PSU recruiting class has questions as signing day approaches

Posted by on January 31, 2013

My opinion has always been you can’t tell how good a recruiting class in college football is for three or four years, or until you know whether the bulk of the class turned out to be solid contributors.

Still, when Punxsutawney Phil prepares to poke his head out of the ground, that means it’s signing day for recruits, and it’s what we talk about.

Penn State’s 2013 class looks okay at this point, in my view.  A big part of that is because five of the recruits–Cedar Cliff tight end Adam Breneman, junior college quarterback Tyler Ferguson, D backs Anthony Smith and Jordan Smith, and running back Richy Anderson–enrolled early in January and count toward the class of 2012, leaving 15 slots to fill for the sanction-reduced 2013 class.

Some of these guys are top notch prospects, including Breneman and quarterback Christian Hackenberg.  Linebacker Zayd Issah from Central Dauphin also ranks high on the charts of many people who are supposed to know about these things.

What is concerning, beyond the scholarship limit, is the O line recruits.  There’s a long way to go, and what happens in major college weight rooms to bulk people up, along with the normal maturing process for 18-year-olds, is nothing less than amazing.

But, two of the three O line recruits are listed at 255 and 260 pounds, respectively.  While I saw a marked improvement in the offensive line under Bill O’Brien last year, one of the big problems with Penn State over the past decade and a half has been that their O line has too often been overwhelmed by the size, strength, and speed of Big Ten defensive lines.

The guys just weren’t big enough.  Some of them didn’t seem to be athletic enough, either, and while O’Brien’s schemes, and strength and flexibility conditioning, seem to be helping in the athleticism area, size does matter up front.  While there may be no real difference between a guy being 295 and 305, I have to wonder how much good weight can be stacked on guys coming in at that 255-260 range, without impacting their athletic ability.

These guys will have to add about 40 pounds to be where they need to be.

Not saying it can’t happen, but it is a concern in an area where the Lions have not been strong to begin with.

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