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Penn State Recruiting And When To Hit The Panic Button

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Jared Shanker of Pennlive.com recently wrote that Penn State fans shouldn't be concerned about the state of Penn State's 2011 recruiting class, still only three players strong.

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Kerner’s announcement, which came on July 7, could be the last for a while. Assuming Penn State signs a class of 15, the Lions would have 12 spots remaining. Those spots won’t just be given to just anyone as the staff continues to look at tape and talk to high school coaches. And the higher-level prospects usually wait until closer to February’s National Signing Day to announce, which is why Penn State’s class might not take shape until January.

At this point, fans shouldn’t be overly concerned with Penn State’s lack of numbers. Wait until January to push the panic button.

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While Shanker is correct in pointing out that Penn State's small class this year should make the lack of recruits to this point  less of a concern, using that as a crutch for some of the other problems that have reared their heads in this years recruiting class is a little off.

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First of all, as Shanker points out earlier in the article, there was rampant speculation in recent weeks over whether Joe Paterno's ailing health was having a negative influence on recruits, but he then glosses over it by pointing out the two recruits the Nittany Lions added a couple weeks ago.

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That's quite a small sample size to be making a sweeping generalization of the mood of the overall class on. The Penn State coaching staff's stability is one of its big selling points. Any time that stability can be called into question, it's a concern. Just because Paterno's health wasn't a deal breaker for Shawn Oakman or Jordan Kerner doesn't mean it won't be a deterrent for other Penn State targets.

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Also missing from the article is the fact that Penn State has been getting handled in areas it traditionally recruits well, including New Jersey, where Pitt has suddenly started to make a push where it rarely had before. 

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And, as Run Up The Score at BSD pointed out June 29, the coaching staff rarely takes the "all hands on deck" approach to recruiting as both Paterno and Galen Hall rarely make recruiting trips any more.

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These concerns, on their own, aren't insurmountable in building a solid recruiting class, but together, they pose a real problem. Is Penn State sunk in 2011 yet? No, but concern over the class is legitimate at the moment, and will only grow the longer the Lions go with so few recruits.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.