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Nittany Lions land four new verbals on somber Sunday

January 23, 2012
By Philip Cmor ( , The Altoona Mirror

On the day when Penn State football lost its patriarch with the death of legendary coach Joe Paterno, the Nittany Lions welcomed four new additions into their family.

The Lions, in one of the most successful recruiting weekends the program has enjoyed, received verbal commitments on Sunday from Camas, Wash., receiver Jonathan Warner, Buffalo St. Francis running back Akeel Lynch, Towson, Md., Calvert Hall cornerback Da'Quan Davis and Davis' teammate, receiver/safety Trevor Williams.

The four new commitments give Penn State 17 recruits for a class that is expected to bring in as many as 23. One of those recruits - quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg - is taking visits to other colleges and may or may not be part of the class, eventually.

Meanwhile, reported Sunday night that Massachusetts cornerback Armani Reeves has officially decommitted from Penn State and will sign with either Michigan or Ohio State. National signing day is Feb. 1.

Although he comes from across the country, Warner isn't a stranger to Penn State: His father, Curt Warner, was one of the best running backs the school ever produced and a star of the first of its two national championship teams. The younger Warner (6-foot-1, 200 pounds) made 48 catches this season for 715 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Davis and Williams already have ties with the Penn State program, too. Their former high school teammate, Adrian Amos, was the Lions' last recruit in 2011 and ended up seeing good playing time as a true freshman.

Williams, like Warner, possesses good size at just over 6 feet tall and nearly 170 pounds. A one-time West Virginia commit, Williams hauled in 57 passes for 983 yards and 13 scores as a senior while starting alongside Davis in the Calvert Hall secondary.

Also a former West Virginia recruit like Williams, Davis is a 5-10, 168-pounder whose qualities at corner seem to fit the aggressive style new Penn State defensive coordinator Ted Roof is expected to employ. He had 48 tackles and four interceptions in 2011, coming off a season in which he only allowed three passes thrown against him to be completed according to Calvert Hall stats.

Lynch (5-11, 205) picked Penn State over Iowa, Mississippi, Boston College and Oklahoma. The Gatorade New York player of the year in 2011, Lynch rushed for 2,131 yards and scored 25 touchdowns.

The Lions also made a scholarship offer to Georgia prep quarterback Steven Bench during the visit.

Bench, who came to University Park as a verbal commitment to Rice, didn't switch his school of choice and went home to consider his options. Mississippi State has been showing interest in Bench, so there's a chance he still might visit there.

One other uncommitted prospect was on campus, Princeton, N.J., Hun School lineman Wendy Laurent. He is believed to be leaning heavily to committing to Penn State.

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