Penn State Football: O'Brien Talks About the Uniqueness Of Recruiting
Bill O'Brien took the stage at Damon's for his weekly radio show Thursday night and gave fans some insight into how he puts together a team. Stepping away from some of the usual questions about x's and o's, O'Brien discussed the differences between drafting a player into the NFL and recruiting a player for college.
Currently, Penn State holds 15 verbal commitments for the class of 2014, a number that has grown since the NCAA announced Penn State could have 75 scholarship players on the team in 2014.
"Here's what I love about recruiting," O'Brien said. "I enjoy narrowing the list down and getting to know the guys and their families. I try to personally recruit a lot of guys. What I don't like is how many stars this guy has. I don't think that matters. Recruiting is about a fit. You have to be very up front with him about what Penn State is. A school where you're going to get a great degree."
"I tell guys that only 20,000 guys have played in the NFL since its existence. That's not a lot of guys. We want guys to come here and have a well-rounded education. And guys that fit into our football schemes. And that's totally different than drafting. Just a lot of different factors. Recruiting is different."
Of course, O'Brien answered questions about Penn State's next opponent. The Nittany Lions will play a strong Minnesota team on Saturday. But recruiting was still part of the dialogue.
What are some of the reasons for Minnesota's improvement?
"They have a lot of good players. They're well coached. They don't turn the ball over and they create turnovers on defense. They have a good returner. And they're playing for their coach. We've had a good practice week. We feel good about our game plan. It should be a heck of a game."
What do you like about Minnesota's defense?
"They play a lot of man coverage and they can do it. They're going to get up on you and make you get open. Hageman is a really good player. Their linebackers do a great job. They recruit for the way they play defense."
How important are current players in recruiting process?
"I think our staff does a great job of recruiting. It means a lot to them and they do a great job. I think your players are your best recruiters. They're the guys that are there that show the guys around and spend time with them after the game. Hackenberg after games takes time to say hello to the top prospects that are there, and other guys do that too."
The importance of getting prospects on campus:
"If you look at the Michigan game, who wouldn't want to play at Penn State when you see that atmosphere and that crowd? The other thing is is when you get them here multiple times, you get them to a hoop game or a wrestling match, then a spring practice, then a summer camp. Hackenberg and Breneman and Nelson had been here multiple times before they committed."