Four defensive ends at heart of Penn State's new class
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Shawn Oakman is 6 feet 8, 250 pounds and not finished growing. Many believe he will develop into a supersized, pass-rushing defensive end for Penn State.
"Shawn is raw, but he has the potential to be a great one and a future All-American," national recruiting expert Tom Lemming of CBS College Sports and MaxPreps.com said.
"I think he's going to be an outstanding pass-rusher," said Sean Fitz of Lions 247.com, a website devoted to Penn State football. "At 6-8, he is going to disrupt a lot of passing lanes and a lot of quarterbacks."
Oakman, from Penn Wood High School in Lansdowne, Pa., was one of 16 recruits who signed binding letters of intent Wednesday with the Nittany Lions. He was among four defensive ends, joining Deion Barnes (6-5, 230) from Philadelphia, Anthony Zettel (6-4, 255) from Michigan and Jordan Kerner (6-5, 230) from Fairview, Pa.
Rivals.com rated Barnes, Oakman and Zettel as four-star recruits (out of five). Barnes is ranked as the sixth-best weakside end, and Zettel the sixth-best strongside end.
"Defensive end is definitely the strength of this recruiting class," Fitz said. "I think [defensive line coach] Larry Johnson will have a lot of talent to work with in the future."
As a senior, Oakman was a first-team Class AAAA all-state selection after registering 80 tackles, knocking down nine passes, forcing four fumbles and recovering three.
He recorded 33 sacks the past two years, including 16 last fall.
"I measure myself on sacks," Oakman said. "I always have to be better than I was the year before. If I'm not, I feel like I'm letting my team down."
Oakman said he would like to play at about 275 pounds.
"I feel like I can get way bigger," he said. "I have real skinny legs right now. That's where your power comes from. They're going to build them up."
Barnes, from Northeast High School, was a major force. He compiled 90 tackles as a senior, including 30 for losses, 13 sacks, 3 blocked punts and 3 forced fumbles. He returned one of those blocked punts for a touchdown.
"Barnes has the potential to be an impact player in two or three years," Fitz said.
Penn State's 2011 recruiting class also included commitments from four offensive linemen: Anthony Alosi (6-6, 282) of Marlton, N.J.; Angelo Mangiro (6-3, 295) of Succasunna, N.J.; Ryan Nowicki (6-5, 275) of Glendale, Ariz., and Donovan Smith (6-7, 280) of Owings Mills, Md., who received four-star ratings from both Rivals.com and Scout.com.
Alosi is the lone early enrollee.
"I think Ryan going there is a bit out of the ordinary [for an Arizona kid]," said Larry Fetkenhier, Nowicki's coach at Cactus High School. "He really liked the school, the setting and the people he met when he visited."
The Lions picked up a safety Wednesday -- Adrian Amos of Baltimore, Md.-- but did not land a quarterback or running back, which hurt their national ranking.
Scout.com ranks the Lions' class No. 33 and Rivals.com ranks it No. 35. A year ago, the Lions had what many considered a top-10 class.
"If there's any area I think Penn State may have missed out on this year, it's probably that they should have taken a quarterback because of the potentially volatile situation that exists there now," said recruiting analyst Bob Lichtenfels of Scout.com/FoxSports.com.
First Published February 3, 2011 1:15 am