Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Penn State Nittany Lions [Print without images]

Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Tales From The Road: Penn State

By Josh Moyer

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Every Wednesday, as part of a RecruitingNation-wide series, NittanyNation will take a closer look at what's going on in the world of Penn State recruiting.

This week's targets: Defensive tackle Ricky Walker (Hampton, Va./Bethel) has remained a priority for Penn State, and assistant coach Charles London -- who handles the Virginia area -- stopped by his school on Tuesday. London's visit came just a week after defensive line coach Larry Johnson visited, and Walker called that kind of contact very important. He's still developing a top five but said PSU was a lock to make the cut.

PSU is looking ahead to the 2015 class already, too, and it has its eyes on linebacker Jake Cooper (Warminster, Pa./Archbishop Wood). Defensive coordinator John Butler will visit Cooper today. Cooper doesn't yet hold a PSU offer, but the Lions are already his top choice -- and PSU likes him a lot.

Area of interest: Delaware isn't usually considered a recruiting hotbed, but the PSU staff has dominated the small state this year. There are just two big-name prospects here -- four-star linebacker Troy Reeder and four-star wideout Chris Godwin -- and PSU already snagged commitments from both.

A lot of people pointed to Connecticut a few years ago as an undervalued area because of RB Silas Redd and LB Khairi Fortt. And Delaware could be the new Connecticut for PSU.

Prospect performance: ESPN's No. 2 prospect, Jabrill Peppers, the high schooler with his own Wikipedia page, had an interesting week on the track. He celebrated a state record by clocking a 20.79-second time in the 200-meter dash -- only to see that record taken away due to a timing error.

According to the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger, a shadow was the culprit of the mistake. Peppers' official time was later announced as 21.37 -- and the 12-year standing record remains 20.93. So, although Peppers didn't grab the record, he still finished first in the Big North Conference United Division Championships.

"So either they didn't want me to have the time I ran or they must've seen a 'shadow' on everybody," Peppers said on Twitter.

Word on the street: This week's question comes from Alex Reilly via email -- "I know Penn State doesn't have a lot of spots left. So what positions is it trying to fill right now?"

Well, Alex, PSU has about four spots left. I think the most likely breakdown here is QB, OT, DT and CB. Defensive back remains a point of emphasis in this class, and it's clear that Troy Vincent remains high on the Nittany Lions. Dravon Henry and Jabrill Peppers are also high on PSU's list, and I get the feeling the staff would take them whenever. But it's definitely going to be a difficult numbers game since PSU's targets at quarterback (Michael O'Connor) and offensive tackle (Noah Beh) are nearing decisions, and could both choose PSU.

What to watch: One event to keep in mind really has nothing to do with football -- but will see plenty of prospects anyway. And that's the 2013 PIAA Track & Field Championships that kicks off at 9.m. Friday, May 24, and continues Saturday at Shippensburg University.

ESPN 150 offensive tackle Alex Bookser (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mt. Lebanon) and four-star safety Montae Nicholson (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway) are among the hopefuls who could qualify for the state meet. Both said they'll find out Thursday.