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Feeding Frenzy: Top 3 Penn State Commits Syracuse Should Reach Out To

Press of Atlantic City

The NCAA slammed Penn State with a $60 million dollar fine, a four-year postseason ban, and a significant loss in scholarships in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. This has led to the assumption the Nittany Lions will be gutted of talent over the next few months. Recruits with decent options will have little interest in not being able to play in a bowl game until their senior season. Current players have been granted blanket permission to transfer to any school without having to sit out a year. Also, the NCAA is allowing other schools to go over the 85 scholarship limit if adding PSU transfers this summer, as long as they dock themselves that same number of scholarships next year.

Andy Staples of SI.com writes, “Penn State will be comparable to Indiana or another low-level Big Ten program and will recruit like one of those programs. The best players in Pennsylvania will go elsewhere. Expect Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame to scoop up many of the top recruits in the state. “

The Freeh report released last week dropped a hammer on Joe Paterno’s legacy, but now the attention shifts to the future of the program.

Kirk Herbstreit discussed the challenge for Bill O’Brien on ESPN Radio:

“It’s going to  be very difficult for a program to try to bring recruits into a  program that doesn’t have a chance at the postseason,  a chance at a championship.  Think about it: that’s for four years. You’re moving forward five years from now, trying to build it back up.”

Herbstreit argued it could be up to a decade before Penn State even becomes relevant again in wins, conference championships and bowl games.

As competitors line up at the doorstep of PSU’s recruits, will Syracuse have a chance at any of them? Penn State has 12 current commits for the Class of ’13. Here’s a look at three possible candidates who might be intrigued by the Orange.

  • Brandon Bell: MLB, 6’1″ 224 lbs. Mays Landing, New Jersey

Bell includes Rutgers in his top schools, but SU has sent him an offer. Rivals ranks him as the 36th overall inside linebacker in the nation and gives him three stars. Bell has said that he would like to be close to home. His skill level and athleticism have been lauded, but he’s still a tad undersized compared to some enormous LB recruits in the Big 10. Much of the ACC and Big East sent offers his way. He has yet to comment on where his commitment stands. The New Jersey native spoke about Syracuse earlier in his recruiting process back in April:

 “Syracuse definitely is coming up a little bit. I’m still trying to plan a visit out there.”

  • Ross Douglas: CB, 5’10″ 180 lbs. Avon, Ohio
A four-star talent, Douglas has already de-committed from Penn State and has gotten an offer from the Orange. His top choices are Big 10 powers like Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State. It’s a long shot since the Midwest product says his only upcoming visit he has scheduled is for Madison. But Syracuse has at least recruited him, and the interest from Ebenezer Ogundeko and commitment by Texas’ Zach Allen shows elite players are looking at the Hill. The secondary could use some major help like Douglas, and he would be a cornerstone as “Ross Island” at the Dome. He says a number of coaches have already contacted him after the PSU penalties. Wonder if one of those is from the SU staff?

“There have been about eight coaches that have contacted me since I decommitted. The only visit besides Nebraska last week that my family has set in stone is this Wisconsin visit. I’ll be open (to more visits), I just don’t know when I will have time. Maybe I’ll have to take official visits. We’ll see.”

  • Curtis Cothran: DE, 6’5″ 225 lbs. Newton, Pennsylvania

Cothran also remains quiet after Monday’s sanctions. He has also received an offer sheet from Syracuse. The 54th ranked DE in the nation, Cothran could see plenty of playing time in Orange. Ogundeko would be a huge centerpiece of the defensive end corps. But should E.O. commit elsewhere, Cothran could be a strong replacement. He has offers from Maryland and Rutgers as well.

These three players all have offers on the table from Syracuse, and have obviously had contact with the Orange coaching staff at some point. Weighing SU is no longer crazy for a Penn State recruit. You will play all four years in the ACC. You’re joining forces with a young bunch of players who want to put their stamp on college football. The football facilities are improving. And you’ll be able to play for a bowl game or ACC championship the moment you step on campus. Penn State players are free to commit anywhere without penalty, so at the very least SU should be making a few phone calls.

Posted: Brendan Glasheen

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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