Penn State already has begun reaping the benefits of the huge recruiting weekend that coincided with its nationally-televised night-game against Illinois on Saturday.
Glenn Carson, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound inside linebacker from Manahawkin, N.J. near Atlantic City, gave the Nittany Lion coaches their 17th verbal commitment for their 2009 recruiting class.
''I was kind of sure about two or three weeks ago, but I wanted to see Boston College to make sure that Penn State was the right choice,'' Carson told DigitalSports.com. ''Overall I just felt that Penn State was the better school for me and if I could be in the best place.
''It's just been going through my mind for a long time now, doing the pros and cons for a while. The visit was the deciding factor, everything went as good as I thought it would.''
Carson had 19 scholarship offers. Notre Dame, Rutgers, North Carolina, Maryland, Stanford and Pitt were also pursuing him, as was North Carolina State, where his uncle, Tom Higgins, played before going on to play in the NFL.
One of Carson's grandfathers played for the Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Cardinals.
Derrick Williams' key 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown Saturday against Illinois earned him the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week honor Monday.
Williams, who had a career-high 241 all-purpose yards, took a kickoff at the 6-yard line with the Nittany Lions leading the Illini, 24-17, in the fourth quarter. The senior busted loose down the right sideline and raced to the end zone to help PSU go on to a 38-24 win.
Williams became the first player in Joe Paterno's head coaching tenure to score a receiving, rushing and kick return touchdown in the same game. He gave the credit for the return to his blockers.
''When I was running, did you guys see how easy it was for me?'' he said after the game. ''The only thing I had to do was run. It was like there was a clear highway because the guys in front of me did a great job clearing the way, all I had to do was run through it.''
Carson is considered one of the better run defenders in the country - "He uses his long arms to shed blockers and make a bunch of tackles near the line of scrimmage,'' wrote Rivals.com. Scout.com ranks Carson as the seventh-best player at his position in this recruiting class.
Southern Regional is off to a 2-0 start this season. As a junior, Carson keyed the Rams to an 8-3 record and its first playoff win in school history by making 66 tackles.
Carson is also a standout wrestler. He fininished the New Jersey state runner-up at 215 pounds last winter.
Carson will join a loaded depth chart at linebacker for Penn State. Sean Lee, Navorro Bowman, Bani Gbadyu, Jerome Hayes, Nathan Stupar, Chris Colasanti and Andrew Dailey all have eligibility remaining.
The Nittany Lions are still looking to bring in at least one more linebacker in this recruiting class and are believed to be the favorite to land Maryland's Jelani Jenkins. Jenkins is considered the No. 1 outside linebacker prospect this year.