It was a big day for Penn State coach Bill O’Brien and the new era of Nittany Lions football, as O’Brien landed two verbal commitments from top recruits for his 2013 class on Wednesday.
First it was quarterback Christian Hackenberg (Fort Union, VA), a UA All-American and ESPNU 150 watch list candidate for 2013. Hackenberg is listed at 6’4, 215 pounds and is rated a four-star prospect on Rivals.com. He held offers from such FBS powerhouses such as reigning national champion Alabama, South Carolina, Florida and others.
Later in the day it was athlete Ross Douglas‘ (Avon, OH) turn. Douglas is a four-star recruit on Rivals and is listed at 5’10 180 pounds with a 40-time of 4.4. He held offers from over a dozen FBS schools according to the site.
It was a big day for the Nittany Lions after they experienced an underwhelming 2012 class due to a scandal involving a former assistant and firing and subsequent death of legendary coach Joe Paterno late last month.
Despite the 2012 class, that was ranked by recruiting services from anywhere out of the top 50 on Rivals, and even lower by some in the country, coach O’Brien has landed two big fish out of the gate so to speak in 2013.
There’s also a fish lurking in the water that O’Brien would love to get his hands on in No. 1 tight end recruit Adam Brenneman (Camp Hill, PA), who is a local prospect who has already been impressed by the coach and the school. The 22nd ranked overall 2013 recruit for Rivals visited Penn State during junior day two weekends ago along with several other recruits. He is being recruited by Larry Johnson.
But without looking ahead, today was a big day for O’Brien and his staff. Depth at QB could become an issue for the Lions as incumbent starter Matt McGloin is a senior and there is no guarantee junior Rob Bolden will stick around given his transfer threats in the past. Behind those two is incoming freshman Steven Bench, who is familiar with new Lions QB coach Charlie Fisher. Fisher recruited the QB while he was at Miami (OH). Adding another QB to the roster can’t hurt, and he’s a good one at that.
While coach O’Brien has stated in the past that what rating a recruit has doesn’t matter much to him, as he stated, “How many stars did Wes Welker have,” when asked about Penn State’s 2012 class last month, he will certainly go after some of the top talent in the nation. But expect the coach to find some diamonds in the rough as well.
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