Last updated: February 05. 2014 11:54PM - 2047 Views
By - dlevarse@civitasmedia.com - (570) 991-6396

Marcus Allen
Marcus Allen
Story Tools:

Font Size:

Social Media:
More Info:

NOTE: All recruit rankings and star ratings represent the 247Sports Composite Rankings, which factor in the evaluations of four major recruiting services — 247Sports, ESPN, Scout and Rivals.

Capsules written by Derek Levarse.

Marcus Allen


Position: Defensive back

Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-2, 200 pounds

Hometown: Upper Marlboro, Md.

High school: Wise

National rank: No. 26 SAF | No. 336 overall

Maryland rank: No. 1 SAF | No. 6 overall

Lead recruiters: Larry Johnson → John Donovan

Chose PSU over: Maryland, Pitt, N.C. State, Rutgers, Arizona, Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Wake Forest, Wisconsin

The skinny: Originally committed to the former staff last May. Quick enough to play safety but with a frame big enough to move up to linebacker, Allen gives the new coaching staff plenty of options. With only Adrian Amos currently penciled in at safety for 2014, however, expect Allen to begin his college career as a free safety. Known as an aggressive hitter in high school, Allen would seem to fit in will with previous defenses run by new coordinator Bob Shoop. Selected to play for Maryland against Pennsylvania in the Big 33 game in June. Allen’s godfather is former NFL star running back Curtis Martin.

Mark Allen


Position: Running back

Ht./Wt.: 5-foot-7, 190 pounds

Hometown: Hyattsville, Md.

High school: DeMatha Catholic

National rank: No. 71 RB | No. 1,089 overall

Maryland rank: No. 4 RB | No. 29 overall

Lead recruiters: Larry Johnson → Charles Huff

Chose PSU over: Cincinnati, Maryland, North Carolina, Temple, Wake Forest

The skinny: Originally committed to the former staff in October 2012. Yes, 2012. Penn State wasn’t close to finalizing last year’s signing class when Allen pledged some 16 months before he could sign today. So it was little surprise that Allen was one of the most vocal supporters of the program when Bill O’Brien left, calling fellow recruits to try to keep them in the fold despite the coaching change. Suffered a torn ACL during his junior season before returning to the field as a senior. Allen reminded O’Brien of his former in New England, Danny Woodhead — a strong receiver out of the backfield.

Troy Apke


Position: Wide receiver

Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-2, 195 pounds

Hometown: Mt. Lebanon

High school: Mt. Lebanon

National rank: No. 47 WR | No. 352 overall

Pennsylvania rank: No. 1 WR | No. 9 overall

Lead recruiters: Charles London → Bob Shoop

Chose PSU over: Pitt, Kentucky, Minnesota, Georgia Tech, Toledo

The skinny: Originally committed to the former staff last April. Chose Penn State over Pitt despite his father, Steve, having played linebacker for the Panthers and his former high school coach, Chris Haering, now on staff at Pitt as an assistant coach. ABecame the first (and last, as it turns out) WPIAL recruit to commit to Bill O’Brien. James Franklin is especially serious about making deeper inroads into Pittsburgh in recruiting, so it was little surprise that Apke at Mt. Lebanon was one of his first stops last month when face-to-face recruiting resumed. As one of four receivers in the class, Apke likely has the best skillset to switch to safety down the road if needed.

Tarow Barney


Position: Defensive lineman

Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-2, 300 pounds

Hometown: Bainbridge, Ga.

High school: Bainbridge

Junior college: Northwest Mississippi C.C.

National JUCO rank: No. 8 DT | No. 37 overall

Mississippi JUCO rank: No. 3 DT | No. 10 overall

Lead recruiter: Larry Johnson

Chose PSU over: Iowa State, Arizona State, Cincinnati, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas State

The skinny: Junior college recruit who enrolled in January. Arrives with junior eligibility and will have three years to play two seasons. Committed to Bill O’Brien’s staff in November with the Lions looking for depth at defensive tackle with the departures of starters DaQuan Jones and Kyle Baublitz. Barney didn’t begin playing football until the end of his high school career and ended up at junior college for two seasons while improving his academics. By his second season at Northwest Miss, Barney had played well enough to get a personal meeting with Nick Saban at Alabama, though the Tide had not offered by the time he chose Penn State.

Noah Beh


Position: Offensive lineman

Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-6, 260 pounds

Hometown: Scranton

High school: Scranton Prep

National rank: No. 44 OT | No. 511 overall

Pennsylvania rank: No. 3 OT | No. 13 overall

Lead recruiters: Mac McWhorter → John Donovan

Chose PSU over: Boston College, Maryland, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple, UConn, Virginia

The skinny: Originally committed to the former staff at a skills camp last June. Strong student who had an offer to play at Yale, among other top academic schools. Beh starred for Prep on both the gridiron and the hardwood, ultimately becoming Penn State’s second recruit from the LFC in the past three classes, following Valley View’s Nyeem Wartman. An initial glance at Beh suggests a defensive end, but Penn State and others saw the most promise in him as an offensive tackle. Beh actually played guard on offense for the Cavaliers and most likely will take 2014 as a redshirt year to bulk up.

Saeed Blacknall


Position: Wide receiver

Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-2, 210 pounds

Hometown: Manalapan, N.J.

High school: Manalapan

National rank: No. 21 WR | No. 137 overall

New Jersey rank: No. 1 WR | No. 3 overall

Lead recruiter: Josh Gattis

Chose PSU over: Rutgers, Alabama, Florida State, Illinois, LSU, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, Pitt, Wisconsin, Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Pitt, Syracuse, Wisconsin

The skinny: Originally committed to Rutgers in August, preferring to stay home rather than accept an offer from several national powerhouses. But when the Scarlet Knights’ coaching staff was being overhauled and many of his fellow pledges began jumping ship, it created an opportunity for James Franklin and Penn State to jump in. The Lions provided a school within driving distance for his family, a star quarterback and a thin depth chart at receiver. Blacknall took a visit to Happy Valley last month and changed his commitment a week later. His size and elusiveness have already drawn comparisons to Allen Robinson, so it’s little surprise he is the Lions’ highest-rated recruit in the class.

Brendan Brosnan


Position: Offensive lineman

Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-6, 285 pounds

Hometown: Park Ridge, Ill.

High school: Maine South

National rank: No. 81 OT | No. 883 overall

Illinois rank: No. 3 OT | No. 28 overall

Lead recruiters: Ricky Rahne, Herb Hand

Chose PSU over: Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, N.C. State, Maryland, Illinois, Boston College

The skinny: Originally committed to Vanderbilt in July, Brosnan flipped to Penn State a few days after James Franklin took over in January, committing to the Lions before setting foot on campus. Like most of the five former Commodores recruits, Brosnan cited his close relationship with Franklin and his staff as the reason for the switch. Brosnan also represents the staff’s efforts at Vanderbit to create a pipeline into the Chicagoland area for recruiting with Rahne leading the charge there. Brosnan is something of a late bloomer, getting a late growth spurt to develop into a potential future left tackle.

Torrence Brown


Position: Defensive lineman

Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-4, 240 pounds

Hometown: Tuscaloosa, Ala.

High school: Tuscaloosa Academy

National rank: No. 129 ATH | No. 1,447 overall

Alabama rank: No. 5 ATH | No. 44 overall

Lead recruiter: Brent Pry

Chose PSU over: Southern Miss, Arizona State, Memphis, N.C. State, UConn, West Virginia

The skinny: The 25th and final member of the class, Brown was a Southern Miss commit until Penn State offered in the final stretch. The slot opened up this week when Lloyd Tubman, who had originally flipped from Vanderbilt to Penn State, decommitted. Tubman ultimately signed with Kentucky and Brown was the beneficiary, serving as Penn State’s lone signing day surprise. Brown had been recruited previously by Franklin’s staff at Vanderbilt, but he signed without actually visiting Penn State. Like Tubman, Brown can project as either a defensive end or linebacker. The Lions have him tagged as a lineman to start off.

Jason Cabinda


Position: Linebacker

Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-1, 240 pounds

Hometown: Flemington, N.J.

High school: Hunterdon Central

National rank: No. 106 ATH | No. 1,271 overall

New Jersey rank: No. 6 ATH | No. 34 overall

Lead recruiters: Ron Vanderlinden → Brent Pry

Chose PSU over: Syracuse, Boston College, Maryland, Rutgers, UConn

The skinny: Originally committed to Syracuse last July, but flipped to Penn State in October after receiving a late offer. The Lions were looking for another linebacker in the class after Jared Wangler decommitted to accept an offer from Michigan, his dream school. Projects as an outside linebacker on a depth chart that has been worn down by the NCAA sanctions at the position. Like a handful of other recruits in this class, Cabinda was wowed by getting to see the Lions’ marathon win over Michigan in person last fall. Helped lead Central to a state championship as a senior.

Christian Campbell


Position: Defensive back

Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-1, 195 pounds

Hometown: Phenix City, Ala.

High school: Central

National rank: No. 95 SAF | No. 1,085 overall

Alabama rank: No. 2 SAF | No. 27 overall

Lead recruiter: Brent Pry

Chose PSU over: Minnesota, Indiana, Missouri, Southern Miss, Syracuse, Boise State, Colorado State, Memphis, Northern Illinois

The skinny: Campbell had been all set to decide between two Big Ten schools this week. And neither of them were Penn State. Minnesota appeared to be the frontrunner to land the safety who impressed coaches with his performance at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic. But when Penn State swooped in with a last-minute schlolarship offer on Monday, Campbell immediately pounced on it. Campbell signs with the Lions despite having never visited campus in large part because James Franklin and his staff knew him well when they were still at Vanderbilt.

Koa Farmer


Position: Defensive back

Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-1, 205 pounds

Hometown: Lake View Terrace, Calif.

High school: Notre Dame

National rank: No. 31 SAF | No. 388 overall

California rank: No. 2 SAF | No. 41 overall

Lead recruiter: Ricky Rahne

Chose PSU over: Cal, Wisconsin, Vanderbilt, Washington, Arizona State, Colorado, Utah

The skinny: Despite giving a verbal to Cal way back in October 2012, schools continued to recruit the talented hybrid defender. That included James Franklin and his staff at Vanderbilt. When Franklin ended up at Penn State, Farmer flew across the country for an official visit and committed to the Lions before he left. Bob Shoop sometimes utilized a safety/linebacker hybrid position called “Star” at Vandy, and Farmer would look to be an ideal fit should Shoop install it at Penn State. Farmer is looking to go into pre-med and his work in the classroom had Harvard and Yale recruiting him as well.

Mike Gesicki


Position: Tight end

Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-5, 245 pounds

Hometown: Manahawkin, N.J.

High school: Southern Regional

National rank: No. 6 TE | No. 213 overall

New Jersey rank: No. 1 TE | No. 6 overall

Lead recruiters: John Strollo → John Donovan

Chose PSU over: Ohio State, Florida State, Miami, Boston College, Duke, Rutgers, Wisconsin, Kansas, Purdue, Syracuse, Vanderbilt

The skinny: The Buckeyes had Gesicki at the top of their list at tight end, but a trip to Beaver Stadium for the four-overtime thriller against Michigan helped sway the big man Penn State’s way. The appeal of playing in Bill O’Brien’s TE-friendly offense was a significant factor, but when O’Brien left, it was the relationship he formed with players like Christian Hackenberg that led to him staying. Franklin and assistants Josh Gattis and Charles Huff paid him a home visit last month to secure Gesicki, who is rated as the country’s best tight end prospect by one recruiting service.

Chris Godwin


Position: Wide receiver

Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-2, 205 pounds

Hometown: Middletown, Del.

High school: Middletown

National rank: No. 25 WR | No. 169 overall

Delaware rank: No. 1 WR | No. 1 overall

Lead recruiters: Stan Hixon → Josh Gattis

Chose PSU over: South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Ohio State, Stanford, Boston College, Maryland, N.C. State, Northwestern, Rutgers, Vanderbilt, West Virginia

The skinny: When Penn State secured early commitments from talented wideouts Troy Apke and DeAndre Thompkins, the pressure was on. Godwin was interested in Penn State and didn’t want the Lions to run out of room to offer receivers, so he gave a verbal last April. Of course with Allen Robinson leaving early, the Lions’ depth chart at the position looks very enticing indeed. Godwin is one of the top prospects in this class because he has a well-rounded good blend of speed and size to be a dependable target in any situation.

Grant Haley


Position: Defensive back

Ht./Wt.: 5-foot-10, 185 pounds

Hometown: Atlanta, Ga.

High school: Lovett School

National rank: No. 47 CB | No. 655 overall

Georgia rank: No. 8 CB | No. 55 overall

Lead recruiter: Terry Smith

Chose PSU over: Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Duke

The skinny: One of the Vanderbilt Five, Haley was initially heading to Nashville last summer before flipping to Penn State some nine days after Franklin took the job. Projected to play corner for the Lions, Haley already had a connection to the school despite growing up in Georgia. His mother is a Penn State alum and a trip to visit Happy Valley last month was enough to convince him to follow in her footsteps. Also a running back for a Georgia state championship team at Lovett, Haley figures to get a look in the return game as well as Penn State overhauls its special teams under Charles Huff.

Trace McSorley


Position: Quarterback

Ht./Wt.: 6-foot, 190 pounds

Hometown: Ashburn, Va.

High school: Briar Woods

National rank: No. 16 Dual QB | No. 573 overall

Virginia rank: No. 3 QB | No. 20 overall

Lead recruiter: Ricky Rahne

Chose PSU over: Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Boston College, North Carolina, Purdue

The skinny: Switched commitment from Vanderbilt to Penn State two weeks ago. An impressive athlete for one of Virginia’s most successful programs, McSorley brings some versatility to the class. With just two other scholarship quarterbacks projected for the 2014, McSorley will likely start his college career under center to give the Lions a bit of insurance there. Whether he stays there is up in the air. Some schools had recruited him as a safety, and he may be able to contribute more on defense down the road if he finds himself stuck behind Christian Hackenberg and Michael O’Connor.

Michael O’Connor


Position: Quarterback

Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-5, 225 pounds

Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario

High school: IMG Academy (Fla.)

National rank: No. 14 Pro QB | No. 252 overall

Florida rank: No. 2 QB | No. 34 overall

Lead recruiters: Charlie Fisher → Ricky Rahne

Chose PSU over: Michigan State, Mississippi State, Missouri, Rugers, USF, Vanderbilt

The skinny: Already on campus. James Franklin’s first big recruiting victory came just hours after being introduced as Penn State’s coach. O’Connor had been dead set on learning under Bill O’Brien and enrolling in January, only to see O’Brien take the Texans job just days before classes would begin. What looked to be a certain decommitment was quickly rectified when Franklin took over because O’Connor had been recruited by Vanderbilt and was a fan of the staff. O’Connor’s odyssey has taken him from his hometown in Canada to private schools in Tennessee and Florida. He played his senior season in Bradenton, Fla., for former Heisman winner Chris Weinke.

Amani Oruwariye


Position: Defensive back

Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-1, 185 pounds

Hometown: Tampa, Fla.

High school: Gaither

National rank: No. 50 CB | No. 691 overall

Florida rank: No. 10 CB | No. 105 overall

Lead recruiters: Josh Gattis, Terry Smith

Chose PSU over: Vanderbilt, Missouri, Rutgers, UCF, Arizona, Boston College, Michigan State, Nebraska, Cincinnati, Duke, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Louisville, Minnesota, Syracuse, USF, Virginia, Wake Forest

The skinny: Oruwariye was the last of five Vanderbilt pledges to ultimately follow James Franklin to Penn State. A late trip up North to visit the campus greatly spiked his interest in the Lions, but because the team’s scholarship slots were almost filled, Penn State had to make sure there would be room to add him to this year’s class. At 6-foot-1, he fits the mold of the bigger cornerback Franklin’s staff prefers. Oruwariye inherits the mantle of hardest name on the roster to spell/pronounce (oh-roo-ARE-ee) from the departed Stephen Obeng-Agyapong.

Troy Reeder


Position: Linebacker

Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-2, 235 pounds

Hometown: Wilmington, Del.

High school: Salesianum

National rank: No. 22 ILB | No. 496 overall

Delaware rank: No. 1 LB | No. 2 overall

Lead recruiters: Ron Vanderlinden → Brent Pry

Chose PSU over: Miami, Virginia, Boston College, Maryland, Pitt, Rutgers, Vanderbilt

The skinny: Along with receiver Chris Godwin, Reeder gives the Lions the consensus top two high school seniors out of Delaware in this class. Reeder wasted no time in joining Linebacker U, committing back in February of last year after Penn State’s junior day. The Lions were happy to get him in the fold so quickly because the team has a glaring need for middle linebackers. Reeder has the frame and skillset for the “Mike” spot, where the Lions must replace three-year starter Glenn Carson. Given the team’s depth issues, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Reeder on the field in some capacity as a freshman.

Nick Scott


Position: Running back

Ht./Wt.: 6-foot, 190 pounds

Hometown: Fairfax, Va.

High school: Fairfax

National rank: No. 47 ATH | No. 560 overall

Virginia rank: No. 4 ATH | No. 19 overall

Lead recruiters: Larry Johnson → John Donovan

Chose PSU over: Boston College, Nebraska, USF

The skinny: Grew up in Pennsylvania as a Penn State fan before moving to Massachusetts and ultimately Virginia. So when Scott visited Happy Valley last February for junior day, he committed to Bill O’Brien before leaving campus. The former staff originally had Scott pegged as a running back — the Lions have only Akeel Lynch in the backfield for 2015 — but he could end up on either side of the ball, possibly as a safety on defense. In their current situation, the Lions have had strong interest in players who fit this mold because they can ill afford to have a player not contribute if he doesn’t pan out at a particular position.

Chance Sorrell


Position: Offensive lineman

Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-6, 270 pounds

Hometown: Middletown, Ohio

High school: Middletown

National rank: No. 92 OT | No. 981 overall

Ohio rank: No. 9 OT | No. 64 overall

Lead recruiter: Herb Hand

Chose PSU over: Vanderbilt, Louisville, Boston College, Cincinnati, Indiana, West Virginia

The skinny: There were few recruits more excited to see James Franklin get the Penn State job than Sorrell. The Ohio native was the first Vanderbilt pledge to switch to the Nittany Lions, a move that came just a few hours after Franklin held his introductory press conference. Sorrell was known for his athleticism in high school, where he actually played tight end. As a high school freshman, he had previously taken a visit to Penn State — as a basketball recruit. Franklin’s staff had projected him as a tackle for Vanderbilt, and that’s where he’ll start out for the Lions as well.

Johnathan Thomas


Position: Running back

Ht./Wt.: 5-foot-11, 220 pounds

Hometown: Danvers, Mass.

High school: St. John’s Prep

National rank: No. 32 RB | No. 489 overall

Massachusetts rank: No. 1 RB | No. 2 overall

Lead recruiters: John Strollo → John Donovan

Chose PSU over: Maryland, Arkansas, Boston College, UConn

The skinny: Originally committed to Maryland, but when Penn State came calling with an offer in September, he made the switch. One of the highest-rated prospects in New England, Thomas was off to an impressive start as a senior before a torn ACL ended his season early. Bill O’Brien himself attended St. John’s Prep growing up, so he already had a connection there. O’Brien’s departure, however, didn’t deter Thomas from signing with Penn State, especially with the depth chart at running back opening up in 2015. Thomas’ style as a physical, between-the-tackles runner sets him apart from classmates Mark Allen and Nick Scott, who are more known for their shiftiness.

De’Andre Thompkins


Position: Wide receiver

Ht./Wt.: 6-foot, 175 pounds

Hometown: Swansboro, N.C.

High school: Swansboro

National rank: No. 33 WR | No. 225 overall

North Carolina rank: No. 2 WR | No. 10 overall

Lead recruiter: Larry Johnson

Chose PSU over: North Carolina, Notre Dame, West Virginia, Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, N.C. State, Tennessee, West Virginia

The skinny: One of a handful of recruits forced to make a tough decision about enrolling early, Thompkins affirmed his commitment to the Lions before Franklin was even hired and is already on campus. Known for his elusiveness, Thompkins could have a chance to play immediately in the slot or on special teams. Getting a full spring practice under his belt will certainly help his chances. Thompkins is already comfortable on the national stage, having earned invites to “The Opening” — Nike’s top summer showcase event — and playing in the Under-Armour all-star game in December.

Antoine White


Position: Defensive lineman

Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-2, 280 pounds

Hometown: Millville, N.J.

High school: Millville

National rank: No. 47 DT | No. 699 overall

New Jersey rank: No. 1 DT | No. 19 overall

Lead recruiter: Larry Johnson

Chose PSU over: Rutgers, Boston College, Duke, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Michigan State, North Carolina, Pitt, Vanderbilt

The skinny: Already enrolled for the spring semester, White comes to a Penn State at a position of need. His decision to stick with the Lions and arrive in January was even more important after top-rated recruit Thomas Holley, another defensive tackle, opted to sign with Florida when Larry Johnson left Penn State. In high school, White played both end and tackle, giving the new Lions coaching staff some flexibility while experimenting with some more unconventional fronts. If White is going to stick as say, a three-technique tackle, however, he might need a redshirt year to fill out.

Daquan Worley


Position: Defensive back

Ht./Wt.: 5-foot-10, 180 pounds

Hometown: Coatesville

High school: Coatesville

National rank: No. 41 CB | No. 624 overall

Pennsylvania rank: No. 2 CB | No. 17 overall

Lead recruiters: Ron Vanderlinden → Bob Shoop

Chose PSU over: Georgia Tech, Rutgers, Pitt

The skinny: A standout on both sides of the ball in high school, Worley led Coatesville to the PIAA Class 4A title game as a junior in 2012. His senior season was cut short by a torn ACL late in the campaign and it’s too early to tell if he’ll be able to participate fully in preseason camp this summer. Worley fits one of the biggest theme of this class — versatility. Bill O’Brien and his staff had him pegged to start at cornerback, but with his skillset, he could lineup at running back, receiver or most any spot in the secondary. It remains to be seen where the new coaching staff will end up using him.

Chasz Wright


Position: Offensive tackle

Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-7, 310 pounds

Hometown: Woodbridge, Va.

High school: C.D. Hylton

Prep school: Milford Academy (N.Y.)

National Prep rank: No. 3 OT | No. 15 overall

New York Prep rank: No. 1 OT | No. 2 overall

Lead recruiter: Larry Johnson

Chose PSU over: UConn, Temple, N.C. State

The skinny: Enrolled in January for the spring semester. Set to lose three of their top four tackles from 2013 — especially after Garry Gilliam opted not to return for a sixth season — the Lions went to the prep school ranks for some immediate help. Penn State had offered Wright a year ago, but he initially signed with UConn before ending up at Milford for the 2013 season. Wright looked to be headed to Temple for 2014 but Penn State won out in December. Interestingly, Wright’s pledge to the Lions came just hours after Bill O’Brien emerged as the frontrunner for the Texans job, but that uncertainty didn’t dissuade him.

All user comments are subject to our Terms of Service. Users may flag inappropriate comments.
comments powered by Disqus

Featured Businesses


Info Minute

Gas Prices

Wilkes-Barre Gas Prices provided by GasBuddy.com