Penn State Nittany Lions: North Carolina Tar Heels

Not only did 2015 running back Johnny Frasier (Raleigh, N.C./Princeton Day Academy) not know if he would get scholarship offers, there was a time when he didn’t even know if he would be able to play football in high school.

Frasier suffered from asthma and heart murmurs when he was younger and had to undergo extensive monitoring before his freshman season. Doctors at Duke hooked him up to heart monitors and had him run on treadmills and simulate physical activity to ensure it was safe for him to play.

“They had me do light conditioning every day, and it would get harder and harder as we went. They said the murmur was gone and that my asthma had stopped,” Frasier said. “I used to have bad asthma attacks, and I haven’t used an inhaler for four years now. After all the tests, I graded out above average and the doctors said there are no issues.”

That’s good news for Frasier, a three-star prospect who has picked up offers recently from Georgia, Michigan, Penn State, North Carolina and NC State.


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T.J. Wheatley Jr. (Buffalo, N.Y./Canisius) has moved around more often than an Army brat.

He's followed his father and current Buffalo Bills' assistant coach, Tyrone Wheatley, from New Jersey to Florida, from California to Michigan (in three different homes) and then, finally, to New York. The 6-foot-6, 235-pound tight end/defensive end is still unpacking some boxes after his most recent switch from Syracuse to Buffalo, when his father was promoted from college assistant to NFL coach.

But the next move the ESPN Junior 300 prospect makes? That'll finally be up to just T.J.


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Four-star DT Ricky Walker (Bethel, Va./Hampton) recently named a top five of North Carolina, Penn State, Pitt, South Carolina and Virginia Tech -- but he also boasts two front-runners.

Out of those five schools, four of them send the most handwritten letters. And of those four, two really impressed by having multiple coaches share just how much they want him at their respective schools. And those two just happen to be his favorites.


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Austin Clark (Lexington, Va./Rockbridge County) inched his face closer to the car window and craned his neck to get a closer look at Beaver Stadium on a humid Saturday morning.

This was his first trip to Happy Valley, so he tried not to reflect too much on a possible scholarship. He just wanted to show the coaches he could play. The 2015 offensive lineman would receive an offer later in the afternoon, but for now, he just stared at the stadium and imagined what it might be like if he stood on the sideline.

"My face was glued to that window," he said with a laugh. "The stadium was huge. I was in shock, just in awe. It was extremely cool."


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Chad Smith (Sterling, Va./Dominion) sat in front of his father's chalkboard over the spring as the two plotted out the five camps he'd attend.

"Cincinnati or Penn State?" his father asked.

"Penn State," Smith responded.

His father would give the 2015 linebacker/wideout two choices, mark down the favorite and narrow down the list that way. In the end, Penn State came out as the top choice for a camp. (UNC, Virginia Tech, Clemson and West Virginia were the others.) And a few weeks later, PSU assistant Larry Johnson stopped by Dominion to invite Smith to PSU's camp anyway.

So, the decision came full-circle, and his response to Johnson was an immediate "yes." The only thing he really needed to figure out was which position to focus on.


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Penn State's staff spoke to defensive tackle Antoine White (Millville, N.J./Millville) on Wednesday and asked if he could make the 250-mile drive to Happy Valley on Saturday. Despite the short notice and the fact he hadn't attended any other camps, White said he'd try.


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Four-star athlete Troy Vincent Jr. (Baltimore/Gilman) said he's nearing a decision -- but he's not quite done with his visits.

He'll join a college tour hosted by Prime Xample, a DB training center run by his father, former Pro Bowl cornerback Troy Vincent, and Roman Morris, that starts this weekend. And later this month he'll head to three other schools with his family.


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Defensive tackle Jeremiah Clarke (Alexandria, Va./T.C. Williams) took the next step in the recruiting process Tuesday night by announcing his top six on Twitter.

The 6-foot-4, 272-pound lineman said the schools on his short list now include Penn State, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Virginia, Miami (Fla.) and Tennessee. Clarke said in a text he's not yet sure whether he'll visit any of those schools again.

The Virginia product is currently hoping to commit somewhere by the end of the month, so his top-six announcement was expected. He holds 17 offers, and some of the bigger schools left off his top six included Maryland, Nebraska, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

He finished his junior season with 11.5 sacks despite playing six games with a broken left hand. He also had 38 tackles, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, one blocked kick and seven quarterback hurries through 10 games.

According to Clarke, Penn State's staff told him that his playing style was similar to third-round NFL draft pick Jordan Hill.

RN Top 10: D.C. NFTC 

April, 22, 2013
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The RN Top 10 will appear throughout the camp and combine season and rank prospects based strictly on their on-field performance at that particular event. It does not reflect their overall prospect ranking.

ASHBURN, Va. – The East Coast and mid-Atlantic states represented well on Sunday as eight players earned invites to The Opening at the Nike Football Training Camp outside of Washington, D.C. Defense ruled the day, led by two five-star prospects from Virginia.

10. Nick Scott
Fairfax (Va.) Fairfax |RB| 5-11, 180

Scott stood out among a field of backs who were overshadowed by the prospects at nearly every other position. He earned the attention of coaches for his strong play and versatility but missed the MVP award, which went to Vincent Lowe (Chesapeake, Va./Grassfield), who also posted the top SPARQ score.

Scott committed to Penn State in February over an offer from Boston College.

ESPN national recruiting analyst Craig Haubert’s take: “He’s got a great frame, and what I like about him as a Penn State verbal, he’s a versatile player. He may not run by you, but he does a good job in route-running.”


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#BlueChipBattles: ESPN 150 release edition

April, 19, 2013
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Speedy Noil, Adoree Jackson, Da'Shawn HandStudent Sports, ESPN, ESPNSpeedy Noil, Adoree Jackson and Da'Shawn Hand are three of the most coveted recruits in the Class of 2014.
#BlueChipBattles Insider: RecruitingNation summoned its writers from around the country to outline the recruiting battles for the ESPN 150's top 10 prospects.

Plus, rank the battles in SportsNation.

#TopFBMixtapes: Athlete mixtapes are all the rage in this highlight-crazed era of sports. We reached out to our Twitter followers to find out which 2014 football stars had the best highlight reels on YouTube, then had our staff rank and comment on the top submissions.

Tom Luginbill writes Insider: After talking to many coaches across the country and hearing their frustrations, here are their five biggest complaints about homemade highlight videos.
When Ole Miss offered Watch List offensive lineman Quenton Nelson (Red Bank, N.J./Red Bank Catholic) on Monday, the Rebels became the 29th team to extend a scholarship. As of now, all of them are technically in contention for Nelson’s commitment.


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Schools from all over the country are showing interest in a sophomore linebacker from Red Bank (N.J.) Catholic.


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Class of 2014 WR DeAndre Thompkins was a little disappointed to see his recruiting coach, Ted Roof, leave for Georgia Tech -- but Thompkins said Penn State has really shown it cares about him since then.


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Class of 2014 OL Sam Mustipher has his first visit of 2013 scheduled. It's no surprise that it's a football powerhouse.


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More than 150 of the top underclassmen prospects in the country were in attendance for registration to the Under Armour All-America Combine, several of which are from Georgia.

Massive OL looking to visit Wolverines

[+] EnlargeOrlando Brown Jr.
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comOrlando Brown Jr. is looking forward to visiting Michigan and other northern schools.
ESPN 2014 Watch List prospect Orlando Brown Jr. (Suwanee, Ga./Peachtree Ridge) should have no problem finding a place to play at the next level. At 6-foot-8, 370 pounds, the mammoth offensive lineman boasts offers from 36 programs, although he maintains eight of them are at the top.

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Penn State 2015 Class Debuts At No. 3
Craig Haubert discusses recent additions to the Nittany Lions' 2015 class and first-year coach James Franklin's success on the recruiting trail.Tags: Adam McLean, Ryan Bates, Penn State Nittany Lions, James Franklin
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