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Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Penn State picks up commitment No. 15

By Brad Bournival

There are very few schools which are on a roll quite like Penn State is now.

Things started going the Nittany Lions' way when they upset Michigan in a quadruple overtime thriller on Oct. 12.

In the 11 days that have followed, Penn State has seen a boom in recruiting with three more commitments.

That shot in the arm continued Wednesday when three-star inside linebacker Jason Cabinda (Flemington, N.J./Hunterdon Central) flipped from Syracuse and became the 15th member of Penn State’s 2014 class.

In doing so, the 6-foot-2, 221-pound Cabinda joined four-star running back Johnathan Thomas (Danvers, Mass./Saint John’s Prep), who committed Sunday, and  three-star tight end Mike Gesicki (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional), who said yes last Thursday, in Penn State’s latest recruiting coup.

It should be noted that Thomas was a Maryland commit, as Bill O’Brien and his staff have been quite convincing to recruits about the direction the Nittany Lions' program is headed.

Cabinda and Penn State aren’t exactly strangers, however, as the two have flirted with each other for some time now.

The Nittany Lions were impressed with the New Jersey standout at a camp over the summer but didn’t come with an offer immediately.

When no offer came, the inside linebacker chose the Orange in July.

But things got a little dicey for Penn State at the position when outside linebacker Jared Wangler (Warren, Mich./De La Salle) decommitted from the Nittany Lions to join Michigan.

An offer went out to Cabinda, and Penn State was able to get him on campus for the game against the Wolverines, in which he saw an improbable 43-40 four-overtime win by the Nittany Lions.

“The atmosphere before the game was great,” Cabinda said after the game. “How passionate the people were, it was really great positivity. I’ve never been in an atmosphere like that. It was great. I will remember being on the sidelines the most and watching the players warm up and seeing the student section because of the energy it gave me. It made me want to be on that field right then and there.”

Penn State, known for its talent at linebacker over the years, is getting a very good one.

Cabinda’s size makes him a natural in the inside, and his strength and nose for the ball make him very good against the run.

However, it’s Cabinda’s on-field awareness that stands out the most, however, as he is rarely out of position on a play.

With four-star outside linebacker Troy Reeder (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum) joining him in the class, the Nittany Lions have built a solid future at that position.