Recruit Report: Penn State coach makes up ground

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Bill O'Brien

got a late start on his first football recruiting class at Penn State. His late hiring most certainly played a role in the Nittany Lions' class being probably the lowest-rated at the school in the past two decades.

But O'Brien is off to a running star on his second recruiting class.

Penn State already has verbal commitments from three players in the class of 2013 and all are highly touted, four-star prospects, according to Rivals.com. They are quarterback Christian Hackenberg (6 feet, 4, 215 pounds) of Fork Union Military Academy (Va.), defensive back Ross Douglas (5-10, 180) of Avon, Ohio, and defensive end Garrett Sickels (6-4, 225) of Little Silver, N.J.

Sickels is rated the No. 50 junior in the country by Rivals. He had offers from Alabama, Florida, Miami, Ohio State and Notre Dame, among others.

Hackenberg is a big catch for Penn State because of its need for a top quarterback. Hackenberg threw for 2,100 yards this past season and had scholarship offers from Alabama and Florida.

Maryland, Boston College, Purdue and Syracuse were some of the schools that offered Douglas.

But Penn State could pick up another highly rated prospect tonight. Tight end Adam Breneman of Cedar Cliff near Harrisburg will announce his college decision and is expected to choose Penn State. His other finalists are Notre Dame, Maryland and Ohio State. Rivals ranks Breneman the No. 1 tight end in the country and the No. 22 player overall.

Michigan has 14

While O'Brien might be off to a fast start in recruiting the class of 2013, consider what Michigan has done. The Wolverines have commitments from 14 juniors. One of them is from the WPIAL -- North Allegheny offensive lineman Pat Kugler.

Duquesne recruit shines

Donovan Jack of Berks Catholic in Reading is a Duquesne University basketball recruit who was the MVP of the recent District 3 Class AAA playoffs. A 6-foot-9, 205-pound forward, Jack had 66 points and 52 rebounds in four games as Berks Catholic won the Class AAA title. He also shot 73 percent from the field (27 of 37).

The shooting percentage isn't uncommon for Jack. He made 42 consecutive shots over a six-game span earlier this year. For the season, Jack is shooting 68 percent (195 of 287) and is averaging 16.7 points a game.

It was the third consecutive district championship for Jack. He won two Class A titles as a sophomore and junior when he attended Reading Central Catholic, which merged with Holy Name to form Berks Catholic for this school year.


Mike White: mwhite@post-gazette.com


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