A day after the bedlam of National Signing Day, it’s time to step back and take a closer look:
• Wide receivers were prominent in coach James Franklin’s first Penn State recruiting class after the loss of star wideout Allen Robinson to the NFL draft.
• Paul Chryst’s Pitt recruiting class of 23 players includes three running backs, including highly rated Chris James, a 5-foot 11-inch, 210-pounder from Chicago. That’s of interest to Erie fans because McDowell graduate James Conner was Pitt’s leading rusher as a freshman in 2013. He rushed for 799 yards, including a Pitt bowl record of 229 in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.
• Michigan State’s recruiting class featured no quarterbacks. That might be because starter Connor Cook is just a junior and Cathedral Prep grad Damion Terry will be a redshirt freshman. Although Cook is clearly the starter entering the season, Terry has generated raves among teammates for his performance at practice.
Coach Mark Dantonio indicated that quarterback was not among the Spartans’ primary needs.
“But, you know, we had a lot of players on the board and we were coming down the stretch, so I think you have to decide which direction you’re going to go sometimes. You only have so many scholarships, and you’ve got to figure out what are your needs,” he said. “I feel very, very comfortable with the three quarterbacks we have right now. They’re all excellent. Obviously Connor Cook had a huge year, but Tyler O’Connor and Damion Terry are two guys I think have excellent ability.”
• Check out videos from the General McLane, McDowell and Cathedral Prep signing ceremonies.
• Old Dominion got a steal in Prep cornerback Felix Manus-Schell, who is a standout on defense, offense and special teams. Watch his highlights video.
• McDowell’s ceremony featured four football players, including kicker Ethan Stark (Albany) and lineman Paul Carpenter (Lock Haven). Carpenter, a 6-foot 1-inch, 220-pound lineman, became the sixth District 10 player to sign with a PSAC school.
Other PSAC signees: Cathedral Prep’s Devonne Barnes and Fairview’s Shannon Jackson committed to IUP, Prep’s J.T. Joint and William Monono picked Slippery Rock, and Grove City’s Foster Reznor signed with Gannon.
•Division III Thiel had success in luring D-10 players. McDowell quarterback Cameron Spadacene and defensive back Austin Dudley picked the Tomcats, as did Girard linebacker/wide receiver Bryan Divido. Thiel also landed Kevin Daly, Oil City’s leading career rusher with 3,221 yards.
• McDowell’s soccer program produced four future college players, including Ryan Huffman, who committed to Mercyhurst University. The Lakers, of course, are one of the premier programs in Division II. Mercyhurst has a roster loaded with international players, and it’s not often that the Lakers sign local players.
Three McDowell girls also signed: Abby Kenski (Youngstown State), Hannah Manczka (Gannon) and Caroline Mashyna (Penn State Behrend).
• Another soccer player, Cathedral Prep student Jake Duska, will play at Division I Michigan. Duska did not play for Prep the past two years while competing with the U.S. Soccer Development Academy team in Cleveland. That’s where the center midfielder drew the Wolverines’ attention.
– Jeff Kirik, sports editor