NittanyNation Friday mailbag

December, 14, 2012
12/14/12
9:00
AM ET
Welcome to NittanyNation's first-ever mailbag! We asked you to tweet your questions this week, and we've selected three to answer in-depth -- starting with the question we received most.

Brian Wess (@bwessfootball) writes: What's Penn State's next move for a quarterback? Tyler Ferguson?

Josh Moyer: You hit the nail right on the head, Brian. I spoke with Ferguson and his junior college coach briefly Thursday, and that's exactly what's at play here. Penn State made it clear Jake Waters was Plan A. When that fell through, the staff contacted Ferguson and offered him a scholarship as their Plan B.

Ferguson said he'll commit to a school at some point this morning. He's on the West Coast, though, and plays for Bakersfield (Calif.) College of the Sequioias, so it could still be a few hours. At this point, though, it's pretty clear that Penn State is Ferguson's top choice. Houston already has three quarterbacks as part of its 2013 class, while PSU has just one scholarship QB for the spring. You do the math.

Ferguson's addition would help PSU -- but he's no Waters. Iowa Western's QB threw one interception for every 111 attempts; Ferguson one for every 29 attempts. Steven Bench had a head start against Waters in learning Penn State's pro-style offense, but Bench has to be considered a much higher favorite to start in 2013 now that another quarterback -- likely Ferguson -- is coming on instead.

Tyler Griffith (@tgriff23) writes: So we already have 17 recruits, but only 15 can get scholarships?

Tyler Boyd
AP Photo/Phelan M. EbenhackGetting a wild-card commitment such as ESPN 300 athlete Tyler Boyd would be huge for Penn State's recruiting class.
Josh Moyer: Yup. Don't worry, Tyler, I think I get this question at least every other day so let's try to clear this up. The sanctions definitely make things a little harder to understand, but you're right about the scholarship cap.

For the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 recruiting classes, Penn State only has 15 scholarships to give each class. So what's the catch here then if they have 17 commits? Well, early enrollees can technically count against the previous recruiting class. That's the loophole.

Adam Breneman, Jordan Smith, Anthony Smith and Richy Anderson are all ready to enroll in January. So that means they're all technically part of the 2012 class, which the sanctions don't affect. So take away four early enrollees from those 17, and you get 13. So Penn State actually has room to take on two more prospects who don't enroll early -- and one more than can, I believe.

Justin Miller (@jtown1875) writes: With two spots left for February's national signing day, what positions will they look to fill?

Josh Moyer: See, Justin understands the sanctions' affect on scholarships. (Sorry, Tyler!) And it's a good question; I think we can all assume that PSU will take on a junior college quarterback as an early enrollee, even if Ferguson decides to head elsewhere for some reason -- but that still leaves two scholarships.

Before that quartet committed this past weekend, cornerbacks Deondre Singleton and Myles Willis were receiving a lot of attention. Singleton was actually the only recruit on his official to not commit. I think the most likely course of action is that one of those players ends up a Nittany Lion and then PSU tries to steal Tyler Boyd or David Williams.

Now, if it can't get Boyd or Williams -- two long-shots but very talented prospects -- there are a lot of options left. Penn State has cooled some on Rod Crayton, but he remains an option. Crayton told me earlier this week he's still thinking of committing there ... even though he hasn't heard from the Lions since Larry Johnson called to give a heads-up on Parker Cothren's commitment. There's also Brian Lemelle or maybe even Drew Scales. Another option? Don't hand out the offer at all; keep it for next season or to lessen the burden of getting down to 65 total scholarships.

Once PSU has 19 commitments, No. 20 is definitely a wildcard. There's a lot of choices PSU can make.

Josh Moyer | email

Penn State/Big Ten reporter

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