The “dead period” for football recruiting ended Thursday, when coaches from around the country were free to take off to various outposts to visit prospects as the Class of 2015 recruiting calendar nears its end.
For Penn State, that meant some were in Wisconsin.
Some were in Philadelphia.
Some, it appears, could have been in Michigan (judging by what Northville, Mich., lineman and Wisconsin verbal commitment David Moorman said).
By Friday, at least three of them are expected in Pittsburgh.
Head coach James Franklin, defensive coordinator (and safeties coach) Bob Shoop and defensive recruiting coordinator (and cornerbacks coach) Terry Smith are going to be in the area, according to several Nittany Lions verbal commitments and/or their high school coaches.
It is expected that the Blue-and-White traveling contingent – Shoop (Riverview) and Smith (Gateway) are WPIAL high school alums – are going to touch base with all of the local prospects who have outstanding offers from Penn State (except for Jordan Whitehead, who made a verbal commitment to Pitt and has gone on the record reaffirming that commitment).
With National Signing Day less than three weeks away, of course the 2015 prospects are the most pressing. Penn State is known to have offered four WPIAL players, but in effect, that number is down to two – with arguably the entire state’s top player, Whitehead is seemingly off the board, and Baldwin offensive tackle Sterling Jenkins enrolled at PSU this past week and is already living in University Park and taking classes.
That leaves Kittanning tight end Nick Bowers and Central Catholic safety Johnny Petrishen. Bowers verbally committed to Pitt almost a year ago – but that was under a different Panthers’ coaching staff, it was just days after Penn State’s new coaching staff was introduced and eight months before PSU extended a scholarship offer. When it was announced coach Paul Chryst was leaving Pitt for Wisconsin last month, Bowers’ mother characterized Nick’s situation as “wait and see” in an email to the Trib’s Matt Grubba.
Central Catholic safety Johnny Petrishen has a long list of scholarship offers, hasn’t done much in terms of tipping his hand and insists he hasn’t made any decisions. He told the Trib’s Chris Harlan he plans on making an official visit to Pitt this weekend and one to Penn State next weekend.
The 2016 prospects don’t carry with them the sense of urgency, of course, but it’s never too early to look ahead. Penn State already has Pennsylvania’s top-rated 2016 prospect (per Rivals.com), Woodland Hills running back Miles Sanders, as a verbal commitment. While surely more offers will materialize over the coming 55 weeks until the 2016 Signing Day, the only other WPIAL players in that class who currently are known to have gotten PSU offers are Central Catholic cornerback Damar Hamlin and McKeesport linebacker Khaleke Hudson.
Players from 2017 that have a Penn State scholarship offer in hand from the WPIAL include Seton-LaSalle’s Paris Ford, Gateway’s Robert Hainsey and Clairton’s Lamonte Wade.
That’s seven WPIAL schools – Central Catholic, Kittanning, Woodland Hills, McKeesport, Seton-LaSalle, Gateway and Clairton – that figure to be getting a visit from a few blue-and-white clad men Friday.
WPIAL football players known to have scholarship offers from Penn State, by class:
Sterling Jenkins, OT, Baldwin (NOW ENROLLED AT PENN STATE)
Johnny Petrishen, S, Central Catholic
Nick Bowers, TE, Kittanning (A LONGTIME VERBAL COMMIT OF PITT’S)
Jordan Whitehead, CB, Central Valley (SEEMINGLY STRONGLY COMMITTED TO PITT)
Miles Sanders, RB, Woodland Hills (COMMITTED TO PENN STATE)
Damar Hamlin, CB, Central Catholic
Khaleke Hudson, OLB, McKeesport
Paris Ford, ATH, Seton-LaSalle
Robert Hainsey, OT, Gateway
Lamonte Wade, CB, Clairton
Enjoy your weekend.