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Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Rhaheed's recruitment picking up steam

By Josh Moyer

Sharieff Rhaheed had never before heard from Penn State -- a university 1,100 miles from his Fort Pierce (Fla.) Central High School -- so he wasn't really expecting a call from the Nittany Lions last week.

But safeties coach Anthony Midget, who recruited his older brother, gave him a call to gauge his interest. The staff couldn't offer many scholarships, he told the outside linebacker, because of the sanctions. They didn't want to bother with prospects whom they didn't have a chance with.

So, Midget asked him, what did he think about Penn State?

"I told him, 'Yeah, Coach. It's Linebacker U,' " Rhaheed said. "Their head coach is from the NFL -- he coached Tom Brady -- and they have a lot of linebackers in the NFL. So I'm really interested there."

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound prospect has picked up seven offers since Feb. 1, and he claims one from Penn State despite not yet speaking with Bill O'Brien. Most schools, such as Penn State, are looking at him as an outside linebacker, but those same schools also told him that he could play defensive end if he gains about 20 pounds.

Rhaheed said he doesn't care what position he plays -- and he's not yet certain where in the country he will play. He hopes to make his college choice by the end of the summer, so he can see where he'd fit best on his college team and so he knows whether to gain weight or keep it steady.

His older brother, Inuka Rhaheed, also advised him to decide sooner, because he waited too long himself and lost a BCS scholarship during the process. Sharieff wants to learn from his brother's mistake.

"He told me to commit, not to think I can necessarily hold out for better offers," Sharieff said. "So I'm thinking I might even do it in the spring."

Sharieff's recruitment is starting to gather steam, as he added two offers just since the weekend. Central Florida extended an offer Saturday, and Memphis offered him a full ride Monday. He also boasts offers from the likes of LSU, Louisville and Ole Miss.

He said he doesn't yet have any favorites, because he's waiting for more offers -- and he's hoping to go on a trip with his high school team, when they tour schools along the East Coast. If he does visit Penn State, he said it likely will come then. Since Fort Pierce Central stopped by colleges like Cincinnati and Bowling Green in the past, he's hoping Happy Valley might be included in those plans.

"Prestige doesn't really matter to me," he said. "I just want to find somewhere where I can win and go to a bowl game every year. And I definitely have to like the coaching staff."

But where does Penn State stand then with their sanctions and bowl probation until 2016?

"The bowl game is a major factor," he acknowledged. "But it depends what I want to accomplish. I'm pretty sure they're going to be off the sanctions by my sophomore year. So it kind of depends.

"They're Linebacker U, so it depends on how they can help me get to the NFL. I could definitely consider them a lot because they have linebackers in the NFL."