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Penn State Signing Day Recap

Feb 6, 2009, 8:08 AM EDT

With Signing Day now in the books, we've asked Penn State football expert Kevin McGuire of Nittanydelphia to give an overview of the 2009 recruiting class. Visit Nittanydelphia for an even more in-depth look at the additions to the offense and defense/special teams.

State, coming off of a
Big Ten championship and their second BCS bowl game in four years, is bringing
in one of their finest recruiting classes in recent memory.  Heading into National Signing Day, the Nittany
Lions had 26 players who had given the non-binding verbal commitment.  When it came time to officially declare which
school they would play for, all 26 signed their letters of intent for Penn State.

This theme of this recruiting class seems to be the
decommitments from other schools.  Kevin
Newsome, a talented mobile quarterback from Virginia,
had committed to Michigan, but perhaps after
seeing the Wolverines struggle through 2008 and the emergence of Daryll Clark
in the somewhat hyped "Spread HD," Newsome took a hard look at Penn State
and pledged his allegiance to the Blue and White.  Newsome is already enrolled at Penn State,
much like Anthony Fera.  Fera is one of
the top kickers in the nation and he will replace Kevin Kelly.  Fera was also a Michigan commit but reconsidered before
signing with the Wolverines.

The Nittany Lions are also bringing in a handful of recruits
that were originally committed to Rutgers, who
has turned into an important rival in the region when it comes to
recruiting.  The highlight of the
PSU-Rutgers recruiting battle was Delaware
wide receiver Justin Brown.  Brown
announced on signing day that he would join Penn State,
putting the cheery on top of the hot fudge sundae that was the Class of
2009.  Brown made it 27 players in the
class of 2009 and should see some playing time as a freshman this fall.  Adding Brown to the offensive side of the
recruits complimented some good recruits that add some quality depth. 

Running back Curtis Dukes from the Bronx
may be a few years away from emerging as the top guy but shows signs of playmaking ability.  Shawney Kersey and
Brandon Felder may also compete for some playing time at wide receiver.  But the big news on offense may be the
quality linemen coming in.  Highlighting
the offensive line recruits is Eric Shrive from Scranton. 
If you can picture Jon Runyan in high school, this may be what you would
get.  Shrive is a five star recruit and
should anchor the offensive tackle position in a year or two.  He will likely be the main guy protecting
Newsome in the future.  Philadelphia's
own Mark Arcidiacono, of Saint Joe's
Prep, also figures to see some serious action in the next couple of years. 

On the defensive side of the ball, Penn
State's recruiting philosophy was
focused in the secondary, an area that has been a key weakness for Penn State
the last couple years.  Highlighting the
four corner backs in the class is Darrell Givens out of Maryland. 
Givens was a favorite of Steve Spurrier and South
Carolina but Maryland coaching
legend Larry Johnson Sr. was able to convince Givens to come to Penn State
to help rebuild the maligned secondary. 
Still a year or two away from making an impact will be cornerback
Derrick Thomas, also from Maryland.

Curtis Drake, from West Philadelphia
Catholic High
School, was recruited as an athlete but may be
groomed for the cornerback position.

The Nittany Lions may not have the flashiest or highest
profile recruitment classes, but they never do. 
This class though has huge potential, if groomed properly by the
coaching staff, to ensure that Penn
State remains at the top
of the Big Ten for the next few years.  Ohio State's
incoming class is very talented and Michigan
is on the rebound with a good class themselves, but Penn State's
class looks to have all the makings of a very good team.

Thanks to Kevin for putting this summary together.