The ink on the stories wrapping up Penn State’s memorable 8-4 season had barely dried by the time head coach Bill O’Brien and the rest of the Penn State staff hit the recruiting trail. As things currently stand, the Lions have 13 committed players, although at least two (Adam Breneman and Jordan Smith) are expected to enroll at Penn State in January, and count towards last year’s signing class, which is not limited by the sanctions. Those limits, however, have not slowed down the staff.
When news broke of the shake up in Mike London’s staff at Virginia on Sunday, attention immediately turned to the Cavalier’s committed recruits. Nittany Lion fans should keep the name Malcolm Cook in mind. The Fork Union Academy safety has already been in contact with Penn State, according to Andrew Ramspacher of The Daily Progress in Charlottesville. Cook shared a close relationship with now fired defensive coordinator Jim Reid, and credits him for his opportunity at Fork Union. Cook is a teammate of Elite 11 quarterback, and PSU commit Christian Hackenberg. According to the story in The Daily Progress, Hackenberg, along with PSU quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher, spoke with Cook on campus at FUMA on Monday, shortly after a meeting with Coach London of UVA. Cook says he is still committed to the Cavs, but he is at least listening to other schools. Along with Penn State, Florida, Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia Tech have all been in contact as well. From the sounds of it, Cook is waiting to see where Virginia goes with Reid’s replacement before making any decisions.
Should Cook ultimately end up at Penn State, he would be the 4th player to switch to PSU, joining Parker Cothren (Purdue), Richy Anderson (Maryland) and Tanner Hartman (Maryland). The former PSU staff seldom took players that had previously committed to other programs, unless the player had reached out to them initially. O’Brien and his staff are more in line with many other to level programs, in that they are willing to speak to players until they have signed with another program in February. Especially with the NCAA sanctions in place, Penn State cannot afford to sit back and not take advantage of any opportunities to bring in top level talent.
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