In two days, the Penn State football program appears to have fortified its interior defensive line for years to come.
After Penn State received a verbal commitment from consensus top-15 defensive tackle Evan Hailes of Virginia on Friday, the Binghamton, N.Y. Press & Sun-Bulletin reported late Saturday that Johnson City High School's DaQuan Jones has followed suit by giving the Nittany Lions his oral pledge during a weekend visit.
"I went there and was very comfortable with the coaches," Jones, who was working out at the Lions' senior camp, told the Press & Sun-Bulletin. "They made me feel very comfortable. I got on the field there, and I just felt good about them."
Nicknamed "DaDa'' (pronounced "day-day''), the 6-foot-4, 302-pound Jones is ranked as the No. 14 offensive guard in the country by Rivals.com. Most colleges - including Penn State - recruited Jones for defense, though: Scout.com ranks him as the ninth-best defensive tackle in the country.
Efforts to reach Jones Sunday were unsuccessful, but his local newspaper reported that his other finalists included Boston College, Maryland, Syracuse and Pitt. Rutgers, North Carolina State, UConn and Illinois had also offered scholarships to the all-division and Binghamton all-metro selection.
Jones becomes the Lions' 10th commitment for 2010. He visited Penn State during spring practice, and the Lions were long considered to be one of his leaders, although they hadn't offered until just a few weeks ago.
Although messages left for Johnson City coach Fred Deinhardt on Sunday were not immediately returned, the Mirror spoke to him about Jones' recruitment in May.
"College like his ability to move at his size,'' Deinhardt said. "He plays basketball. He moves like running back.''
As a junior, Jones finished with approximately 60 tackles to go along with three sacks, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble for the 5-5 Wildcats. He reportedly bench presses 330 pounds and squats 500 pounds.
"I can locate the ball as soon as it's snapped. I try to be aggressive but play smart. I like to dominate and make sure that I make the big play,'' Jones told Scout.com. "But I want to work on my hands and use my hands more. I'm working on my rips and moves and I really want to improve my bull rush.''
Jones said in an interview with Rivals.com that he still is undecided about taking more visits and would discuss that with Deinhardt today.
Penn State, meanwhile, might not be done recruiting defensive tackles, either. Jones' and Hailes' commitments are not expected to affect Penn State's pursuit of national top 100 prospect Sharrif Floyd of Philadelphia George Washington. Floyd is a consensus top-five defensive tackle.
The Lions may still be reaping the benefits of this weekend's visits in the coming days, too. State College receiver Alex Kenney and Michigan quarterback Robert Bolden were among the uncommitted prospects at Penn State this weekend. Rumors circulated that Kenney had committed, but he has since denied them.
Bolden had a chance to work with Kenney, as well as current Lion commitments P.J. Jones and Adrian Coxson with the quarterbacks and receivers at camp, and there is speculation that he could be close to a college choice. Bolden was believed to be down to Penn State and Michigan State, but the Lions appear to be in the driver's seat since Spartans received a pledge from in-state signal-caller Joe Boisture last week and are only expected to sign one quarterback in this class.