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More Vandy recruits coming to Penn State

January 21, 2014
The Altoona Mirror

Penn State's 2014 recruiting class is filling up quickly.

Two more former Vanderbilt recruits switched on Monday and announced their intentions to follow James Franklin to Penn State, Virginia athlete Trace McSorley and Atlanta cornerback Grant Haley, various internet sites first reported.

Both are consensus three-star prospects and bring the Nittany Lions' commitment total to 22. Analysts now believe Penn State will bring in as many as 26 new players in spite of NCAA sanctions, counting several against its 2013 class and some others in the 2015 class.

Haley is a 5-foot-10, 170-pounder from Lovett School who had other offers from Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Cincinnati and Duke. He was the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Georgia Class AA offensive player of the year, although it looks like his future might be on defense, where that state's sports writers picked him first-team all-state.

Lovett won its first state championship in 43 years, rushing for 131 yards and the deciding touchdown on a 41-yard gallop in the finals. For the season, he finished with 1,551 yards and 24 rushing touchdowns. He also intercepted 13 passes over his junior and senior years.

"There's no doubt in my mind he's the best football player in this state," Lovett coach Mike Muschamp said after Haley ran for 213 yards and four touchdowns in a comeback win against Laney in the Georgia state semifinals. "He impacts games on all phases."

McSorley is of a similar background. The 6-2, 182-pounder was a first-team Washington Post all-Met selection as a quarterback after throwing for 3,820 yards and 42 touchdowns in leading Briar Woods High School to a fourth consecutive state finals appearance, but he might be a better fit as a safety at the next level.

However, if McSorley stays on offense, he has some pretty impressive career numbers to back it up - 10,065 passing yards, 2,005 rushing yards, 111 passing touchdowns and 38 rushing scores. His other big offers came from Virginia Tech, North Carolina, UConn, Boston College and Purdue.

McSorley and Haley took visits to Penn State over the weekend and were spotted with Franklin in the crowd at the Nittany Lions wrestling dual meet.

"There are so many possibilities as a Penn State graduate," McSorley told the Post. "It just seemed like endless opportunities when you think about it. They have a network of over 600,000 graduates and are a highly-rated academic school. Once I got there, I saw there weren't many places that can beat it.

"When [Franklin] made the switch, I was disappointed," McSorley added. "I wanted to play for him and he kept in contact with me and said he wanted me up there. I kept thinking about it more, then did research on their academics, and the more I found out, the more I liked it and it felt like the right place."

Haley and McSorley - the fourth a fifth players originally committed to Vanderbilt who've switched to Penn State since Franklin was named Lions head coach 10 days ago, although defensive end Lloyd Tubman took a visit to Kentucky since - weren't the only big-name recruits in University Park this weekend: Rutgers commit Saeed Blacknall, a four-star 6-3, 210-pound receiver from New Jersey, also made the trip.

The Lions also got some positive news from one of the players that committed previously to Bill O'Brien's staff when four-star New Jersey tight end Mike Gesicki went to Twitter on Monday.

"I'm stayin at Penn State no question where I'll be in June. #WEARE," tweeted Gesicki, who still was being pursued by Ohio State, among others.

Penn State reportedly will be hosting a number of committed and uncommitted players in the upcoming weekend.

- Philip Cmor

 
 

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