Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Examing Penn State's First 10 Verbals

McKeesport, PA running back/defensive back, Travis McBride, rated three-stars by Rivals.com, verbally committed to the Nittany Lions. He will most likely play defensive back at Penn State and he could play immediately if he plays safety. With Calvin Lowery and Chris Harrell both graduating, Penn State will be breaking in two new starting safeties next season. While Donnie Johnson appears to have the lock on the Hero position, free safety is still up for grabs. He should be able to challenge to break into the three deep.

Here are the rest of Penn State's verbal commitments position by position:

Quarterback:
Brett Brackett (Lawrenceville, NJ)- He's already a hefty QB at 6-6 232. Anthony Morelli and Darryl Clark are both the immediate options at quarterback but Brackett has been labeled as one of the more underrated prospects in the nation and he should challenge for Clark for the starting job following the 2007 season. Expect him to redshirt in 2006.

Running Back:
Travis McBride (McKeesport, PA)- See "Defensive Backs"

Wide Receiver:
Chris Bell (Norfolk, VA)- Some have called Bell "Randy Moss with a positive attitude". With Williams opposite Bell, Penn State will have two of the best playmakers in the Big Ten. Most have already penciled Bell in as a starter and Deon Butler is expected to move to defensive back. Expect an immediate impact from Bell.

Tight End:
None

Offensive Line:
Doug Klopacz (Montvale, NJ)- Klopacz is easily the biggest project in the class thus far. At 6-2 249, he isn't close to being ready to play on any 1-A offensive line, let alone one in the Big Ten. After playing tight end for several seasons, he began playing guard following his commitment to Penn State. He is supposedly progressing nicely. He is very much in the mold of Iowa's offensive linemen under Kirk Ferentz- smaller coming out of high school, some tight ends like Klopacz, but they have outsanding technique. Klopacz will almost assuredly redshirt in 2006 but expect it to be an important year for him. If he can bulk up, he could challenge for playing time in 2007 or 2008. If not, he may be moved to revolving door at tight end for fullback, a position that will be fazed out further once BranDon Snow graduates.

Defensive Ends:
Eric Latimore (Middletown, DE)- Latimore should have a chance to contribute right away with the shortage of defensive ends. Miami was very high on him before he verballed to Penn State. At 6-5 240 he has reasonable size to play in Tom Bradley's rotation at defensive end right away. With the shortage of defensive ends, it is unlikely that he will redshirt but it is still a big question as to how much playing time can be expected.

Aaron Maybin (Ellicot City, MD)- Maybin, like Latimore, may have an opportunity to play right away if the depth chart really starts to look ugly. However, at 6-2 211, Maybin is not at an ideal size to play defensive end. Linebacker would be a better fit at this point for him, possibly safety even. Unlike Latimore, Maybin may redshirt if the coaching staff wants him to bulk up to play defensive end.

Defensive Tackle:
Abe Koroma (Takoma Park, PA)- He's big and dominating. That is what everyone who has seen Koroma play says about him. While he doesn't play the best competition, Koroma fought through double and triple teams to have a strong senior season. He will add further depth at DT where Penn State already is very deep. Expect him to redshirt or see little playing time in 2006.

Tom McEowen (Feasterville, PA)- McEowen became the first major recruit to verbal to Penn State way back in July. However, McEowen will have a chance to play right away. He is already similarly sized as Scott Paxson. If he can bring the same intensity and passion that Paxson does, McEowen should have no problem earning his way onto the field. I expect him to be the #4 or #5 DT on the depth chart if he impresses during the summer.

Ollie Ogbu (Milford, NY)- Ogbu is the biggest sleeper in this class. He is a giant at 6-3 320 and he will take up space on the line. Not much is known about him but the little tidbits that are known have all been extremely positive. I wouldn't be surprised if he redshirted if things work out with the others in the mix at DT. Ed Johnson is expectedto return and earn the starting spot left vacant with Scott Paxson graduating.

Linebacker:
Navorro Bowman (Suitland, MD)- Bowman verballed to Penn State last week, choosing PSU over Ohio State and Virginia Tech. While he likely won't make an immediate impact, expect Bowman to continue the resurgence of Linebacker U. during his collegiate career. The only downside is that he needs shoulder surgery. He is planning to enroll early in January but I see him redshirting this season unless he is moved to safety for some reason. There is too much depth at LB right now to waste a year unless Paul Posluszny doesn't return. Expect a big impact in 2007.

Defensive Back:
Travis McBride (McKeesport, PA)- Penn State's latest commitment will add depth at safety immediately. With Harrell and Lowery graduating, there isn't a lot of depth or experience there. Donnie Johnson will likely start but the other spot is up for grabs. McBride won't likely be in the equation but he could be in the mix for playing time if things go awry.

1 Comments:

Blogger Mike said...

Just found the blog and I love it. I graduated PSU in '97 and I'm a huge fan. I bookmarked and plan to check in so keep up the good work.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005  

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