Share This Page

Colleges chasing Penn State players, prospects

| Tuesday, July 24, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Belle Vernon offensive tackle Dorian Johnson (left) verbally committed to Penn State last month but did not comment following the announcement of the NCAA's sanctions. Jim Ference | Tribune-Review file

College football coaches wasted no time pursuing Penn State players and committed prospects upon learning that the NCAA sanctions against the university will allow them to transfer and be eligible to play immediately.

One WPIAL observer called it a feeding frenzy, comparing it to vultures circling their prey.

“The conduit they're using is the high school coaches, because they're not allowed to call the kids directly,” said Canon-McMillan athletic director Guy Montecalvo, who coached Nittany Lions linebacker Mike Hull. “I can't get off the telephone, literally.”

Montecalvo said he spoke with Hull, whose father and uncle played at Penn State, after being contacted by a handful of BCS programs to gauge Hull's availability.

“Surprisingly, he's considering it,” Montecalvo said. “That doesn't mean he's going to (transfer), because he's deeply entrenched.”

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney called Penn State's four-year bowl ban and reduction of 40 scholarships over that span lengthy, broad and significant, and said the conference is considering waiving a rule preventing Penn State players to transfer within the Big Ten without sitting out.

“It depends on how committed the players are who are there,” he said, “how willing they are to become part of a future, a new day.”

Belle Vernon senior Dorian Johnson, a prized offensive tackle who chose Penn State last month, remained mum about whether he would honor his commitment. On Monday, Johnson tweeted: “If you plan on calling me/texting me about this today...STILL NO COMMENT.”

Belle Vernon coach Aaron Krepps said Johnson is still committed to Penn State “as of right now,” but added that it will be a “family decision.”

“They're going to have to figure out what's best for him — whether he stays with Penn State or not,” Krepps said. “It doesn't appear they're in any type of rush, and don't want a knee-jerk reaction at this point.

“It's a tough situation for not just the recruits, but also the players and the coaching staff up there — people who weren't involved. I just want to make sure Dorian does what's best for him.”

Clairton wide receiver Tyler Boyd said Penn State “is no longer my top school” but added that he has not completely dropped the Lions off his list. Instead, they have moved to the bottom, behind Arizona, Arizona State, Notre Dame, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

“When I met with coach (Bill) O'Brien, he was really impressive,” Boyd said. “He's the only reason they are still on my list.”

Gateway junior safety Montae Nicholson, who has a scholarship offer from Penn State, said he is “definitely” still considering the Lions despite the sanctions.

“They do have a strong football program, but I think they have a strong academic program, as well,” he said. “But it is my dream, and I would imagine every other high schooler's dream, to play in the national championship or a bowl game. But, in the end, I'm worried about the academics, so I'm not going to shy away from it.”

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at kgorman@tribweb.com or 412-320-7812. Staff writers Chris Harlan and Mark Kaboly also contributed to this report.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.