This close to signing day, I feel like writing about players who are verbally committed to Penn State is just asking for a jinx. So, let’s take a look at five players that have no chance of signing with Penn State…probably. This isn’t a list of the best players in the country-it’s a list of players that I think Penn State had a legitimate shot at getting, but didn’t for one reason or another.
5. Alex Anzalone LB (Florida)
Some felt that Alex was Ohio State all along while others were sure he was Gator-bound for the last year. Despite that, Alex was committed to Notre Dame and was set to enroll in South Bend up until Brian Kelly showed some interest in the Eagles job. Conversations I had with Alex left me sure that Penn State had a real shot with him going into last summer both before he committed to Ohio State and after he decommitted from the Buckeyes. A big factor in his declining interest was his inability to gain acceptance to PSU’s Shreyer Honors College. I think Alex could play any linebacker spot in any defense and he could have contributed soon at Penn State.
4. Ryan Switzer WR (UNC)
I was always high on Switzer as a football player. He’s not the biggest guy but had a really good showing at The Opening in Oregon and caught the game-winning touchdown in the Semper Fi All-American game. Fans saw him as the future Wes Welker of Bill O’Brien’s offense but I think he could have been much more. Ryan is dangerous as a returner and was a terrific running back and receiver in high school.
Many, including myself and Ryan’s dad, thought he was a Penn State lock but it wasn’t in the cards. Switzer has family near Chapel Hill and the proximity of the ACC road games to his West Virginia home were big factors in his decision, along with him falling in love with North Carolina on a spring visit.
3. David Williams RB (South Carolina)
Another one-time lock for Penn State, Williams was the best RB coming out of Pennsylvania this year and had grown close with members of the current class when the sanctions came down in July. David all but eliminated Penn State before the coaches got back into the mix late. Unfortunately, they were too late and Williams committed to the Gamecocks during the Semper Fi game following an in-home visit with Steve Spurrier.
2. Dorian Johnson OT (Pitt)
More than a lock, Dorian had committed to Penn State during the early summer, only to pull that commitment after the sanctions and a flip to Pitt. Dorian is a quiet, down to earth kid who pushes defensive linemen around like children. Dorian carries nearly 300 pounds on one of the strongest frames I’ve seen and is one of the top offensive tackles in the country. Dorian could have spent a year or two at right tackle before taking over on the blindside but for a player who already had a strong urge to stay close to home, the penalties Penn State suffered were enough to push him back west to the Burgh.
1. Tyler Boyd WR (Pitt)
Two Pitt commits at the top can’t feel good for Penn State fans, but that’s the way the cookie crumbled for Nittany Lions in 2012. For any of you that follow me on Twitter, you know that I think Boyd is the real deal. He scored 117 high school touchdowns from all over the field and won every varsity game that he played in except for the first one. Penn State is pretty strong at the wide receiver spot but Boyd is a special talent. Making matters worse, Penn State will face both he and Johnson in a couple years during the series they have scheduled with Pitt.
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