UNIVERSITY PARK - The Blue defense might have beaten the White offense, 77-65, in Saturday afternoon's Blue-White Game at Beaver Stadium, but the biggest winner might have been Nittany Lion football recruiting coordinator Charles London.
In a rout.
"This is the biggest turnout I've ever seen,'' BlueWhite Illustrated recruiting reporter Ryan Snyder said of the prospects in attendance. "It was bigger than Alabama last year. It was bigger than Michigan two years ago. I would say 75, including the Class of 2012 recruits.''
Despite the forecasts of rain, all eight of the Lions' 2013 verbal commitments were at the game along with most of the players that signed in Bill O'Brien's first recruiting class back in February.
The biggest question is if anyone new might have joined them on Saturday. While that doesn't appear to be the case - at least immediately - Penn State seems to have further cemented itself at or near the top of the list for a couple of elite in-state talents.
"They got a couple of big targets in Dave Williams and Dorian Johnson on campus,'' Lions247 publisher Sean Fitz said, referring to the speedy four-star running back from Philadelphia Imhotep Charter and the five-star offensive tackle from Belle Vernon. "It's big to get them back on campus. That's the second visit in a month for Williams and the second in two weeks for Johnson. Considering the other schools that are recruiting them haven't gotten them on campus like that, that's huge.''
Tight end recruit Adam Breneman and quarterback pledge Christian Hackenberg were with Williams during the game, referring to him as "No. 9'' in reference to him hopefully joining them as the Lions' ninth verbal commitment in this class.
Among the other top prospects on hand that Penn State has already offered were Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt receiver Brian Lemelle and Central Dauphin linebacker Zayd Issah. Several highly regarded underclassman quarterbacks also were expected to be on hand: Pius X's A.J. Long, Cedar Cliff's Andrew Ford and Florida's Anthony Siciliano.
Saturday wasn't completely perfect for the Lions. Four-star linebacker Alex Anzalone of Wyomissing committed to Ohio State during a visit to Columbus for the Buckeyes' spring game.
However, Yannick Ngakoue, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound linebacker from Washington, D.C., was a surprise attendee and might ease the pain of the Anzalone loss. The four-star prospect has an impressive list of 21 scholarship offers that includes Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Michigan and Washington, but not yet the Nittany Lions.
"He's a tremendous looking prospect. He's from D.C., so he's a little underrecruited. He's got some great offers, but he's still underrecruited,'' Fitz said. "He has a good shot of receiving an offer. With Anzalone today, linebacker recruiting isn't hot right now, and they're looking for someone who can come in and contribute.''