Despite Controversy, Penn State Remains Active in Recruiting

By Jake Boyle

Penn State’s football program has a lot to bounce back from.  In addition to the Jerry Sandusky scandal, the Nittany Lions recently fell to Ohio 24-14 in their season opener.  Still head coach Bill O’Brien is looking to the future, keeping active in recruiting top talent to come to the school next season.  O’Brien has already received commitments from five four-star recruits, as well as five additional three-star recruits.

Foremost amongst the commitments is quarterback Christen Hackenberg from Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, the top ranked recruit at his position by ESPN.  Hackenberg, a 6-4, 212 pound pocket passer chose Penn State over Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, amongst other top programs.  Joining Hackenberg in State College next season will be top ranked tight end Adam Breneman.  The 6-4, 230 pound Breneman will serve as a solid target for Hackenberg in the future.

Rounding out the four-star recruits for Penn State are guard Brendan Mahon from Randolph (NJ.) High School, offensive tackle Andrew Nelson from Hershey (PA.) High School and Red Bank Regional (NJ.) High School defensive end Garret Sickles.  Most recently, Penn State has received a commitment from three-star corner back recruit Jordan Smith out of Howard D. Washington High School in Washington, DC.

O’Brien and Penn State are additionally in pursuit of some other talented young athletes for their 2014 recruiting class.  They currently have an offer out to linebacker Dante Booker from Akron Ohio’s St. Vincent-St. Mary, while they remain in conversation with Bergen Catholic (NJ.) tight end Garret Dickerson.  The Sandusky controversy and resulting NCAA sanctions has still made it’s negative impact felt, including influencing top recruit Marcus Bell from Westerville (Ohio) South to drop the school from his top five.

Penn State visits unranked Virginia at Scott Stadium this Saturday at noon, EST.

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