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Penn State Football: Big Recruiting Weekend Ahead As Nittany Lions To Host Up To 100 Prospects

by on October 09, 2013 1:30 PM

Bill O'Brien needs two game plans this week. One to beat Michigan, and one to impress nearly 100 prospects coming to town for all of Penn State's homecoming festivities.

"It's very important," Ryan Snyder (@BWISnyder), Blue White Illustrated's recruiting insider says of this weekend's events. "It's not always about winning or the loss, but just to see the atmosphere, to get a good feel about what Penn State is all about. Since it's homecoming some kids might come up early to look around town. It's the biggest recruiting weekend of the year. Junior days are pretty important but this is biggest weekend of the year.

"Everybody looks at it differently so you can't say a win or a loss won't matter, but for the most part it's all about the atmosphere and the entire experience. If Penn State wins though that'll definitely play a big part." 

How many recruits will O'Brien be trying to impress? A lot.

"Right now I've got about 60," Snyder said Wednesday morning. "But I would expect it to be around 100. It's tough to nail everyone down because of walk-ons and everything. But I suspect about 100 prospects total. There are some big guys for the 2014 class but the majority of the talent is in the 2015 class, some even in the 2016 class."

"Before Penn State ever got the scholarships back (from the NCAA) they had really sent out a lot of their invitations to the Michigan game already, then they were really focused on the class of 2015 so I think you'll see the majority of the talent there this weekend are juniors or sophomores in high school. I would say it was that way last year too for the Ohio State game. Overall I would say there will probably be over 100 prospects in town."

So who are some of these big names coming to town? Here are six to keep an eye on according to Snyder. 

2014 Class:

  • Mike Gesicki: 6-foot-6, 215 pound tight end out of New Jersey. The three star prospect has offers from multiple schools but according to Snyder is down to Ohio State and Penn State. Gesicki could decide in the next few weeks and his Penn State visit this weekend will be his last before verbally committing.
  • Jason Cabinda: A 6-foot-1, 220 pound inside linebacker and current Syracuse commit from New Jersey. Snyder says that Cabinda is one guy he is watching who could possibly commit by the end of the weekend.
  • Thomas Holley: Synder calls the four star, 6-foot-4, 299 pound defensive tackle the most important target Penn State has of any class at any position. Out of Brooklyn, New York, Holley holds offers from over 20 schools including Alabama, Florida, Clemson, Ohio State, and Nebraska. "I don't expect anything will happen with him anytime soon, but just getting him up here is big." Snyder says.

2015 Class:

  • Minkah Fitzpatrick: The five-star defensive back will be in town this weekend to take in the sights and sounds. The New Jersey native holds offers from many schools including Ohio State, LSU, Wisconsin, and Stanford. "It's really too early to say where Penn State is with him right now," Snyder says.
  • John Reid: The four-star defensive back has made it clear, according to Snyder, that Penn State is one of his top programs right now. "Penn State may even be the top program for him right now." Snyder says. The 5-foot-10, Philly native is another prospect to keep an eye on moving forward.
  • Darious Fullwood: At 6-foot-4, the four star defensive end earned his offer through a camp at Penn State earlier this year. Currently attending Good Counsel in Maryland would make Fullwood the latest in a long line of Good Counsel players to eventually play for Penn State. Fullwood isn't on commitment watch according to Snyder, but he is high on the Nittany Lions.


Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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