Today is National Signing Day, the most important day of college football's off-season. While the national attention will focus on a number of recruiting announcements in SEC territory we know that you are more interested in a unique recruiting class being put together in Happy Valley. Penn State's Class of 2013 figures to a pivotal one for Bill O'Brien and the Nittany Lions as Penn State organizes the first recruiting class under NCAA sanctions.
By now you are probably familiar with the restrictions Penn State has to work with:
- Reduced from 25 available scholarships to 15
- Three years left on a postseason ban
Despite the sanctions it appears as though Penn State is lining up a top 25 quality recruiting class. Ohio State and Michigan still have the upper hand according to the recruiting services but Penn State is still holding their own thus far.
We will be updating this thread throughout the day as National Letters of Intent are confirmed as received by Penn State with thoughts on Penn State's Class of 2013 and perhaps a look around what is happening around the Big Ten and the nation. For a broader look at the big news around the country today be sure to visit Crystal Ball Run's National Signing Day open thread.
This is also as good a time as any to remind you to be following us on Twitter and Facebook. We will be active on those social networks all day long. Other than that, feel free to reload this post as the day progresses for the latest on Penn State's Class of 2013.
10:13 am - We are now in to hour four of National Signing Day. Penn State is still awaiting the letters of intent of three players, although offensive tackle Parker Cothren is supposed to be sending in his letter this afternoon.
Around the nation we see Ole Miss continues to impress, hauling in not only defensive end Robert Nkemdiche but the number three player, offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. That is enough to move the Rebels up in the top ten class rankings, and possibly in the top five depending on who you ask. What Ole Miss is doing is certainly a big story today, and Penn State quarterback Steven Bench shared his reaction via Twitter.
RT @sbench12: Ole Miss: big time football, pretty girls, nice weather, exciting offense, nike... there’s reasons. Freeze must be awesome guy— Nittany Lions Den (@TheNLD) February 6, 2013
8:47 am - As expected, a huge pick-up for Penn State.
It a done deal, folks...Christian Hackenberg will play for Bill O'brien at Penn State— Bob Flounders (@BobbyFlo7) February 6, 2013
8:24 am - Just a little over an hour in to National Signing Day and already Penn State is getting close to the end of their Class of 2013 coming together. In addition to the early enrollments already confirmed, Penn State has already received six expected letters of intent. Among them are defensive end Garrett Sickels, from New Jersey. The others include offensive tackle Andre Nelson, offensive guard Brendan Mahon, wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton, inside linebacker Brandon Bell and defensive end Curtis Cothran.
I am particularly interested to see how Sickels develops under the coaching of defensive line coach Larry Johnson. From what we know it seems as though he has some potential to blossom under Johnson's coaching. Whether Johnson can open some eyes with Cothran should be interesting as well.
The waiting game continues for the official signing of top quarterback prospect Christian Hackenberg. That should be on the way soon enough. Penn State is also expecting five more letters to come their way before too long.
7:42 am - National Signing Day is officially underway! Penn State has five players already lined up with early enrollments, including junior college transfer quarterback Tyler Ferguson and one of the top in-state recruits, tight end Adam Breneman. Other players already in include running back Richy Anderson and defensive backs Anthony Smith and Jordan Smith.
Over in Pittsburgh, the Panthers have received the letter of intent from former Penn State commit Dorian Johnson. Johnson is one of the top ten players in the country and would have been a great addition to Penn State's Class of 2013 with Breneman and quarterback Christian Hackenberg, but after decommitting from Penn State last summer he had long been expected to sign with Pittsburgh. That is now officially a done deal.