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National Signing Day [Live Coverage]

Christmas Day for college football fans is officially upon us.

Thousands of high-school football players will officially confirm where they will continue the next chapter of their athletic careers during National Signing Day 2013.

For Penn State fans, it should be a rather predictable and very satisfying time. Between July’s sanctions, a slow start in September, and Bill O’Brien’s brief flirtation with the NFL in early January, there were several moments where a promising recruiting class could have easily crumbled. While a few verbal commits jumped ship along the way, the core remained intact for what is arguably the most important group of incoming players in program history.

We hope that this page will serve as a useful aggregation tool for news throughout the day including tweets from players, news and reactions from recruiting analysts, player bios posted by GoPSUSports, and comments from head coach Bill O’Brien at approximately 3 p.m.

Currently, Penn State’s class is ranked 38th in the country by Scout (6th in the Big Ten), 24th by 247 Sports (4th in the Big Ten), and 42nd by Rivals (6th in the Big Ten). These are the 17 scholarship players expected to sign their letter of intent today:

  • Quarterback Christian Hackenberg (pictured above, middle) — Fort Union, Va (@chackenberg1)
  • Quarterback Tyler Ferguson* — Visalia, Ca
  • Running back Richy Anderson* — Frederick, Md (@TheRealRichya_)
  • Wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton — Stafford, Va (@SkeeterMills__)
  • Tight end Adam Breneman (pictured above, far left)* — Camp Hill, Pa (@AdamBreneman81)
  • Offensive guard Brendan Mahon — Randolph, NJ (@BigBabyMahon)
  • Offensive guard Tanner Hartman — Lynchburg, Va (@T_Hartman123)
  • Offensive tackle Andrew Nelson — Hershey, Pa (@ANelson59)
  • Defensive end Garrett Sickels — Little Silver, NJ (@GarrettSickels)
  • Defensive end Curtis Cothran — Newtown, Pa
  • Defensive end Parker Cothren — Hazel Green, Al (@ParkerCothren)
  • Outside linebacker Zayd Issah — Harrisburg, Pa (@ZaydIssah)
  • Middle linebacker Brandon Bell — Mays Landing, NJ (@Thee1NonlyBBELL)
  • Defensive back Kasey Gaines — Loganville, Ga (@KG_III)
  • Cornerback Neiko Robinson — Century, Fl (@neikorobinson)
  • Cornerback Jordan Smith* — Washington, D.C. (@unodos_smith)
  • Cornerback Anthony Smith* — Wayne, Pa (@Jennifer_Omar)

*=Early enrollee

Check below frequently for updates.


6:35 p.m. — A few early evening items: Bill O’Brien may not care for recruiting rankings, but for those of you who do, Penn State is currently 45th according to Scout (7th in the Big Ten), 43rd according to Rivals (6th in the Big Ten), 26th according to 247 Sports (4th in the Big Ten), and 24th according to ESPN (4th in the Big Ten).

Mike Farrell, a National recruiting analyst for Rivals, was rather impressed with the job Bill O’Brien and the Nittany Lions did after being down on their chances in July following the sanctions.

Finally, GoPSUSports has a five minute video featuring highlights of each recruit.

4:40 p.m. — Towards the very end of his press conference, Bill O’Brien was asked if he pays attention to the recruiting rankings. His response? “No.” He then elaborated a bit saying “I respect people who do it and am friends with some of them, but that has nothing to do with how I look at student-athletes.” O’Brien would proceed to mention that when he was the offensive coordinator for the AFC Champion New England Patriots in 2011, he had several players who were not heavily recruited out of high school including Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, Stephen Neal, and Danny Woodhead. A few other noteworthy tidbits from the head coach and running backs coach Charles London:




3:33 p.m. — For the first time in a while, Penn State dug deep into the south obtaining players from Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. Despite the loss of defensive coordinator Ted Roof to Georgia Tech, those options should remain open. “We will continue to recruit in the deep south, but the bulk of the roster will come from a 300 mile driving distance.”

3:22 p.m. — It sounds like the live stream is having some issues. Bill O’Brien called today a “great day for Penn State” and gave credit to Joe Paterno for setting a foundation that he is now trying to continue. He feels good about Christian Hackenberg and the quarterback situation as a whole but is unsure of when a starter will be named.

3:02 p.m. — Neiko Robinson’s letter of intent has been received to complete Penn State’s 2013 recruiting class. Bill O’Brien’s National Signing Day press conference should begin in a few minutes and can be viewed here.

1:39 p.m. — Jeff Nelson provides an updated schedule of O’Brien’s afternoon appearances.



12:02 p.m. — With some down time until media appearances by Bill O’Brien later, this CSN Philly piece from Gordie Jones that chronicles Christian Hackenberg’s journey to Penn State over the past year is worth a few minutes of your time. “It just felt like home, really that’s the only way to describe it,” said Hackenberg. 10:56 a.m. — Bill O’Brien is expected to meet with the media around 3 p.m. According to Penn State spokesman Jeff Nelson, it will be a busy afternoon for the head coach.


10: 40 a.m. — To go along with some of our previous recruiting posts, GoPSUSports has video highlights of the recruits that are currently on board. Meanwhile, former cornerback Stephon Morris has some well-wishes for the newest crop of Nittany Lions.

10:23 a.m. — Everything is going according to plan so far for Penn State. Issah faxed in his letter within the past hour as the Nittany Lions are now only waiting on cornerback Neiko Robinson.

9:03 a.m. — Take a few deep breaths and exhale. After verbally committing 11 months ago, Christian Hackenberg is officially a Nittany Lion. The ability of Bill O’Brien to keep the number one pro-style quarterback in the fold during such a rocky time speaks volumes to what he has already done as a recruiter and what he could do in the future. Over the next seven months, a decision will have to be made regarding whether or not to redshirt Hackenberg. Today, Penn State can be thankful that he is headed to Happy Valley.

8:30 a.m. — As was expected, it has been a rather predictable early morning with several players including Sickels, Mahon, Cothran, Gaines, Hartman, Bell, Nelson, and Hamilton already faxing in their letter of intent. Zayd Issah, a linebacker from Harrisburg, appears set to do the same. Issah originally committed to the Nittany Lions early in the summer before deciding to open up his recruitment again. He ultimately came back around in December and will be a big factor as the Nittany Lions look to replace Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges at the linebacker position.

7:48 a.m. — Adam Breneman, who has become the emotional leader of this class, has some words of his encouragement for his new teammates as the letters of intent begin to roll in.



Eve of Signing Day — Several recruits are excited to officially become Nittany Lions.

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About the Author

Drew Balis

Drew is a senior marketing major. This fall, he will be covering Penn State Football for Onward State. He is a huge Philadelphia sports fan and loves THON and Domonic Brown.

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