A popular theme over the last few days, and even weeks, has been how every verbal commitment Bill O’Brien and Penn State receives is another small shot at Mark Emmert and the NCAA sanctions he lead the charge on. It’s not hard to see, either. It was the popular opinion of seemingly every college football pundit that these sanctions were going to spell the end of PSU football. A sort of contemporary “death penalty”, if you will. The combination of 15 recruits per class, 65 scholarships and no post season for 4 years was going to mean not a single recruit would want to play football in Happy Valley, and blue chip prospects were not even going to be returning O’Brien’s phone calls. If the 2013 class didn’t disprove these odd theories, than the early results in 2014 should.
The 2014 class already consists of three 4-star prospects, and six 3-stars. It includes the top 2 players out of Delaware, a top 5 player in Maryland, several players in the top 25 of their positions nationally. The Lions are also very much in the picture for some of the top high school players in the country, including Jabrill Peppers, the top DB, and arguably top overall prospect in the land. Not bad for a program that may not even exist in a year or two because of transfers and a lack of recruiting.
It would seem to reason that the closer PSU gets to the end of the sanctions, which begin to expire following the 2015 season, more top players will give the Lions a more serious look. If the few months of recruiting prior to the sanctions is any indication, O’Brien will not have much of a problem closing with a few of them. And if I had to guess, there’s an office in Indianapolis that won’t be too happy about that.
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