Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Bill O’Brien started the month of July off on a high note, receiving a verbal commitment from defensive tackle Antoine White, the 13th commitment of his 2014 recruiting class.
I really like this pickup for PSU and think White will be an excellent fit in the Lions multiple defensive schemes. White is a penetrating three-technique defensive tackle with an explosive get-off. He does a good job using his hands to fight off blocks and get up field to make plays. He does tend to get a little high off the snap, exposing his chest to an offensive lineman’s hands, but practice will, in time, remedy that.
The Lions, with new defensive coordinator John Butler, are trying to bring more speed and athleticism on the field and are attempting to install more nickel and dime schemes. Depth limitations in the secondary forced PSU from using those defenses extensively last year, and with the continuing boon of high powered passing attacks, it hindered the Lions’ pass defense.
With those nickel and dime coverages, you need the few defensive linemen you have on the gridiron to get up field and get to the quarterback. They need to collapse the pocket and force the quarterback into making mistakes. With his impressive repertoire of pass rushing skills, this is where White comes into play, .
Penn State has been very impressive thus far on the recruiting trail. Though I’d expect the commitments to start slowing down, considering O’Brien had indicated he was looking to bring in about 15 or so prospects in this class — now at 13.
What else are the Lions going to be looking for with the few remaining scholarships? Offensive line is still a major priority; the Lions have none as of now. Power running backs like Shai McKenzie from Washington, Pa., and Qadree Ollison are still in play. Defensive end, safety and another defensive tackle are also on O’Brien’s wish list.