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Penn State Football Recruiting: Bill O'Brien In For Strange National Signing Day

When the NLIs start rolling in via the fax machine on Wendesday, Penn St. Nittany Lions head coach Bill O'Brien won't be on the other end to collect them. He's still with the New England Patriots getting ready for the 2012 Super Bowl.

So you can imagine that the incoming Penn State coach is in for a challenge this week.

"It's not a good thing for Penn State," said Mike Farrell, Rivals' national recruiting analyst. "I don't know the inner workings. I don't know if he said, 'Yeah, I'll take the job, but I need this.' And Penn State was desperate. It's not like people were lining up for the job. It's a tough job. But if you're Penn State, selfishly, you had to be hoping New England would get knocked out in the first round. I've said this before -- Penn State fans should've been rooting against the Patriots, to get their coach on campus."

Five high-profile recruits once committed to Penn State have defected in recent weeks and the class has slumped to 46th in some rankings. A lot of that is likely out of O'Brien's control, but the longer he's away, the less impact he can make on the program and its new recruits.

For the latest on Penn State's recruiting efforts ahead of National Signing Day, be sure to stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh.

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