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Poaching Penn State's roster

With today's news that the NCAA will level Penn State football, an unprecedented feeding frenzy is about to begin. Current players are free to transfer right away, and while they may try to keep their spirits up at first, you can bet that not many will be inclined to stick around a program that will be limited to 65 scholarships (essentially, they're now FCS) for the next few years. You can bet the titans of the Southeastern Conference are already eyeing down the roster like it was a juicy T-Bone steak. At certain positions, especially on defense, there will be undoubtedly a lot of national competition for Penn State transfers.

This is of especially great interest to local programs like Rutgers and Pittsburgh, which finished second for a lot of the players on Penn State's current roster. Indeed, those two will be high on the list of any potential PSU transfer, along with pretty much every program in the Big East, ACC, and Big Ten. Remember: it's not just about the potential stars in say, their linebacking corps. Quality depth is hard to find. These players are now free to transfer right away, although it remains to be seen whether programs that accept them will need to pay heed to standard NCAA scholarship limits.

Regardless, let's assess the current roster and incoming recruits, position by position, with a bit of a skew towards local needs/interests:

QB: Matt McGloin is a starter by default, capable solely of not making mistakes and not much else. He is holding off Rob Bolden, who has all of the requisite physical tools, but doesn't really know how to play quarterback. He should at least generate some MAC and lower-Big Ten level interest. Paul Jones has had a few off-field issues, but has a WPIAL background, and Pitt has a thin depth chart, so that is a natural landing spot.

RB: Silas Redd is one of the top backs in the country, and will ignite a feeding frenzy from any top tier program that currently needs help at the position. (Georgia, anyone?) Bill Belton is from South Jersey, and is probably more of a receiver than a back, mainly playing here due to depth issues. Zach Zwinak going to Virginia Tech would make a lot of sense, as him originally signing with PSU was seen as a bit of an upset.

WR: Justin Brown and Shawney Kersey were both linked to Rutgers in high school, with the latter originally committing before backing out, and the former calling for PSU near signing day. Rutgers doesn't really need any receivers, and neither has exactly received good coaching over the past few years, but there will definitely be a health market for Brown. There was a rumor a few years back that Kersey wanted to transfer to Rutgers to run track.

TE: Kevin Haplea is of interest to Rutgers fans as a former top NJ recruit and due to the team probably needing another body there. He never had much interest in RU in high school though, so who knows. I think Pitt could take a few of these guys in the transition back to a pro-style offense after Todd Graham wrecked their roster.

OL: Here's where Rutgers could really get some assistance. Mark Arcidiacono's two younger brothers are current Rutgers commits, with one starting as a freshman this year. Rutgers finished #2 for top NJ guard recruit Angelo Mangiro, although a lot of that was attributable to his relationship with Coach Schiano. You know Pitt will go crazy here as well, with Miles Dieffenbach being a Pitt legacy, and a couple of these other players having WPIAL ties. Donovan Smith is the big prize with national (RE: SEC, and Locksley from Maryland pulling out all the stops) appeal. Eric Shrive is a former top recruit who never really lived up to his billing.

DL: A couple of these guys like Sean Stanley and Deion Barnes will get a lot of national interest, but PSU is fairly thin at DE. DT Jordan Hill is the big prize. As you may recall, he was a sleeper that Schiano found. Dave Wannstedt was just about to poach him for Pitt when Penn State stepped in, and the rest was history. DaQuan Jones is a nice rising talent.

LB: Here's where the real prizes are. Gerald Hodges was a former Rutgers commit who flipped due to supposed concerns about Greg Schiano leaving for another job. Even with how loaded the team is at LB, you take him in a second; period. That probably won't be an option though. He is a certain All-American who can write his ticket anywhere in the country. MLB Glenn Carson is another NJ guy who RU finished second with. Khairi Fortt is another guy who will generate a ton of interest and will be able to pick his school. Wouldn't be a shock if a lot of these backups ended up at Pitt.

DB/Etc.: Pickings are slim here, with a lot of recent personnel defections. K Anthony Fera was a former Michigan commit, but special teams recruiting is a gigantic, gigantic crapshoot.

Incoming/upcoming recruits: Sandusky devastated this class last season, with a ton of defections to programs like Ohio State. PSU essentially filled the gaps by poaching recruits from programs like UConn, BC, and Syracuse. They hung on to a few gems though, like PA LB Nyeem Wartman (over RU), MD DE Brent Wilkerson, and MD OL Brian Gaia. (NJ DT Jamil Pollard had rumored grade issues, and lost most of his listed offers.) More ripe for poaching is their rising 2013 class, where PSU had beaten Rutgers head to head for a lot of recruits like LB Brandon Bell, OL Brandon Mahon, WR Will Fuller, and DE Garrett Sickels. For all the talk, it's nigh-impossible to see that group sticking together when even the ghastly Christian Hackenberg, who drank Bill O'Brien's kool aid as much as anyone, is now rumored to be looking around to SEC and ACC schools.