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Clairton standout Boyd sours on Penn State

| Monday, July 23, 2012, 11:38 p.m.
Clairton's Tyler Boyd scores against Southern Columbia during the fourth quarter of the PIAA Class A state championship game Friday December 16, 2011 at Hersheypark Stadium. (Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review)

Tyler Boyd is one of the most sought-after high school football players in the country.

And at the top of Boyd's long list was Penn State … until yesterday.

With sanctions being levied against Penn State by the NCAA that include a four-year ban from playing in any postseason games including bowls, the Clairton four-star recruit has moved the Nittany Lions to the bottom of a lengthy list.

“Penn State is no longer my top school,” Boyd said. “I have not completely dropped them off list, but they are at the bottom.”

It is highly unlikely that Boyd will choose Penn State with a hefty list of top Division I talent already interested, including Wisconsin, Arizona, Arizona State, Notre Dame and West Virginia.

Boyd said that the main reason why he hasn't totally discarded Penn State was because of head coach Bill O'Brien. Boyd made an unofficial visit to Penn State in February and was impressed with the new coach.

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

Boyd led the WPIAL in rushing and scoring with 2,400 yards, 47 total touchdowns and 316 points and was named the state's Class A player of the year by The Associated Press this past season as well as being named the Daily News Offensive Player and Athlete of the Year.

Boyd has been an integral part of a Clairton team that has won 47 consecutive games including three straight WPIAL and PIAA Class A championships. Boyd is 47-1 during his high school career.

Boyd has yet to take any of his official visits.

McKeesport coach Jim Ward, who routinely deals with the recruiting from top Division I schools, feels that the ban will ultimately hurt Penn State regardless of O'Brien being well-liked by players.

The reason? Bowl games.

“It is quite important,” Ward said. “They can't hide that. Kids want to play on the big stage and play on New Year's Day, and Penn State can't provide that opportunity right now.”

Ward has sent five players to Division I schools in his short time at McKeesport.

Branden Jackson and Delvon Simmons went to Texas Tech two years ago, T.J. Neal to Illinois this year and Eddie Stockett to Akron and Hodari Christian to West Virginia for next year.

Ward said he would not turn away kids from Penn State if they were interested.

“You have to make the kids aware of what the sanctions are and what they would miss out on so they are informed enough to make a decision they end up regretting,” Ward said. “The kids coming in are going to miss on quite a bit. Competing for championships is what they all want to do.”

Penn State freshman Jesse James, a South Allegheny graduate, doesn't plan on transferring despite no chance to play in a bowl game.

James was the Penn State's lone early enrollee this spring of 19 freshmen from the 2012 recruiting class and emerged from the Blue-White Game with two catches for 24 yards and lots of praise after running with the first-team offense

A three-year starter for the Gladiators, James had 71 receptions for 1,030 yards and 10 touchdowns in his career.

It's unknown if West Mifflin graduate Adam Gress will stay at Penn State or transfer.The redshirt junior is being projected as the Nittany Lions' starting right tackle. Gress is set to graduate in December after 3½ years.

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at mkaboly@tribweb.com.

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