Mediocre. That seems to be the word used most often to describe this year's football recruiting classes of Pitt and Penn State.
The recruiting rankings for the classes of 2012 are in and Pitt and Penn State fall in the 40s of most rankings. It shouldn't come as a big surprise, given that new coaches were hired at both schools and got a late start on recruiting.
Rivals.com ranks Pitt 45th and Penn State 49th. Scout.com ranks Pitt 39th and Penn State 49th. Super Prep magazine has Pitt 45th and Penn State 48th.
"We didn't have Pitt in the top 50 last year, so it's a little bit of improvement," said Allen Wallace, Super Prep publisher and national editor for scout.com. "But they got some really high quality kids at running back and quarterback with Rushel Shell and Chad Voytik. Paul Chryst came from Wisconsin and I think they had pretty hard-nosed players there. He could do fine in recruiting in the future."
Rivals started ranking recruiting classes in 2002, and Pitt has been ranked in the 40s a few times previously. College coaches will say recruiting rankings mean nothing, but the rankings show just how much the Jerry Sandusky case and Joe Paterno's departure hurt Penn State.
This is one of the lowest-rated classes Penn State has put together. Since Rivals started ranking classes in 2002, Penn State has been ranked in the 40s only once (43rd in 2007). Paterno had six top 25 classes since 2002 and was No. 6 in 2005.
"What people don't realize is all of this can change drastically in one year," Wallace said. "Yes, Penn State is hurting. But I've said this before and some people discount it. But tradition rules. It's like old money. People respect it, and you don't have to lose it because of a scandal.
"Alabama has been through scandals. Did they lose it for a while? Yeah. But then they brought the right head coach in, and boom, look at them now. Oklahoma had scandals. They bring the right head coach in, and boom. Penn State could follow the same formula. It just depends on how savvy Bill O'Brien is and how quickly he adapts to understanding what it takes to bring in guys."
Seton-LaSalle tight end Scott Orndoff made a verbal commitment to the University of Wisconsin last summer before the start of his junior year. But with Chryst coming to Pitt from Wisconsin and with a few former Wisconsin assistants also coming with Chryst to Pitt, Orndoff has decided to re-open his recruiting, according to Seton-LaSalle coach Greg Perry.
Mike White: firstname.lastname@example.org