Friday, January 13, 2006

The Verbal Board (1/13/06)

By Position:
QB- 1
RB- 0
WR- 2
TE- 0
OL- 2
DE- 4
DT- 3
LB- 2
DB- 2
PK- 0

By State:
Delaware- 1
Maryland- 4
New Jersey- 4
New York- 3
Pennsylvania- 4
Virginia- 1

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:

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.

Cedric Jeffries (Egg Harborm NJ)- Jeffries is a little bit of a surprise verbal as he previously committed to Virginia. For the second year in a row, Penn State has reeled in a Virginia verbal. Last season it was OL Matt Lowery. Jeffries will be a safety at Penn State and just like the other freshmen, he may get a chance to play early if things don't work out with some of the current players at the position.

Tight End:
Andrew Quarless (Uniondale, NY)- Quarless is yet another explosive target for Anthony Morelli. Quarless has tight end size but with 4.5 speed, he is more a less a large wide receiver. Quarless is the last key to making Penn State's offense one of the most dominant in college football. With Mark Rubin moving to flex TE, PSU can run two TE sets or split either out wide with a plethora of wideouts with 4.4 or better speed. It has been a long time since Penn State has been blessed with such an embarassment of riches on offense.

Offensive Line:
Lou Eliades (Oakhurst, NJ)- Eliades, one of the top rated offensive linemen in the nation, is a mammoth and athletic player. His combination of size and athleticism should help to earn playing time, if not a starting spot, on the offensive line this fall. Eliades verballed to Penn State ater deciding to cancel his mid-January visit to South Carolina, feeling that Penn State is the right place for him. I think it is unlikely that he will redshirt. Dick Anderson and/or Bill Kenney will use him on the offensive line in 2006. He may get a chance to play alongside fellow statesman Dennis Landolt, a OL signee from last year's class who is expected to compete for a starting spot this spring.

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:
Maurice Evans (Middle Village, NY)- Evans becomes the fourth defensive end to join Penn State's class when he verballed to the Nittany Lions at th U.S. Amry All-American Bowl. Evans is a "tweener" at this point in his career at only 245 but he is extremely explosive off the line and he dominated the All-American game. He will contribute at Penn State right away with a chance to earn significant playing time.

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.

Jared Odrick (Lebanon, PA)- One of the top prospects in Pennsylvania this season jumps on the bus headed to Happy Valley. Odrick is already exceptionally large with a nice burst off the line for such a big player. He can contribute immediately on the defensive line and take up a lot of space and become a run stopper, something very important in a smashmouth-type conference like the Big Ten. There have been rumors that Odrick may move to the offensive line. However, I don't see that happening. But if it does, expect him to redshirt.

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.

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.

Bani Gbadyu (Gaithersburg, MD)- Gbadyu verballed to Penn State on 12/14 after verballing to LSU earlier in the fall. He said that he fell in love with Penn State and that Happy Valley is definitely the right place for him. While he played linebacker in high school, he is expected to move to safety in college. With the lack of depth and experience at safety, if Gbadyu can make the tansition nicely, he may press for significant playing time in 2006.

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.

A.J. Wallace (Pomfret, MD)- Wallace becomes Penn State's second defensive back commitment in this clas when he verballed at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. However, he will be much more than just a cornerback. Wallace possesses many of the same skills that sensational freshmen Derrick Williams and Justin King displayed in 2005. He will be used on both sides of the ball and will help to shore up what will be a completely new secondary. Wallace may have the biggest immediate impact of any recruit in this class in 2006.


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