Tuesday, February 19, 2013
7 Paramus Catholic players to visit PSU
By Josh Moyer
Three Paramus (N.J.) Catholic juniors -- including an ESPN Watch List prospect -- will wake up and hit the road at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday for Happy Valley, while another four are set to visit for an upcoming junior day.
Those seven recruits were all invited to Saturday's official junior day, but cornerback Jabrill Peppers was unable to make it. So he and two teammates -- quarterback Steve Shanley and offensive tackle Juwann Bushell-Beatty -- will instead come up a few days early to check out the facilities and watch some workouts.
Paramus Catholic coach Chris Partridge said the other four hoped to visit this Saturday. However, in a move another high school coach confirmed, the Nittany Lions are in the midst of scheduling a second unofficial junior day to host players. The quartet will attend that instead because they're heading up to UMass this weekend.
"I don't know if all of these kids will be offer-type kids for them," Partridge acknowledged. "But they're all doing well academically, and I think it's just kind of like getting in there and forming a relationship. But we have a lot of talent, and they're doing what they have to do in the classroom."
Here's a closer look at those seven players:
Watch List CB Jabrill Peppers will visit Penn State Wednesday with two of his high school teammates.
CB Jabrill Peppers, 6-foot, 185 pounds: He's the defensive back that every college in the country is clamoring for. His offer sheet reads like a who's who in the FBS: Alabama, Florida, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, etc. PSU is currently on the outside looking in when it comes to Peppers' top five, but getting him on campus now is obviously a move in the right direction. He's the only Paramus Catholic player right now who boasts an offer from PSU.
OT Juwann Bushell-Beatty, 6-foot-6, 320 pounds:He started for just one season and started playing football a little later than most, but Partridge labeled him an "absolute monster." He could be next line for a PSU offer and already has offers from the likes of Florida State and West Virginia.
"What I like about PSU is that sense of family," he said. "When I went up to the PSU vs. OSU game, it felt like the whole stadium was behind them when they played. I like the intensity they play with, and they felt like a huge family."
QB Steve Shanley, 6-foot-2, 200 pounds: He visited Kansas over the weekend and went to Villanova on Tuesday. He's a pocket-passer who'll finish as a 2.5-year starter. (He split time with a senior when he was a sophomore.)
"I'm incredibly interested in Penn State because, first of all, the school is very prestigious," he said. "And when I took a trip there [against Ohio State], the stadium fit like 110,000 people. It was just unbelievable to see how faithful and loyal they are."
DT Nick Flores, 6-foot, 255 pounds: He's a run-stuffer. He finished with 26 tackles for loss last season, with 21 of those coming on running plays. His primary interest is coming from Penn State, Rutgers and UMass right now.
"Growing up, I always liked Penn State," Flores said. "I was always a fan. But when I went up there, the atmosphere was crazy. And the fans were just crazy."
DE Terrance Harris, 6-foot-2, 250 pounds: He's probably as close to a "best-kept secret" that a player at a high-profile program like Paramus Catholic can be. He broke his foot as a sophomore and nursed a dislocated thumb as a junior. The thumb admittedly wasn't a big deal, and he finished with 7.5 sacks and 18 tackles-for-loss on the interior. He said he'll be playing on the outside this year."Well, academics there are definitely first," Harris said about PSU. "The program is developing, too, so that's a plus. It's a good program, and I wouldn't mind playing for a program that's seeking to be a great one. They have a great history."
OG Billy-Ray Mitchell, 6-foot-4, 275 pounds:He's also been the team's long-snapper for two years, so he's pretty versatile. He can play any position along the line, and helped his team average more than 200 rushing yards a game last season. He said Boston College is going after him hardest, with PSU in a close second."I know Penn State has a great tradition, great alumni and are strong athletically and academically," he said. "I just want to go to a place that will set me up to where I can be successful, whether it's football or not football."
OG Alec Bowman, 6-foot-3, 280 pounds: He's an athletic interior lineman who will compete with Mitchell for the starting center job this upcoming season. (The runner-up will still start elsewhere on the line.) Ohio State told him to make it out to their camp so they could see how he fares, but he's still awaiting that first offer.
"Penn State is a great school academically," he said. "They have an awesome reputation, so I want to get up there and meet all the coaches."