College Football

Penn State Class of 2009 (Offense)

Signing day has come and gone and it is time to look at the future of Penn State’s offense. Nittany Lion fans should be happy with where the team is heading as the Class of 2009 is one of the finest Penn State has had in a while, and the offense may have the corp of a future offensive attack that will be a threat in the Big Ten.

Signing day has come and gone and it is time to look at the future of Penn State’s offense. Nittany Lion fans should be happy with where the team is heading as the Class of 2009 is one of the finest Penn State has had in a while, and the offense may have the corp of a future offensive attack that will be a threat in the Big Ten.


Kevin Newsome is already enrolled at Penn State so his story was already written before signing day. Newsome was recruited by offensive line coach Bill Kenney, swaying him away from Michigan and Virginia Tech. With the departure of Pat Devlin the addition of Newsome eased the concerns of many Penn State fans. At 6 foot 3 inches and 217 pounds Newsome is in the same mold as Daryll Clark and Michael Robinson. We all have seen the success those players have had running the offense and Penn State fans are anxious to see how Newsome does in the same offensive scheme.

Newsome presents great arm strength and terrific speed and mobility. Best of all he has accuracy. Newsome should have some good players surrounding him and many may come from the same recruiting class.


Curtis Dukes is the lone running back in the Class of 2009. He may have to wait for his turn in the backfield though with Evan Royster, Stephon Green, and Brandon Beachum all returning next year but Dukes adds great depth at the position. He may get a red shirt year this season but that will only help him in the long run. Dukes is 6 foot 2 inches and 225 pounds and runs a 4.4 forty.

Dukes is another New York recruit for Penn State. It seems that Penn State is really investing in the Empire State in recruiting and it has been paying dividends for them so far. Hopefully Dukes can emerge as a game breaker in a year or two.


The story of the day for Penn State’s latest recruitment class was Justin Brown. (above) The four star receiver from Delaware had originally given a verbal commitment to Rutgers but switched things up and gave Penn State a second look. Yesterday the question was which school would he pick. Penn State fans rejoiced as Brown announced he would attend Penn State. Having already signed all of their original commitments (26 in all) Brown became the icing on the cake. Brown comes in as a player who may make an immediate impact on offense with the departure of Derrick Williams, Deon Butler and Jordan Norwood. Brown is proof that Penn State is starting to recruit taller wide receivers, something that has been effective against them in Big Ten play in the past.

While Brown is the jewel of the incoming receivers Shawney Kersey, Christian Kuntz and Brandon Felder should not be overlooked. Kersey is another receiver who switched from Rutgers to Penn State. Kersey is 6 foot 2 inches and runs a 4.45 forty. Kersey may line up opposite of Brown in a matter of years and helps add some much needed depth at the position. Brandon Felder is very similar to Kersey. Felder, from Maryland, was recruited by defensive line coach Larry Johnson Sr., who owns the state of Maryland when it comes to recruiting. I believe Felder may be a steal in this recruiting season. He missed the entire 2008 football season with a torn ACL and LCL injury. He has dedicated himself to rehab and says he will be ready to make an impact when he arrives at Penn State. Penn State has a history of sticking with high school players through injury, and this is the latest example.

Christian Kuntz may wind up being a player who won’t be the flashy guy but the reliable guy. I see him being the guy who comes in one third and five and picks up seven yards when there is heavier coverage on the primary receivers.

Devon Smith may also see some time at wide receiver but his size may limit him on offense. At 5 foot 7 inches and 145 pounds Smith may be more of a special teams player. He has great speed (4.34 40 time) that could be useful on kick and punt returns, which is why I suspect Penn State recruited him.


Also recruited by Pitt was Penn State’s newest tight end Gary Gilliam. Gilliam is another player who grew up in the shadows of Penn State, playing his high school ball in Hershey. Gilliam was a late bloomer in the recruiting world and schools did not notice him until he attended camps last June. If he can hold on to the ball he may have a shot at some playing time in a year or two.


The success of all of the above players will be dependent on the success of these players. At first glance, those players should be alright.

Offensive tackle was a key position for Penn State this off season and the results show that the depth has been handled very well.

Eric Shrive (above) is the focus of the offensive linemen in the Class of 2009. Shrive is a 6 foot 7 285 pound five star offensive tackle from Scranton. He benches 350 pounds and squats 450 pounds. Kid’s got muscles. Lining up on the opposite side of Shrive in a few years may be Philadelphia’s own Mark Arcidiacono from St. Joseph’s Prep. One recruiting service lists him as a four star offensive tackle. One thing to like about Arcidiacono is that he grew up as a Penn State fan.

Also at offensive tackle is Nate Cadogan at 6 foot 6 inches and 265 pounds. Cadogan is an Ohio native but did not receive an offer from Ohio State. Instead he was given offers from other in state schools like Cincinatti, Ohio, and Bowling Green. When Penn State came calling he jumped on the opportunity. Turning down offers from Michigan, West Virginia and Rutgers was offensive tackle Adam Gress. Gress is a recruit from western Pennsylvania.

In addition to the offensive tackles in the Class of ’09 Penn State is also bringing in a pair of offensive guards and a center. John Urschel and Frank Figueroa will add some depth to the position of offensive guard but may still be a couple years away from starting. At center is Ty Howle, who was one of the early recruits for Penn State. Howle will compete with Quin Barham for the center spot with the loss of A.Q. Shipley to the NFL draft.


All in all this is a very good recruiting class on paper. It is not great but it has the potential to be very effective on the field. In the coming years Penn State should be set at offensive line and quarterback. The running back position is as stocked as it has been in years. Keep a close eye on the wide receivers, with Brown expected to see some action this season.

Coming up in a bit will be a look at the defensive recruits. Penn State had a larger focus on adding depth on the offense this year and it shows. They recruited four more offensive players than defense.

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