After filling a lot of their needs in the defensive secondary around the weekend, it appears Penn State's next move is nailing down spots on the offensive line for its 2009 recruiting class.
The Nittany Lions may have done just that Thursday with news that West Scranton offensive tackle Eric Shrive and Alexandria, Va., Edison guard Frank Figueroa decided to become the seventh and eighth recruits to make verbal commitments to Penn State.
Shrive, who is 6-foot-7 and 285 pounds, is considered one of the top offensive line prospects in the country -- Scout.com rates him the No. 3 tackle in the class and Rivals.com has him as the 68th-best senior in the country regardless of position.
West Scranton coach Mike DeAntona was unable to confirm Shrive's commitment early Thursday afternoon -- "I'm trying to find out myself,' DeAntona said. "I had to call in a substitute teacher because I was getting bombarded with calls from media and coaches.' However, Rivals.com's Mike Farrell reported midday that Shrive had given a non-binding oral commitment to Penn State coach Joe Paterno sometime in the morning.
Farrell also reported there would be a press conference on Monday to make it official.
Shrive is a huge get for the Lions, and not one that was expected, at least this soon. Some considered Shrive to be leaning toward childhood favorite Notre Dame. His list of scholarship offers included other top programs from across the nation, including Ohio State, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Florida State, Miami, Rutgers, Illinois, Auburn, Georgia and Michigan.
Shrive reportedly benches 350 pounds and squats 450.
Figueroa is less well-known than Shrive. He is a 6-4, 275-pound guard that Edison coach Vaughn Lewis said is equally adept at pass and run blocking in the Eagles' spread offense and carries a 3.9 GPA in his core courses.
"With his work ethic and ability, he's going to be an outstanding college football player,' Lewis said. "He has a lot of potential.'
Figueroa is entering his third year as a starter. Originally a tackle, Lewis said Figueroa's intelligence would allow him to play any position on the line, but he thinks his future is at tackle.
With Shrive and Figueroa, Penn State now has four offensive line players committed for 2009. They join North Carolina center Ty Howle and St. Joe's Prep tackle Mark Arcidiacono.
For more information, please see Friday's edition of the Altoona Mirror.