Toughest recruiting year could be behind O’Brien
Bill O’Brien just continues to set ‘em up and knock ‘em down. His recruiting class under the NCAA sanctions is, according to most rankings, in the top 30 or so in the country. Pretty darn good.
While Penn State faces three more years with no bowl and reduced scholarships (unless the governor’s lawsuit succeeds), I believe things may get easier on the recruiting trail, starting next year.
While the sanctions and scholarship limits will still weigh, O’Brien proved this year he can sell players on Penn State and himself. And, for the guys who will be part of the classes of 2014 and beyond, those sanctions will start to diminish in impact.
Players who will first don the blue and white in the late summer of 2014 will face just two years with no bowl or league championship prospects. While most of the top players coming to college now expect to be on the field as freshmen, most still aren’t. The adjustment from high school still looms large.
So, by the time the recruiting class of 2014 is ready to make an impact, it will be 2016. The bowl and championship bans will be lifted, and the next class will be back to 25 scholarships. The guys coming in next year can realistically look at being able to compete for all the marbles with mostly full depth charts during the two or three years when most of them will make a significant impact on the team, and define their college careers.
I’m sure O’Brien and his coaches will sell this point, along with what he has been able to do already, along with the prospects of getting guys ready for the pros, which O’Brien’s dalliance with the Eagles and Browns or whoever he talked can only enhance.
Dont’ get me wrong. It still won’t be easy for the next three years. But, from the recruiting standpoint, the worst may be behind the Nittany Lions.