Monthly Archives: February 2008

The Baker we don’t know

Mark Viara of the Daily Collegian has an interesting read on (former) Penn State defensive tackle Chris Baker in today’s edition.

Baker is set to meet with Judicial Affairs today to discuss further punishment for his role in two fights during the season last year.

But the story isn’t about the fights per say, it’s about the Chris Baker that Chris Baker hopes we all get to know.

“You probably think of some guy who’s been going around beating up innocent people. That’s not me; I’m a good guy. I go to church. I like to be around people. I’m not a violent person. I’m a nice person, and people have a different perception. People just think I’m just a big, black thug. And that’s not what I’m like.”

Baker has a long way to go to repair his reputation regardless of who he is. And the most important person he has to impress is of course Joe Paterno.

Does Baker come back? Who knows? There is a slight chance, but it doesn’t look that good right now. Paterno said at his day after Alamo Bowl get together with the beat writers that Baker was a good kid and he thought he would be OK.

Baker doesn’t think he’s been treated fairly in the whole ordeal. Maybe he hasn’t by Centre Co. DA Michael Madeira, who has long clashed with members of the football team over various incidents, and hardly had success, but I get the sense his gripe is about how the football team has treated him.

Seems like receiver Derrick Williams has treated him just fine.

“Baker said he has remained close with teammates and has grown particularly closeWilliams with wide receiver Derrick Williams. In fact, Jackie Baker said Williams, at one point, called the family’s Connecticut home to personally apologize and express sympathy for their situation.” 

Seems like Williams is making it a point to be a player spokesman, or possible show leadership qualities.

I can tell you I’ve been a fan of Williams, not as the player, but more the person. He’s always cordial with the media, very soft spoken, his parents are stand up people and nice to talk to and teammates have talked about how he is as a leader. That bodes well not only for Williams, but for Penn State if they have a standup type of kid to be a leader, ala Williams and Sean Lee.

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King tears through 40; Another take on Pryor

Maybe his decision to come out was the right one after all?

Never the less, former Penn State cornerback Justin King torched the 40-yard dash today at the NFL combine, running a 4.31 according to NFLDraftScout.com.

'memba the Gateway days?While no one doubts that King has the tools to make some lettuce at the next level, when he announced he was coming out, most figured the NFL would take a flyer on him based purely on potential.

The website also reports that King had a vertical jump of 40 inches.

IE: He’s rapidly moving up the draft charts. A good sign considering how he struggled at times in coverage against bigger receivers.

The website also said King could very well be one of the most impressive athletes in the draft.

The Daily Pryor

Not sure how reputible this blogger is, but there’s another take on the Terelle Pryor/South Fayette debacle.  (click here to read Mike White’s account in case you need a refresher on what happened)

Take this for what it’s worth.

Here’s my question to the blogger who wrote this, how did you hear every single word Pryor said during the game? Were you on the floor, did you ref the game? I can’t take this as credible unless you key me in on how exactly you heard everything.

And as other reputable outlets (namely, Mike White from the Post-Gazette) wrote, did you hear the South Fayette fans taunting him and throwing racially motivated names and words at Pryor during the game?

Fact is, it would appear the website she posted this on is nothing more than a glorified fanboy type of site where people can write what they want whenever they want to. Kinda dumbs down the journalism profession doesn’t it?

I mean if anyone can just go ahead and do this stuff, why did I bust my ass in college all those years to get where I am today (which isn’t saying much, but you get the picture.)

This from Post-Gazette writer and friend Colin Dunlap via email on this topic:

“Here is the truth:

This is more of a socioeconomic issue than anything else.

I have seen it a million times at high school events. Kids who grow up in upper-middle to upper class situations feel as if they can say things without reprocussion and, truth be told, they act like tough guys in the safety of all their friends. Then, some kid who didn’t grow up with the same advantages in life (and more than likely has been in a fight or two in his life) calls the loudmouth kid’s bluff and the kid, who had up until that point been a really big tough guy, doesn’t want anything to do with any sort of action…he just wants to yap and gets exposed.  

The lesson learned here is simple — you keep talking and talking and talking and, eventually, you are going to run into a dude who is tired of listening and who would rather punch you in your mug to settle things.”

How does Ms. Silko know that Pryor was serious in his threats, or if “killing you” simply refers to dropping 24 and 21 on a team and then rubbing their nose in it afterward? If I had a speck of the talent that Pryor does, I’m pretty sure I’d let everyone else know it too.

What drives me nuts is citizen journalists….yeah you out there the cheapies that get your pen and paper and write a note or “cover” something and think you are John Q. Journalist because it’s the hip or trendy thing to do. I don’t pretend to know Terrelle Pryor, but I know plenty of writers and credible journalists who do, and they all tell me that it wasn’t like Ms. Silko’s blog suggested it was.

(10:36 p.m. update)

We’ve actually contacted the girl we think is the author of this blog to get some comments about what she allegidly saw. Further backing up my point about Mike White’s story compared with this one is a post on the BWI fourms.

The gal also doesn’t mention that two South Fayette Reply


students were taken from the stands by police. I wonder what they did that was bad enough to get themselves ejected (and from what I hear one was arrested for laying his hands on the cops escorting him out).

This article acts like the incident was all Terrelle’s doing. Didn’t sound that way when I read the original story in the Post Gazette.

Keep in mind that the author’s brother is a South Fayette student and I think that you might conclude that this probably isn’t an unbiased report.

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Pryor news, walk-on to PSU

Terrelle Pryor took an unofficial to Columbus yesterday, and guess what, it was the top story on Fox News.

OK that’s a little much, but Pryor did visit the school many still believe is the place he will land and also his favorite.

Anywho, Pryor, who apparently has a pretty good text message plan with his cell phone service provider, sent Rivals.com recruiting guru Mike Ferrall a message late Sunday.


“This is why I didn’t want to come up here for the basketball game,
because I knew the press would be all over it,” said Pryor via text
message late Sunday afternoon. “I don’t want a billion phone calls.”

Pryor took the visit with Jeanette teammate Jordan Hall.

“I don’t really want to comment on the visit because then everyone will keep calling,” he said via text. “This is my quote — I went to Ohio State with Jordan and hung out with Brewster and Shugarts and talked to coach Tress a bit. That’s it and we went to the game and the atmosphere was nice.”

Pryor still lists the Buckeyes, Penn State, Michigan and Oregon as his four schools with no clear leader, but a source indicated to Farell in the story that Ohio State is still where he will end up.

Read into it what you will, but the Rivals story said Pryor did not indicate whether or not he would still visit PSU. Hmmmm…

We’ll see.

Speaking of everyone’s favorite “wait and see” football player, did you happen to catch what he did to Beaver Falls in the Class AA finals of the WPIAL basketball tournament? Ooohfah.

39 points, 24 rebounds, 10 blocks and six assists. Um, yeah that’s pretty good.

If you want to listen to an archived broadcast of the game, you can do so right here.

Columbia player to walk on at PSU

It’s a bit late, but covering ungodly amounts of high school sports cuts into ones time this part of the calendar.

Anyways, Penn State got a walk-on from Columbia high school in District 3, you can check out that story here.

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What Charlie Batch have to do with this mission?

It’s something I’ve been thinking about since Terrelle Pryor announced he was turning to Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch for advice.

Charlie Batch What does Charlie Batch have to do with anything?

And why Charlie Batch?

Pryor told the Post-Gazette in his online journal on Jan. 11 that Batch is dating a relative, and he’s known him for a while, but lets review Batch for a second.

Here’s a guy that played at Eastern Michigan, was damn good there actually, prompting Sporting News to ask “Who the hell is Charlie Batch? in their NFL draft preview for that years draft, but what does Batch bring to the table, other than putting himself out there and attaching himself to a kid that may turn out to have a better career than he ever dreamed of?

It seems a little fishy.

It seems like Batch is using Pryor to get noticed again. I hate to be that blunt, but if Pryor went to say Chad Henne or even Anthony Morelli for advice (bad comparison, I know because we know they’d sway  him one way), it would be different.

If Ray Reitz went to Henne’s former HS coach Jim Cantafio for advice how to handle things, that would be different.

Charlie Batch?

Recruiting Notes

Pennsylvania’s best quarterback option has an offer on the table from Michigan, which begs the question, has Michigan given up on getting Pryor since they are offering cannon-arm Tom Savage from Cardinal O’Hara.

Is Rich Rodriguez giving in to this season, basically saying they will go 6-6 and is he giving scout.com photointo his spread style offense if he cannot land Pryor? Something doesn’t add up that Michigan would offer Savage when they are going after Pryor, does it?

Savage is a strong armed, 6’4, 220-pound drop back passer at O’Hara, he is more the mold of Chad Henne than he is a Pat White or spread style quarterback from what we can guage.

Savage is also hearing from Penn State (obviously), and Stanford and Georgia, Miami is also apparently interested. And I’d guess that he goes wherever Pryor doesn’t. So if T.P. takes his show to Penn State, Savage isn’t going there, make sense?

  • PSU among those looking at Stokes: Blue White Illustrated’s Sean Fitz reports that Northeast (Phila.) wide receiver Je’Ron Stokes has been offered by PSU. Stokes per the story is the 34th ranked player in the country by Rivals.com and has offers from PSU, Michigan State, UConn, Iowa, Illinois, etc.
  • DeaconIllustrated reports that receiver Brandon Scott likes the Nittany Lions.

It’s a good sign that receivers want to attend PSU…..because, um, well they need some.

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Live Blog (3:43 PM)

(3:43 PM update): Two more letters, Brandon Ware and Mike Farrell have arrived at the Penn State football office, according to GoPSF.com.

That will do it for the recruits coming in.

We’re staying on top of the Pryor sweepstakes as best as possible, and in the interest of time, and a hectic work day, that’s going to do it for the live blog. We’ll have more updates later on tonight if they are warranted.

And we will be back tomorrow with more analysis as well as a quick glimpse of who’s up in 2009 for Penn State.

________________________________________________________________

(3:13 PM update): Cory Lewis has picked Illinois, according to a report in the Allentown Morning Call.

That means Penn State has indeed lost out on receivers Deion Walker and Kenny Tate, Lewis and running back Michael Shaw. Tate made his intentions known last week, Walker, Lewis and Shaw were either expected to commit to PSU or had them in the running late.

But it begs the question. As a fan, would you rather devote your time to getting these guys or lure Terrelle Pryor? (hit me up at ethomas@cumberlink.com if you desire to answer that)

Scout.com recruiting analyst Bob Lichtenfels, who is in Chicago for work on the Big Ten Network took some time from his hectic schedule to check in with me and give his take on Penn State’s class.

“Terrelle Pryor is the best player in the country, and the best player to come out in the last 5-8 years. That’s more important than losing one running back when you have another coming in and a wide receiver when you already have plenty,” Lichtenfels said.

Lichtenfels, who is as close to Pryor as any recruiting analyst or media member out there also said he feels the Jeanette superstar doesn’t have a favorite right now, and isn’t leaning one way or the other.

ESPNU analyst Todd McShay said on television this afternoon that Pryor, under no circumstances, should even visit Oregon, despite the quarterback’s claim that he would go out there at some point for a visit.

“The plane’s going to be a little low on fuel that day,” McShay said on the network.

As for Penn State’s class in general, Lichtenfels says they are in the middle of a crowded Big Ten pack.

 

“I still say they are mid-Big Ten,” Lichtenfels said. “Ohio State and Michigan are running away with it, and then you have Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota and then (Penn State) before Iowa and Northwestern.”

For more analysis from Lichtenfels and other recruiting experts, see tomorrow’s Sentinel.

 

________________________________________________________________

(1:22, bad news update): Ohio running back Michael Shaw has just announced he will attend Michigan, choosing the Wolverines over Penn State.

Shaw gave a verbal to PSU back in August of last year, but earlier this morning at a 10 Am news conference said he would wait until 1PM to make his announcement.

Two of Shaw’s Troutwood-Maidson teammates, Brandon Moore and Roy Roundtree both signed LOIs to play for Michigan earlier in the day.

Big loss for PSU.

________________________________________________________________

(12:47 update): Just got done listening to Pryor’s presser, I am cutting up audio from that and hope to get it up after 1PM.

Basically the jist of it, because of the long football season and basketball starting right after, Pryor feels like he hasn’t had much time to devote to each school evenly.

He more or less stated that he wanted to pick Ohio State today, his dad said to give PSU a chance and he had a TON of positive things to say about PSU, including that he feels “really comfortable with them,” and that coach Jay (Paterno) has a nice scheme developed for him.

We’ll have more in a few. We’re also awaiting word on Michael Shaw, who is expected to announce at 1 PM between Michigan and PSU.

Couple of quick notes over the last hour.

* Colleague Jeff Reinhart of the Lancaster New Era was at Manheim Twp. today and talked to kicker David Soldner, who will walk on at Penn State. Soldner picked the Lions over Temple.

*Colorado just got running back Darrell Scott. HUGE get for the Buffs, especially since Texas was the other favorite to land him without Jamal Charles in the mix.

* This from Tom Lemming via CSTV: “It’s now a tug of war between Ohio State and Penn State,” -On Pryor.

Again, questions, comments, anything, email me at ethomas@cumberlink.com

_______________________________________________________________

(11:36 update): We’re 24 minutes away from Pryor’s presser at Jeanette, we’ll be stepping aside to catch the feed of that when it goes down, then be back afterward to report all the goodies and updated info.

For now, Rivals.com actually conducted a one-on-one interview with Pryor, at his home, before school this morning.

Among the highlights from the interview.

Pryor said he hates the attention and “talking to people,” whatever that means.

Also that today he would “try to do some school work, deal with the media go to practice then get out of there.” Good luck young man.

The guys I want to hear from? Colleagues Mike White and Colin Dunlap from the Post-Gazette. Why, you ask? Because Pryor has been writing a journal for them from time to time throughout this entire thing, it appears the PPG will get the story when it happens, then last night happens.

________________________________________________________________

(11:17 update): A couple of newsworthy posts, comments, from the last half hour or so.

East Stroudsburg lineman Cory Lewis is making his announcement at his high school at 3PM today, and early indication is he’s expected to pick Illinois.

It was thought that Lewis could be a late addition to the PSU class, but now it appears he is Illinois bound.

* Pitt has actually LOST a recruit, according to Kevin Gorman of the Tribune-Review.

* Here’s an interesting take on Terrelle Pryor.

* In a move that slipped under the radar this morning, receiver Deion Walker signed and sent his LOI to Notre Dame. You’ll recall late last night Walker was considering a possible switch to Penn State. Not the case now.

* BWI is reporting that both tight end Mark Wedderburn and offensive lineman Deon’tae Pannell have signed and faxed their letters to Penn State.

* Here is the latest update from Fight On State.

So here’s PSU’s day in a nutshell so far. They won’t get Walker, they likely won’t get Lewis, it’s very possible Michael Shaw isn’t coming now, yet they are the reason Pryor is delaying his commitment and should now be considered even (at worst) with UM and OSU in the Pryor sweepstakes.

And the day is still young….

________________________________________________________________

(10:42 update): According to BWI, Celina, Texas safety D’Anton Lynn has signed and faxed his LOI to Penn State.

_______________________________________________________________

(10:34 Update): This from ESPN’s expert, Tom Luginbill, who said he believes Pryor will still sign with the Buckeyes.

He said Pryor should feel much more comfortable signing with OSU since he doesn’t have to in there and be the savior right away.

Well, Tom, he doesn’t have to at PSU either. Luginbill did say PSU has “crept” back into the picture with Pryor, but failed to offer anything new to the situation.

Afterall PSU is the reason why he is delaying the announcement. I’m amazed that these “national guys” either don’t read or aren’t with the program…..

Luginbill also offered this nugget, that running back Darrell Scott “could come down to Colorado and Texas.” Really? That was made known close to a month ago.

Luginbill said Florida, Clemson and Alabama have made the most impact so far and had high praise for Miami as well.

_______________________________________________________________

We’ll be here all morning and afternoon until around 5Pm to bring you as much updated recruiting stuff as possible.

We’ll mix in mostly PSU stuff, Terrelle Pryor news and also some thoughts on the Big Ten itself.

And we’re hoping to get an expert or two later on.

First things first.

Blue White Illustrated is reporting the following have signed and faxed their LOIs to Penn State already this morning (7AM is the first time you can do so today): Jack Crawford, Mike Zordich, Pete Massaro, Jack Crawford, Matt Stankiewitch and A.J. Price.

You can view the BWI commitment board via this link, while Fight On State’s board is right here. They will both be updated constantly as recruits fax their letters in.

Questions, comments, whatever, direct them to ethomas@cumberlink.com. I’ll answer ASAP.

DEVELOPING…

There is a huge story coming out of Ohio, where running back Michael Shaw, who had initially given his verbal commitment to play for Penn State, has just informed fans in attendance as his presser that he has NOT made a decision between PSU and Michigan.

If the Lions were standing to lose a player today, Shaw was it. On a visit with a teammate to Michigan, Shaw was evidently being wooed by said teammate to flip his commitment.

Per Nate Bauer from BWI just minutes ago….

10:10 a.m.

Shaw announces that he hasn’t made a decision but he will make an announcement at 1 p.m. He is too conflicted and has not made a choice yet.

Unreal.

PRYOR TO FIELD QUESTIONS

In what has gone from a near certainty to officially insane, Jeanette quarterback Terrelle Pryor will still field questions at a news conference at his high school at noon.

We’re going to try and bring you some audio from this presser.

Why hold it? To announce there is no decision? It’s interesting and you have to wonder what people’s views on Pryor will be.

According to the Post-Gazette, which maintained in their story for today’s edtion that Pryor would sign and likely with Ohio State, Pryor said Penn State is “creeping up on him.”

A great sign for the Nits as I wrote for today.

 

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(2:55 AM update) Gut feeling? Pryor and PSU mix

Forgiving deadlines can be a wonderful thing.  

Call me crazy, ask for a sample to be tested, but things are adding up to a Terrelle Pryor sighting at Beaver Stadium over the next four years…..and no, not as an opponent either.

Look, here’s what I feel about this situation, and it’s not meant to be directed in a negative way towards Ohio State or Michigan. I like both of those programs, they are fun to watch, but to me, PSU and Happy Valley is just a better fit.

The argument for PSU is simple. If Pryor isn’t concerned with starting all four years, if he doesn’t have to be in a spread offense or that zone read type of offense, if there is no pressure with him playing, that plays into PSU’s favor.

At Ohio State and Michigan, he is *the* guy. No ands ifs or buts and he could be exposed to a whole differnet animal.

Honestly, in my opinion, he needs a place where things can slow down, he can calm down, breath in college football, learn a system, read defenses better, be guarded in a way, not over exposed, not given the world without having to prove himself ready to handle it.

It just fits that Penn State is a better fit to me, than the other two.

The bottom line is this, the longer this drags out, the better it is for PSU. We all understand that. I just feel for Pryor and his family, a slow down is in prime order and PSU is the place that can happen.

Now there are questions….

What happens to Pat Devlin and Daryll Clark. There are loyalty concerns if the coaches chose Pryor over the other two.

But there is something else we just don’t know yet. What went on with Joe and the coaches during their visit to Pryor last week? Was some sort of plan laid out that Pryor would ultimately be playing for Tom Bradley for the duration of his career?

Some speculate that Pryor would be at PSU now if Bradley was the head coach because of their close relationship.

Did the PSU presentation give Pryor that much of a secure feeling that he called JayPa last weekend to go over some things offensively??

It’s all got to sort itself out soon and it’s late, I’m probably rambling, but my gut tells me those in Nittany Nation will be happy in due time with Pryor’s choice.

Here’s the links to tonight’s Pryor activity.

Pryor to chose today (Post-Gazette)

Pryor texts Mike Farrell of Rivals to say he isn’t signing (Rivals.com)

Pryor 100-percent not signing today (Trib-Review)

LOI Day Resources

Rivals Signing Wire

Scout.com rankings

We’ll be checking in throughout the morning and day (up until it’s time to cover hoops at night for our the other beat) with news and notes. And likely more on Pryor.

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Quick Tuesday night update

Scout.com national recruiting editor and SuperPrep founder Allen Wallace took time out from his insane schedule to give me 10 minutes tonight. Among some of the things he said regarding, “you know who”…..

No. 1 on everyone's list

 “I don’t think he’s going to go to Penn State. That would be one of the all-time shockers. That would be one of the most deceptive stories in recruitring since he’s been talking Ohio State and Michigan for months.

“He’s never given any real indication that Penn State would be the school he’d choose. Just because a kid grows up in Pennsylvania doesn’t mean he will stay in state. The Penn State coaching staff shouldn’t be judged because they can’t bring in Terrelle Pryor.”  (I very much agree with this idea too)

“I think (Penn State) has a pretty good idea of quarterbacks set as possibility for them next year,” Wallace said. “They wanted E.J. Manual too but I think for Penn State it’s not absolutely necessary to reel in Terrelle Pryor. The school that it is necessary for is Michigan.”

“It’s the classic recruiting question. This begs every question. System vs. system, rivals, Ohio State and Michigan, it’s amazing. There’s never been a recruit I’ve been aware of since I started back in 1985 that has captured this much attention, and strung it out.”

Wallace has Alabama his top school right now, followed by Notre Dame, Florida, Georgia and Miami.

We’ll be up super early in the morning to go over everything National LOI day.

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