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Friday, March 1, 2013
NittanyNation mailbag: Next commit?

By Josh Moyer

Welcome to NittanyNation's mailbag! We asked you to tweet or email your questions this week, and we've selected three to answer in-depth -- starting with the question we received most.

Alex Williams writes in an email: Any idea who will commit next in this class? And who are the biggest names that could commit soon?

Josh Moyer: Well, I think there's a few guys to keep an eye on right now -- mainly two who are kind of on "commitment watch." Defensive tackle Jeremiah Clarke was offered on Thursday and wanted to see Penn State on Saturday. (The coaching staff is on vacation, however, so he'll visit in the near future.) His coach used to play under PSU DL coach Larry Johnson, and he counts Penn State as one of his top three schools. I think there was a good chance he would have committed this weekend if a visit was arranged.

The other player is Scranton (Pa.) Prep's Noah Beh, whom I was a little surprised received an offer over the weekend as an offensive tackle. He's a little on the light side at 230 pounds, and that appeared to be the reason PSU was going to hold off. Bill O'Brien changed his mind, however, and Beh told me he's thinking about his next move because PSU has just one open spot at offensive tackle. If he waits, he knows that offer might not stay on the table.

The two bigger-name players that I think PSU has a shot at sooner rather than later is safety Marcus Allen and juco offensive tackle Jermaine Eluemunor. I'm sure PSU's going to apply some pressure to Eluemunor when he visits in two weeks, and Eluemunor said he's never before visited a "real college" or seen an FBS game. I'm sure it'll be hard for him to walk away after he sees inside Beaver Stadium and Bill O'Brien talks about his NFL reputation.

Steven Bench
Steven Bench and the rest of Penn State's QBs would be hard-pressed to match Matt McGloin's touchdown to interception ratio next season.
Jim Murphy (@JimMurphy13) writes: Is it crazy to think PSU could go 9-3 or better next year? Weak schedule, and I think the QB situation will work out fine.

Josh Moyer: I don't know if I'd label it "crazy" after O'Brien was able to lead PSU through a season like last season's -- but I definitely disagree with you on pretty much all counts. First of all, I wouldn't label this schedule any weaker than last season. Central Florida, Syracuse and Kent State aren't push-overs -- and the conference slate provides one bigger challenge. Sure, PSU plays Minnesota instead of Northwestern this season, so chalk up a win that week. But it also plays Michigan.

Not only that, but even if the QB situation does work out all right, it would be an absolute miracle if the new starter was more efficient than Matt McGloin. Let's not forget -- he had 24 touchdowns to five interceptions. That's incredible. And, again, a couple picks bounced right off his receivers' hands. Can a sophomore and two guys who've never played an FBS game before really be better than that? I don't think so. Maybe Steven Bench surprises a lot of people, but a TD:INT ratio like that? I don't know if that's even a best-case scenario.

As far as a 9-3 record, I think 6-6 or 7-5 is a lot more likely. With Christian Hackenberg at the helm in future seasons, I think this season might end up being the hardest for PSU to win. The defense lost three players who will be drafted, and McGloin isn't as replaceable as some people think.

James Kulha writes in an email: What are the chances PSU can land Gateway teammates Anthony Davis and Montae Nicholson? Two of the top DBs in Pennsylvania and fills a team need.

Josh Moyer: I think the odds are very, very low -- only because PSU is recruiting both Davis and Nicholson as safeties. And I doubt you'll see Penn State wind up with two safeties in this recruiting class.

I think there's a decent chance that Davis lands at Penn State because he already has the school in his top three, along with Temple and West Virginia. PSU would clearly prefer Nicholson, but he'll be a harder recruit to reel in since he has so many other options. Gateway will probably have the best secondary in the state this season, and it's definitely a step in the right direction that the Gateway players and coaches like Penn State right now. It's no secret that Gateway's staff wasn't a big fan of the old staff, but that seems to have changed in one quick year.