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Friday, January 16, 2009
Recruiting needs: Penn State Nittany Lions

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Much like Ohio State, Penn State says goodbye to a decorated senior class and a difference maker (Aaron Maybin) who will enter the NFL draft early.

And like the Buckeyes, the Nittany Lions will rely on their incoming recruiting class to fill holes and provide depth. Though Penn State won't be nearly as young as Ohio State next fall, it could use a strong recruiting haul to continue the momentum from 2008.

Linebacker U. should live up to its reputation in 2009 with Navorro Bowman and Sean Lee, but Penn State needs help in the secondary and at defensive end.

The Rose Bowl exposed the problems in the secondary, and with all four starters to replace, the Lions need upgrades from their incoming class. A.J. Wallace should fill one cornerback spot and Drew Astorino looks ready at safety, but there will be plenty of competition.

Defensive end suddenly became a need after both Maybin and former first-team All-Big Ten selection Maurice Evans opted to turn pro. Penn State is stacked at defensive tackle but needs an edge rusher or two to offset the lost sacks production.

Wide receiver undoubtedly is the biggest need on offense after the losses of Derrick Williams, Deon Butler and Jordan Norwood. The three wideouts were extremely productive the last four seasons, and though Penn State has some solid holdovers, it could use a speedster to stretch the field. Penn State also must replace three starters from the Big Ten's best offensive line and will try to build depth with the incoming class.

Quarterback became an unexpected need after backup Pat Devlin transferred in December, but Penn State seems to have found Daryll Clark's successor in commit Kevin Newsome. The Lions also lose kicker Kevin Kelly, a four-year starter, and need a replacement.