It’s been a rough year for the Nittany Lion faithful and all the people surrounding Penn State University. A scandal, the death of a legend and trying to fight their way back into public favor will all be crucial steps for Penn State this summer.
When news of the sex abuse scandal
broke, it was commonly thought that recruits would suddenly de-commit to Penn State; as a matter of fact, several four star recruits did just that. Since the media uproar has calmed down, however, the Nittany Lions have enjoyed some early recruiting success and look better than projected heading into spring offseason programs. Bill O’Brien bringing it back
If the dismissal and subsequent death of Joe Paterno
was rock bottom for Penn State University, then the hiring of Bill O’Brien was a huge step forward for the football team. O’Brien came into a bad situation. Not only was there bad press swirling about the program but Penn State has, as always, high hopes for the upcoming season; after all, Penn State is a perennial Big Ten powerhouse. O’Brien has done as much as possible this offseason to keep it that way.
As of last week, Penn State had received verbal commits for 2013 from four 4-star recruits as well from superstar recruit Adam Breneman, the top tight end prospect in Pennsylvania.
Recruiting hasn’t gone completely as planned in Happy Valley, however. The Nittany Lions have lost several blue chip prospects and transfers in the aftermath of the scandal, including Maryland transfer quarterback Danny O’Brien, and offensive lineman Mike McGlinchey and wide receiver Ryan Switzer who ended up going to Notre Dame and North Carolina respectively.Last season, forgotten
This will undoubtedly be the theme throughout the 2012-2013 season. Not only will there be lingering questions from the media and critics about the program’s solidarity, but the pressure of turning a tumultuous offseason into a good season this year will be huge.
With a new coach and lots of new players, topping last season’s 9 – 3 mark could be a tall order. Although it might help that this year’s schedule isn’t as tough as last season’s, it will hurt their bid for the national title, too. Plus, the Nittany Lions play Wisconsin, Nebraska and Ohio State in three of their last five games. Future Signees
The 2012 season has no five-star recruits for the Nittany Lions, but they did manage to get 19 commits, including two four-stars and eleven three-star recruits. The Nittany Lions will have 19 seniors on their roster in 2012. The season will prove to be a good test for the team; most of their players are underclassmen.
Along with top tight end prospect Breneman, Penn State has had five players sign to play in the 2013 season. A pair of defensive ends, Garrett Sickels and Curtis Cothran, have signed along with guard Brendan Mahon, cornerback Ross Douglas and quarterback Christian Hackenberg.
I frankly don’t see the Nittany Lions improving upon their record from last season. With all the new faces, systems, it will be hard for Penn State to compete in a tough Big Ten, a division that includes Wisconsin and Ohio State. If, however, they can start putting the building blocks together in 2012, 2013 should see the rebirth of Penn State’s dominance of the Big Ten. BCS championship
chances are even more remote with college football odds
makers setting them at 100/1.