3 Recruiting Q&As - Penn St, Ohio State, MSU

Posted Jan 21, 2014

3 Recruiting Q&As: The Scout publishers from Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State

3 Recruiting Questions With Scout Publishers
- Auburn, Illinois, Hawaii | Alabama, Duke, Idaho
- Florida, Boise State, Arkansas, Ball State, Georgia Tech
- Arizona State, Fresno State, Georgia, Northwestern
- East Carolina, Kansas, Miami Univ. | BYU, Purdue, Nevada
- LSU, Rutgers, Southern Miss | Oregon, Texas St, West Virginia
- Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State

Penn State
For more, go to FightOnState.com

1. James Franklin hasn't had a chance to get started, but how has the late coaching shift affected the recruiting season?

Mark Brennan, FightOnState.com - There has been a lot of flipping out. As of this writing, Franklin had convinced five Vanderbilt commits to flip to Penn State. In the meantime, two PSU commits had flipped to other schools. Losing four-star defensive tackle Thomas Holley to Florida hurt, but the Lions gained a couple of promising commits at offensive tackle - (an area of need. Don't be surprised if Franklin flips other commits - and not just from Vandy - before signing day.

2. Has the scandal affected anything this year with recruits, or has it all settled down compared to a few years ago?

If there is an impact on recruiting now stemming from events of the last two-plus years, it has more to do with the NCAA sanctions than the Sandusky scandal that led to said sanctions. Even with the NCAA easing the scholarship limitations, and allowing PSU to have 75 men on 'ship in 2014, the Lions can't load up on as many recruits as they'd like. But as of this writing, the average star ranking for Penn State commits is 3.09. In the last class before the scandal hit (2011), it was 3.31. So in terms of the quality of the prospects, there has not been the monumental drop-off many predicted.

3. What's the No. 1 need the program needs to address with this recruiting class?

Position-wise, I'll cheat and say offensive tackle and defensive tackle. That's why losing Holley hurt, and gaining three-star OTs Chance Sorrell and Brendan Brosnan helped. But overall, the key with this class is adding scholarship depth to the program because it was angling to get down to 65 total scholarships before the NCAA eased the sanctions.

Ohio State
For more, go to BuckeyeSports.com

1) There might be one or two guys here and there, but really, has Urban Meyer had any problems not getting the guys he wants?

Jeff Svoboda, BuckeyeSports.com - To this point, I'd say, no, not really. Meyer has shown his recruiting skills since arriving, picking up ten commitments in the two months of recruiting time he between being hired in late 2011 and National Signing Day in 2012. Then came last year's No. 1-rated class, and this year's group is a little small at the moment, but packed with star power with ten Scout 100 recruits. Meyer's recruiting has been a little different than Jim Tressel's -- surprisingly, he has hit the northeast harder and not been as involved in Florida -- but the results have been the same: highly rated classes full of top talent.

2) Do Ohio State-level recruits care in any way about the former scandal? The way Meyer abruptly left Florida? The way 2013 ended?

To this point, there hasn't been any negative fallout from any of those issues. Recruiting moves so quickly that the Tattoogate scandal and Jim Tressel are pretty much ancient history; the kids who will sign with OSU in February were finishing their freshman years in high school when Tressel was fired. Meyer appears to be in good health, so there's no real fallout from his Florida ending, and the way the season ended hasn't appeared to have any negative impact, either; in fact, the Buckeyes got commitments from four-star recruits Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga.) and Johnnie Dixon (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) within ten days of the loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten title game, the first loss of the Meyer era. The history/tradition of the program, the recruiting skills of Meyer and his staff and the chance to be the missing piece to a title run have all been powerful motivators much stronger than any of the listed negatives.

3) What's the No. 1 need the program needs to address with this recruiting class?

Pretty much everyone would have said the offensive line depth coming into the season given the fact the team is losing four senior starters there and had a small OL class a season ago -- in fact, Meyer said that very thing on signing day last year. But the way the 2013 season ended, with the team unable to stop pretty much any passing attack, it looks as though the key to the 2014 class is adding talent and depth in the back seven on defense. The Buckeyes might need some new faces to be ready to play sooner rather than later, so hitting on the linebacker and secondary recruits is imperative. So far, the Buckeyes have seven such players who are listed among the top 10 at their position committed, so that is good news -- and the team has four solid OL pledged to join the team, as well.

Michigan State
For more, go to SpartanDigest.com

1) Was the Rose Bowl seen as a culmination or a start of something big? Is the big season resonating right away?

Michael Wilson, SpartanDigest.com - Winning the Rose Bowl really was a culmination and the start of something for Michigan State. I think first and foremost it was the culmination of the goal set in place when Mark Dantonio arrived, but since then -- and during the lead up to the game in Pasadena -- it was clear the players saw how close they were to a national title game appearance. In that, the bar has been raised in East Lansing. It also is clear the incoming recruits and those that MSU is targeting took notice and want to be a part of keeping the program on a national level. It also gave MSU the position to be very selective in closing out the 2014 class with tight numbers.

2) Is the coaching staff able to start taking more recruits from Michigan and Ohio State after the recent success?

The exposure of a Rose Bowl win and the great season are helping in recruiting, but the past five years is what resonates the most right now. Most upcoming recruits have only known Michigan State as a strong program, which sticks in minds. That said, it won't be too often that recruits pick MSU over Michigan or Ohio State. The allure of such programs remains a draw to many top prospects, but MSU certainly is more competitive now on the recruiting trail and I think that will be seen most in the state of Michigan.

3) What's the No. 1 need the program needs to address with this recruiting class?

The Spartans needed to fill spots on both lines, and they have done that, bringing in four offensive linemen so far, including a junior college offensive tackle in David Hedelin. They also added a preferred walk-on that enrolled early. On the defensive side, they have four incoming recruits with another that could play defensive end. That also is the spot they will look to address with some of the final spots as top target defensive tackle Malik McDowell is still on the board.