Penn State “moves forward” with recruiting in wake of Sandusky and Paterno

Will Penn State have success in recruiting Georgia?

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New Penn State coach Bill O’Brien said he’s “moving forward” with his team’s recruiting efforts in the wake of the alleged Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal and firing of the late Joe Paterno.

O’Brien already has two 4-star commitments for 2013, with QB Christian Hackenberg of Fork Union, Va., pledging to Penn State on Tuesday. The Nittany Lions scrambled last month to sign 19, including QB Steven Bench of Cario High School.

Bench said a few classmates “made jokes” when he committed to Penn State but that generally everybody else was supportive of his decision. Bench and his parents addressed the Sandusky and Paterno issues with the new staff, and were satisfied with the answers. O’Brien has made it clear that he’s a new coach going in a new direction.

“I will say this: We were not at Penn State when that happened,” O’Brien told the AJC. “There’s a lot of special people here at Penn State that are involved in the investigation of what occurred. But we’re here now, and we’re moving forward.

“To be honest with you, we feel great about where we’re at right now with recruiting. We’ve got a real good jump on next year’s class, and we feel like there’s a lot of people receiving us well out there, as it’s related to Penn State football.

“Again, we’ve got a great staff and we talk about the future. We’re not looking in the past. We’re moving forward.”

Bench is just the beginning of Penn State’s relationship with Georgia’s top prospects. The Nittany Lions are making Georgia a priority after hiring Ted Roof as defensive coordinator. Roof was a football star at Georgia Tech and Central Gwinnett High School, and has recruited the state forever. He was Auburn’s defensive coordinator last season and also had a coaching stint at Georgia Tech. O’Brien was an assistant at Georgia Tech from 1998-2002.

New Penn State coach Bill O'Brien:

New Penn State coach Bill O'Brien: "We’ve got a great staff and we talk about the future. We’re not looking in the past. We’re moving forward." (AP)

“We’re going to do what’s right for Penn State,” O’Brien said. “We’re going to go out and find the guys that fit the Penn State profile, which is a good student, a tough and hard-nosed football player, guys that play smart football, and men that understand what it means to be part of a team.

“And whether they’re from Georgia or Pennsylvania, we’re going to find them and recruit them to Penn State.

Ted Roof echoed his boss’s sentiments: “Recruiting is all about relationships and the product you’re presenting. I just happen to know a lot of folks in Georgia and I’ve recruited parts of the state for, I don’t know, 25 or 26 years. After playing high school football in Georgia, I certainly have an appreciation to what football means in that state.”

Here are a few questions with Penn State’s new coach, Bill O’Brien:

  • How much success do you think you will have recruiting against SEC schools in the Southeast? “All we’re going to do is go down there and talk about the things Penn State has to sell, which is academic diversity, a chance to play a great football schedule in front of 108,000 fans, and a great staff. We have guys on this staff that have won four national championships. So we have a lot to sell here. We have a great student body. We’re looking forward to getting out there and talking about Penn State as much as we can.”
  • Your opinion of over-signing? “We’re in the process of evaluating our roster right now. We’re trying to get a real hold on what exactly our needs are for next year. And then, at that point, we’ll make a decision on whether we’ll do what you’re talking about. There’s some definite advantages in doing that. Right now, we haven’t made a decision on whether we’re headed in that direction.”
  • On if he knows anything about the so-called Big Ten’s “gentlemen’s agreement” to not recruit players committed to other conference members that Urban Meyer called “nonsense”? “I don’t get into any of that. You’d have to ask Urban Meyer about that. I just know we’re going to go out and talk about Penn State. We’re going to recruit for Penn State. We think we’re a very unique place here and we’re going to go out and find players that fit what we’re looking for what we’re looking to do. And again, that’s to find kids who will play tough and hard-nosed football and will go to class and get a degree. I don’t know about ‘gentlemen’s agreements’ or anything like that. I just know I’m fortunate to be a football coach at a great place.”
  • His Penn State recruiting sales pitch to Georgia prospects? “We’re a program that is going to do things the right way, off and on the field. We’re a program where guys are going to go to class and get a meaningful degree to do anything they want in this world … We play a great schedule in a conference that is very competitive. If you win the conference, you’ve got a chance to play for the national championship … We’re looking for a certain type of guy. A guy that’s willing to come up here, study hard and play good football. That’s why we’re in Georgia trying to recruit those type of  guys. We’ve got Ted Roof, who is in the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame. We couldn’t have a better guy recruiting Georgia. Like he said, recruiting is about relationships. One of the reasons I wanted to hire Ted is his ability to foster relationships with prospects. Kids in Georgia will get the chance to know him in the near future.”

RELATED: What’s your reaction to Nick Saban declaring this week that he was “happy” to offer four-year football scholarships? Click here to give your opinion

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38 comments Add your comment

Facts

March 1st, 2012
2:20 am

footballfan365

March 1st, 2012
6:08 am

Im willing to bet that before this article about penn st gets 50 comments, some tech fan oops i mean ”alabama fan” will take a shot at uga!

slydog

March 1st, 2012
6:24 am

What else are they supposed to do? Shut down the money-making machine?

slydog

March 1st, 2012
6:24 am

Good article. BTW

RTR14

March 1st, 2012
6:25 am

Good luck to Coach O’Brien dealing with the mess Joe Paterno
and the Penn State top brass left him!! RTR

Dawg Sgt.

March 1st, 2012
6:45 am

I would’ve sent my son to play for Paterno before I ever would’ve sent him to Nick Saban and the Alabama GREYSHIRTS.

Just Saying

March 1st, 2012
7:55 am

I suspect the more successful coach at recruiting the state of Georgia for Penn St will be their OL coach, a former All SEC OL at Georgia, former OL coach at Georgia, GT and Texas, Mac Mcwhorter. Mac’s reputation as a recruiter far exceeds Roof. Still wondering why O’Brien hired Roof as his DC, had to be friendship certainly couldn’t be merit based.

A s long as PS is recruiting the Steven Bench types they aren’t going to significantly impact. Maybe one per year who may choose PS over FAU, Purdue, Toledo. Gentlemen’s agreement, right!!! He needs to undertand how aggresive, ruthless and tireless Urban Meyer is on the recruiting trail, it aint a picnic and O’Brien and staff could be trampled in their own backyard. O’Brien has an almost impossible situation, he is going to need several golden horseshoes positioned in delicate areas.

Douglas

March 1st, 2012
8:02 am

You hire Ted Roof as your DC….Really? The HC doesn’t seem that bright to me. Ted Roof=Willie Martinez: we can’t stop anybody from scoring.

slydog

March 1st, 2012
8:19 am

@Douglas

March 1st, 2012
8:02 am

You hire Ted Roof as your DC….Really? The HC doesn’t seem that bright to me. Ted Roof=Willie Martinez: we can’t stop anybody from scoring.

I’m no Ted Roof fan, but your comparison and logic are baseless. Ted Roof was a successful DC everywhere he has been except Auburn. He had a young defense that was paired with a spread offense designed to score quickly and provide one explosive play after another. Simple: the defense stayed on the field for too many snaps. Then this past year, the QB play totally reeked. Another recipe for disaster. Word is, Chizik wanted to rid himself of Malzahn because he wanted Auburn to get back to a more run-first, defense -oriented team like Auburn teams in the past. Roof just jumped ship early. Willie Martinez 3 + years as DC was not that bad, just not good either. He is better as a position coach. I remember when Ted Roof and Jon Tenuta were both at Tech. They were really good and put a lot of defensive guys in the NFL.

foothills

March 1st, 2012
8:21 am

Maybe B O’B should have made Roof the recruiting coordinator instead of the DC. Douglas may be spot-on with his analogy.

Teddy Roosevelt

March 1st, 2012
8:34 am

I’m willing to bet that before this article about penn st gets 50 comments some uga fan oops I mean kid in high school makes a comment about Tech

Teddy Roosevelt

March 1st, 2012
9:03 am

oh wait…..

footballfan365

March 1st, 2012
9:09 am

Whoa teddy roosevelt that was a good one did you think of that all by yourself?

Gorilla Biscuit

March 1st, 2012
9:10 am

I don’t give a baboon’s patootie about Penn State’s recruiting.

Having said that, recruiter’s in the SEC or ACC for that matter should be able to counter any Ted Roof sales pitch. Unless a kid has family there or just wants to play football in the north, I don’t see them having a great impact.

DDPO

March 1st, 2012
9:45 am

footballfag365:

I think it was a UGA fan who took a shot at Bama first…

Wet Willie...keep on smiling

March 1st, 2012
9:47 am

The intent of the article was the last line regarding what do you think about Alabama and the 4 year deal!
Come on Mike give it a break.Your pitiful much like UGA. Crying bulldawgs 24/7/365.

Give the infor that Rueben was in T-town last night. You got the scoop so let it out. UGA = Auburn…inferiority Complex U.

Big Crimson 75

March 1st, 2012
10:36 am

Should Penn St be placed on some type of NCAA probation for what occurred?
I understand what Sandusky is accused of doing is in the hands of the State Courts — however, should the University receive some type of Probation?
If a booster or Coach pays a Player/HS Coach/Family Member & gets caught — Probation follows.
Why should the Penn St Football Program continue w/o sanctions when, perhaps the 2nd most powerful Coach there at the time, is being accused of Sexual Assault against Minors?….plus, a Cover Up of some kind followed — including Joe Paterno covering up info.
If Fine is guilty @ Syracuse — shouldn’t their Basketball Team face serious sanctions?

I can’t help but wonder if these accusations took place @ Mississippi St – Auburn – Clemson….. would there be on-the-field consequences?

My opinion — Penn St & Syracuse should get SERIOUS sanctions if these “men” are guilty.

Geez

March 1st, 2012
10:50 am

Where’s the story? What school isn’t targeting Ga?

Teddy Roosevelt

March 1st, 2012
11:07 am

Satire is obviously lost on football fan, way to go there champ!

Hey Hey Hey Were The Monkees

March 1st, 2012
12:26 pm

Georgia fans haven’t given a rats hairy patoot about Penn State since the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 1983.

A person SMART enough to know......

March 1st, 2012
12:38 pm

We’re a program where guys are going to go to class and get a meaningful degree to do anything they want in this world

In Other words we will be going to the Private Schools to get smart Black & White STUDENT athletes. The Crowell’s of the great public/government schools of Georgia need not apply.

UGa is going to pay Coeds to sell Hash Browns at games this year. They will be wearing Granny Panties stuffed with orders of Hash Browns walking the Aisles. $4 for an order or $6 if you want them with Cheese.

Big Crimson 75

March 1st, 2012
12:51 pm

No No Smart — they are only a $1.06 — hahahahahahaha

A person SMART enough to know......

March 1st, 2012
1:03 pm

Bi Cri 75 that is in the Tate Center Bulldog Cafe. After the FANS tailgating left 70 tons of trash and pooped and peed in the campus building the FANS are not allowed inside anymore. You know a Water at QT is $.99 but in Sanford it is $4. It is the “Captive Audience” thing. LOL

Hey Hey Hey Were The Monkees

March 1st, 2012
2:04 pm

The folks here would rather comment on shoe styles of the real housewives than Penn State recruiting.

A person SMART enough to know......

March 1st, 2012
2:10 pm

What does anybody from the south know about Penn St recruiting? I know I would pick Penn St just for the on campus creamery and all the ice cream flavors.

Dawg pile

March 1st, 2012
2:15 pm

Smart enough likes his hash browns scattered covered and smothered.

HighTech

March 1st, 2012
2:18 pm

In all fairness, SMART, UGA has a nice campus creamery, too. Hashbrown Girl is banned from there, by the way.

HighTech

March 1st, 2012
2:21 pm

Reminds me of a Van Morrison song….

You my, hashbrown girl. Do you remember when, we used to sing tra la la, la la, la la la ti da, la ti da….

A person SMART enough to know......

March 1st, 2012
2:27 pm

I think that is Brown eyed girl. Some UGa fans with bad eyesight think a bulldog walking away from them is a good looking brown eye girl with bad breath. LOL

Hey Hey Hey Were The Monkees

March 1st, 2012
2:29 pm

Good joke from the yankee from Pedophile State U.

HighTech

March 1st, 2012
3:21 pm

Hey, where did we go
Days when the cops came?
Down in the cafe
Playin’ a new game

Laughin’ and a-runnin’, hey hey
Hidin’ and a-rubbin’
In the misty mornin’ fog
With our, our hearts a-thumpin’

And you, my hash brown girl
You my hash brown girl

And whatever happened
To Tuesday and so slow
Going down the old mine
With a really hot potato

Standin’ in the sunlight laughin’
Hidin’ behind a rainbow’s wall
Slippin’ and a-slidin’
All along the panty’s fall

With you, my hash brown girl
You my hash brown girl

Do you remember when
We used to sing?
Sha la la, la la, la la, la la, l-la te da
Just like that
Sha la la, la la, la la, la la, l-la te da
La te da

So hard to find my way
Now that I’m all on my own
I saw you just the other day
My, how you have grown

Cast my memory back there Lord
Sometimes I’m overcome thinkin’ ’bout it
Pass the salt in the green grass
Behind the stadium
With you, my hash brown girl
You my hash brown girl

Do you remember when
We used to sing?
Sha la la, la la, la la, la la, l-la te da
(Banned from the cafe!)
Sha la la, la la, la la, la la, l-la te da
(Bit by bit by bit by bit by bit by bit)
Sha la la, la la, la la, la la, l-la te da
(Sha la la la la, la la la la, la te da, la te da, la te da, da da da)
Sha la la, la la, la la, la la, l-la te da

DDPO

March 1st, 2012
5:14 pm

Very witty reply by HighTech…

seabass

March 2nd, 2012
10:17 am

Techster

March 2nd, 2012
2:28 pm

Other than the fact that O’Brien and Roof were, respectively, a former Tech coach and Tech player in the past, would someone please tell me what makes this story remotely worthy of being a “feature article” under GEORGIA TECH RECRUITING? Tech fans are like UGA fans to the extent that we are interested in who is attending Junior Days, who gets offered, who is leaning this way or that way, when Richt goes to see his prospects in church or jail, etc. UGA gets a heapin’ helpin’ of that. On the other hand, Tech fans get asked stupid, rhetorical questions like do we think Penn State will recruit well in Georgia. The closest relevant thing to Tech recruiting I have seen lately is the story that a lineman THOUGHT ABOUT – AND – ALMOST committed. Wow! That is some pretty serious stuff! Thanks for the being on top of that, AJC!

Really?

March 2nd, 2012
3:54 pm

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