O'Brien locking up recruits

Posted by Jeff Rice on January 20, 2012 

When you're hired less than a month before Signing Day, as Bill O'Brien was, going after uncommitted recruits isn't the top priority. Making sure those players who have already committed stay on board is.

O'Brien and his newly appointed staff are doing a solid job with the second part, and a decent job with the first part, too.

Pennsylvania linebacker Nyeem Wartman, Connecticut wide receiver Malik Golden and Maryland defensive end Brent Wilkerson reaffirmed their commitments to Penn State this week, according to multiple recruiting sites. With just about a week and a half remaining until the Feb. 1 Signing Day, the Nittany Lions have commitments from 11 prospects and have tight end Jesse James already on board after he enrolled in classes earlier this month. Three players -- West Roxbury, Mass., Catholic Memorial teammates Camren Williams, a linebacker, and Armani Reeves, a cornerback; and Philadelphia quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg are still considering their options. Penn State assistant coaches Ron Vanderlinden, John Butler and Ted Roof visited Reeves and Williams this week.

(UPDATE: Williams announced his commitment to Ohio State on Friday afternoon.)

The coaches are after other prospects, too. Jordan Lucas, a safety from Worcester, Mass., became O'Brien's first commit this week, and the staff is making late pushes for highly sought players like New York running back Akeel Lynch.

It's unlikely the Nittany Lions will finish with a highly ranked class. But the fact that the vast majority of the players who committed to play for Joe Paterno still want to stay and play for O'Brien is an encouraging sign for the program.

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