss multiple events. Many believe this has put a damper on recruiting, however Larry Johnson and Mike McQueary normally do the brunt of such work. Whichever the case, the coaches must get the ball rolling to beef this class up before the rest of the Big Ten snatches up all the talent.