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Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Defensive commits shocked about Roof

By Josh Moyer

Recruits weren't hearing any rumors about the possible departure of defensive coordinator Ted Roof, and when it was learned he was leaving for Georgia Tech, it made at least one Penn State pledge think twice about his commitment.

Three-star linebacker Jonathan Walton didn't field any calls from Penn State and he received no notice from Roof, who left the Nittany Lions on Wednesday.

Ted Roof
Defensive coordinator Ted Roof is leaving Penn State after just one season.
The PSU commit discovered the news from a reporter's text message, minutes after the news broke on Twitter. Like his fellow Penn State commits, Walton said he couldn't have been more surprised.

"I didn't know at all," the senior out of Daphne (Ala.) Bayside said. "I didn't see it coming. I had no clue.

"It definitely puts some thoughts in my head, but I didn't really have time thinking over everything. I still like the place and everything -- my thoughts haven't changed about the place -- but that affected me in a way because he's my recruiting guy, my defensive coordinator, so it just put thoughts into my head."

Roof was the Nittany Lions' pipeline to the South, a well-known coach around Georgia and Alabama who helped reel in commitments from Walton, Kasey Gaines (Loganville, Ga./Grayson) and Parker Cothren (Hazel Green, Ala./Hazel Green). Gaines and Cothren could not be reached for comment, but other commits shared in Walton's surprise.

Defensive end Curtis Cothran also heard about Roof's resignation from the media. He wasn't as close to the coach and didn't appear nearly as upset as Walton, who already had scheduled an official visit with South Carolina on Jan. 18. But he was shocked nonetheless.

"Yeah, it's definitely taken me by surprise. I had no clue at all, but what are you going to do?" he asked. "You just have to move on, I guess."

When told secondary coach John Butler was promoted, Cothran's voice rose and he grew excited: "He's my recruiting coach!

"He seems like a great guy, and he always seems pretty into it on the field. So, yeah, we have Butler now so I think everything will work out fine."

Linebacker Brandon Bell first saw the news on Twitter. He was confused at first, uncertain what to believe, but as the story picked up and confirmation soon followed, Bell realized his defensive coordinator was gone.

Bell said he mostly spoke with linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden, but said he had a good relationship with Roof.

"You know, it's definitely a shocker. I'm still trying to bring it all in, but I do like Coach Butler," Bell said. "So it's a little better than bringing in a new guy."