Penn State Nittany Lions: Danny Woodhead

Bill O'Brien knew he wanted to focus on Penn State's run-on program months before the sanctions even hit.

He spent winters in New England watching Danny Woodhead and Wes Welker -- two unheralded players out of high school -- and saw them improve and contribute more as the season wore on. Forget recruiting rankings. Forget the pack mentality. O'Brien thought he could find some diamonds in the rough as run-ons, relative unknowns who could help this team win.

When those sanctions did finally hit, leading to fewer scholarships, O'Brien knew the run-on program would be more important than ever. His staff hit the recruiting trail hard and followed every lead it could.

This staff's effort helped uncover prospects such as prep quarterback D.J. Crook, who emailed the staff without any expectation he'd get a response. And, with the help of recruits like Crook, O'Brien is hoping to ensure this program remains one of the country's best.

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Q&A: Mark Allen, PSU's first 2014 commit 

October, 17, 2012
10/17/12
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Tailback Mark Allen (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha Catholic) became the first member of Penn State's 2014 recruiting class Monday night, and he recently talked to NittanyNation at length about his commitment and upcoming visit.

The Nittany Lions were the first to offer the 5-foot-7, 185-pound prospect -- and the PSU fan said that was the offer he wanted most. He committed on the spot Monday night, and he said that day is now permanently etched into his memory.

NittanyNation: So what was Tuesday like at school? Was your Penn State commitment still kind of a secret, or did everybody know by then?

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