Penn State Nittany Lions: dorian johnson

Trio of PSU pledges on Big 33 team

January, 13, 2013
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Three future Penn State players -- two commits, one preferred walk-on -- have earned spots on the Pennsylvania team in the Big 33 Football Classic, an annual all-star game that now pits players from Maryland and the Keystone state.

Three-star athlete Zayd Issah (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) will play outside linebacker, while four-star OL Andrew Nelson (Hershey, Pa./Hershey) will be on offensive line. Preferred walk-on Evan Galimberti (State College, Pa./State College) will join him there.

Maryland will not choose its team until next month. The game will kick off on Saturday, June 15 at 7:06 p.m., in HersheyPark Stadium.

The all-star game traces its roots to 1957 and has at times included Texas, Ohio and East Pa. vs. West Pa. This will be the first year Pennsylvania doesn't play Ohio in 14 years; the Big 33 signed a five-year contract with Maryland in late October.

In the last meeting between Pennsylvania and Maryland was in 1992. Pennsylvania won 38-0.

Other familiar names to make the team include Pitt commit WR Tyler Boyd, PSU target LB Chris Britton, Pitt commit (and former PSU commit) OL Dorian Johnson, PSU target WR Brian Lemelle, South Carolina commit RB David Williams and Michigan State commits QB Damion Terry and SS Delton Williams.

The Big 33 has a full roster here.

Hackenberg, Olsen earn UA Game starts

January, 3, 2013
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Black Team offense

Quarterback: Christian Hackenberg (Penn State)

Running back: Alvin Kamara

Receiver: Alvin Bailey (Florida), Robert Foster (Alabama), Damore'ea Stringfellow (Washington)

Tight end: O.J. Howard (Alabama)

Offensive tackle: Darius James (Texas), Denver Kirkland

Offensive guard: Grant Hill (Alabama), Joas Aguilar (Texas A&M)

Center: Hunter Bivin (Notre Dame)

Captains: Kelvin Taylor, Hunter Bivin, Robert Nkemdiche, Ben Boulware

Black Team defense

Defensive end: Robert Nkemdiche, Elijah Daniel

Defensive tackle: Greg Gilgmore (LSU), Kennedy Tulimasealii (Hawaii)

Inside linebacker: Ben Boulware (Clemson)

Outside linebacker: Alex Anzalone (Notre Dame), Matthew Thomas

Safety: Keanu Neal (Florida), Leon McQuay III

Cornerback: Vernon Hargreaves III (Florida), Tarean Folston (Notre Dame)

Black Team special teams

Long snapper: Tyler Kluver (Iowa)

Kicker/punter: Sean Covington (UCLA)

White Team offense

Quarterback: Kevin Olsen (Miami)

Running back: Keith Ford (Oklahoma)

Receiver: Laquon Treadwell, Ryan Green (Florida State), Jalin Marshall (Ohio State)

Tight end: Hunter Henry (Arkansas)

Offensive tackle: Derwin Gray (Maryland), Dorian Johnson (Pittsburgh)

Offensive guard: Patrick Kugler (Michigan), David Dawson (Michigan)

Center: Scott Quessenberry (UCLA)

White Team defense

Defensive end: Carl Lawson (Auburn), Joey Bosa (Ohio State)

Defensive tackle: Henry Poggi (Michigan), Kelsey Griffin (South Carolina)

Inside linebacker: Reuben Foster, Yannick Ngakoue

Outside linebacker: Trey Johnson

Safety: Max Redfield, Antonio Conner

Cornerback: Gareon Conley (Ohio State), Shaq Wiggins (Georgia)

White Team special teams

Long snapper: Brendan Turelli

Kicker: Ryan Santoso (Minnesota)

Punter: Shane Tripucka

Captains: Ryan Green, Hunter Henry, Patrick Kugler, Reuben Foster

#UAGame practice: Day 1 notebook 

December, 31, 2012
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -– Team Nitro and Team Highlight took to the fields at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports on Monday for Day 1 of practice for Friday’s Under Armour All-America Game (5 p.m. ET, ESPN). Two powerhouse programs in the Southeastern Conference look to battle it out for one of the standout running backs, and one of the top uncommitted offensive linemen is out with an injury.

Tide and Dawgs at top for RB Kamara

The Under Armour All-America Game boasts a bevy of talented running backs, and after the first practice ESPN 150 prospect Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) drew comparisons to one of the best.

[+] EnlargeAlvin Kamara
Miller Safrit/ESPN.comESPN 150 RB Alvin Kamara says Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and Georgia running backs coach Bryan McClendon have been key to his recruiting process.
“They say I play like Percy Harvin,” Kamara said.

The 5-foot-10, 192-pound tailback has made a name for himself as a home-run threat out of the backfield or lined up in the slot, which makes it no surprise that programs across the country are pining for his commitment. Two from the SEC are in the lead.

“Alabama and Georgia are the front-runners, but I am still looking at Oregon -- and Tennessee too, with Butch Jones being there now,” Kamara said.

The nation's No. 4 running back has yet to set any official visits, but plans to do so after he gets home from the UA Game. A decision will likely come after his visits.

“This is not going to be a busy month so much as it is just something I need to buckle down and do,” Kamara said. “I am going to take these visits and base my decision off of that.”

One factor in his decision will be the relationship he has with the coaches recruiting him. The Tide could have a slight advantage because they made first contact with Kamara.

“Kirby Smart and I are really close,” Kamara said. “He was the first coach to ever talk to me. He snuck me his card after practice and I could not believe it. For a coach of his stature to be the first coach to talk to me is great. We have been in contact ever since, and we have a great relationship.”

Georgia might counter that with their running backs coach being Kamara’s recruiter of record.

“Coach [Bryan] McClendon and I have a great relationship too,” Kamara said. “With him being my position coach, I could see myself playing for him. We are on a friend level and we do not even talk about football most of the time.”

The in-state Bulldogs also have a few people in Kamara’s ear this week, though he admits they have been putting the pressure on him for quite some time.

“Even when we are not in a big event like this, guys like Shaq Wiggins, Brice Ramsey, even Reuben [Foster], even though he is not committed, are always asking where I am going,” Kamara said. “They are joking, but they are on me pretty hard sometimes.”

Newsworthy: OL Crowder deals with injury, sets officials

ESPN 150 offensive lineman Tyrone Crowder (Rockingham, N.C./Richmond) will be unable to play in Friday's UA Game after aggravating a hand injury he sustained a few weeks ago at the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. While he is disappointed, Crowder said today he is looking forward to the home stretch of his recruitment and choosing from one of two programs.

“It is Clemson No. 1 and Georgia No. 2, and I will decide on signing day,” said Crowder, ranked the No. 2 OG in the country.

The Tigers have been after the 6-foot-1, 330-pound offensive lineman for more than three years now, and they have location and familiarity working in their favor.

“Clemson has been recruiting me since I was in ninth grade,” Crowder said. “I like what they have going on and I have built a strong relationship with them. It is close to home and I have some family close to Clemson. I will take my official there Jan. 11.”

Crowder has not been to Athens for six months, but he has fond memories of his visit.

“Georgia is a great powerhouse team in the SEC,” Crowder said. “When I went down there during the summer I really liked the campus and enjoyed meeting the coaches. I spoke to them two weeks ago and set an official visit Jan. 18.”

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It was only the first day of practice, but Team Highlight (Black team) quarterbacks got off to an impressive start.

Brandon Bell reaffirms PSU commitment 

August, 8, 2012
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Three-star linebacker Brandon Bell (Mays Landing, N.J./Oakcrest) spent about six hours at Penn State on Tuesday to attend practice, sit in on a linebackers meeting -- and reaffirm his commitment.

"I just wanted to take a trip again to see how it was and just tell Bill O'Brien face-to-face this is where I wanted to go," Bell said.

Bell said O'Brien extended his hand and told him, "You and the other guys that stayed are the type of kids Penn State's going to need."

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Video: Penn State losing recruits

August, 8, 2012
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video
ESPN RecruitingNation's Jared Shanker breaks down the status of Penn State's recruiting class after the loss of two players Tuesday, including highly touted four-star offensive tackle Dorian Johnson.
All things considered, there was some positive momentum in Penn State’s corner just one week ago. A few days after the NCAA levied unprecedented sanctions against the program, several of Penn State’s top 2013 commitments reaffirmed their pledges to the Nittany Lions.

There was one caveat in it all, though: Signing day is six months away. The recommitments are still only verbal at this point, and recruits’ emotions change wildly from day to day, let alone six months down the road, especially in a situation such as this one.

Bill O’Brien and the Lions caught a glimpse of that Sunday when three-star in-state wide receiver Will Fuller (Philadelphia/Roman Catholic) decommitted from the Lions in favor of Notre Dame.

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