Monday, March 5, 2012
Penn State off to a good start in recruiting
By Brian Bennett
Penn State's 2012 recruiting class was held together by spit and duct tape. The Jerry Sandusky scandal that broke in November and the uncertainty surrounding the head-coaching situation until January led to several players decommitting and the Nittany Lions scrambling to salvage any kind of workable group.
But things are looking up for Penn State in the 2013 class. Head coach Bill O'Brien -- who had to split his time between the Lions and the New England Patriots from the time he was hired until the week of signing day -- has already secured commitments from three highly-ranked players in the 2013 class. The latest good news came when ESPNU 150 prospect Garrett Sickles committed to Penn State over the weekend.
Sickels is a 6-foot-4, 225-pound defensive end from Little Silver, N.J. He was also pursued by Alabama, Stanford, Florida, Ohio State and Notre Dame, among others.
Sickels joins Virginia quarterback Christian Hackenberg and Ohio cornerback Ross Douglas on the 2013 commitment list for O'Brien's staff. Hackenberg and Douglas are ESPNU 150 prospects as well.
Penn State is also thought to be one of the leaders for highly-coveted tight end prospect Adam Breneman. The Camp Hill, Pa., prospect has said he will announce his college choice on Friday, and Hackenberg has been actively recruiting him over the phone.
Momentum often plays a big part in recruiting, as players sometimes commit in waves and want to go where other top players are heading. The Nittany Lions appear to have reversed the backward momentum that plagued them in December and January. Though it's a long way to go before anything becomes official on signing day next year, these commitments signal that top players are not letting the scandal keep them away from State College.