Jordan Smith commits to Penn State, call it his ‘dream school’

Washington, D.C. product Jordan Smith announced his commitment to Penn State Saturday.

Smith, a cornerback from Woodson High, said he committed to Penn State on July 24 but waited until last weekend to make his announcement.

The 5-10, 185-pounder becomes the first recruit to verbally commit to the Nittany Lions since they were hit with the devastating NCAA penalties in July.

“It’s just something I’ve grown up on when I was playing in the backyard,” Smith told “I envisioned myself at Penn State and it’s an opportunity I want to take full advantage of.

“I like the idea of Penn State, the education, a degree from there speaks volumes in the job market,” he said. “The coaching staff is outstanding and Penn State is my dream school.”

Smith is a two-star prospect according to Rivals and plays in the secondary – a place the Lions definitely need more numbers.

He also had scholarship offers from FBS schools such as Colorado, Kansas and Hawaii.

Penn State assistant coach Larry Johnson was the main recruiter of Smith. Johnson has long had success recruiting the Maryland and D.C area for the Nittany Lions.

As a junior last season, Smith had 64 tackles, including four sacks. He also had two interceptions and returned one of them for a touchdown.

Smith indicated that he would enroll at Penn State in January.

For more information on Eastern football recruiting, follow @EastRecruiting on Twitter or email

New temporary PSU transfer rules go overboard

by Marty Valania

Has anybody actually read what opposing schools are allowed to do to current Penn State football players right now? And does anybody think this is a good idea?

Look, I have absolutely no qualms with any Penn State football player that wants to transfer. I have absolutely no problem with the NCAA easing restrictions on Penn State football players transferring. They should be able to leave and be able to play right away. It makes perfect sense.

In addition, I have no qualms with many of the penalties that the NCAA levied against Penn State. This one part of the transfer rule, however, makes no sense to me.

Here are the “new” rules in black and white.

“The NCAA recognizes that current football student-athletes will be negatively impacted by the Penn State sanctions,” said Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president for Academic and Membership Affairs. “We want to allow those eligible student-athletes as much flexibility as possible while still being mindful of some of the transfer safeguards our membership has put in place.”

Okay. That sounds good to me.

What doesn’t make sense is that every college in the country can now recruit Penn State football players – EVEN IF THEY HAVEN’T EXPRESSED ANY INTEREST IN LEAVING.  The suspension of contact rule has been suspended. That is the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. Phones started ringing Monday morning – just after Mark Emmert got done speaking.

We’ve all heard the rumors. Silas Redd to USC being the chief among them. But I also saw that one SEC coach offered three Penn State players scholarships before noon on Monday. ACC schools, UConn, Rutgers, Tennessee, Ohio State, the list of vultures goes on and on.

Granted, the NCAA wants to punish Penn State football into submission. That much is clear. But allowing this is the absolute most hypocritical thing they can do.

As I stated earlier, if a player wants to transfer he should be able to contact any school in the country. He should be able to pick where he wants to go and go there and play immediately.

But allowing other schools to contact them minutes after they just heard about these unprecedented sanctions is callous and a terrible precedent to set. These players have had their lives turned upside down and now you’re letting the recruiting sharks at them without having the opportunity to even digest the situation. It’s just plain horrible.

In addition, they are allowing schools to exceed their scholarship limits to accept Penn State players. Really? I’m not making this stuff up. This is how the NCAA thinks is a good way to change the football culture – by allowing coaches to attack other rosters and exceed their scholarship limits. At any other time these are all violations.

Does anybody really think that this is “being mindful of the transfer safeguards the membership has put in place?”

Does Penn State need to be penalized? Absolutely. Do the players need to be penalized any more than they already have been? Absolutely not.

Does this rule somehow benefit the victims? If so, fail to see how.

I understand punitive penalties. I don’t understand overturning fundamental rules that have been safeguards forever.

To learn more about eastern football recruiting, follow @EastRecruiting on Twitter or email

Maryland Crab Bowl to hold evaluation camps

The Maryland Crab Bowl will be holding four tryout and evaluation camps for players in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 classes. The game is only for 2013 players but the sophomores and juniors to be are eligible to come to the camps for evaluation.

Top performers at the camp may have the opportunity to play in the 2012 Maryland Crab Bowl. The Maryland Crab Bowl is put on by the Maryland Football Foundation and  is a all-star game for seniors. The game is in its fifth year of existence. and is Maryland’s only statewide high school all-star football game.

This is the first year that the camp is open to underclassmen. While they will not be able to participate in the game, they will be eligible for the Maryland Football Foundation’s All-State Camp team and be invited to the banquet that kicks off game week in December.

The Maryland Crab Bowl Evaluation Camps will provide four opportunities throughout the state in an effort to make it convenient for all players to attend.  All camps will start at 6 pm and end around 8:30 pm.  Registration will start at 5 pm. Links are below.

West Camp – July 23rd Linganore HS, 12013 Old Annapolis Rd, Frederick, MD 21701

North Camp – July 24th Franklin HS, 12000 Reisterstown Rd, Reisterstown, MD 21136

East Camp – July 25th Cambridge-South Dorchester HS, 2475 Cambridge Bypass, Cambridge, MD 21613

South Camp – July 31st Riverdale Baptist, 1133 Largo Rd, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774

The cost for each camp is $40.00.  Walk-ups are $50.00

For more information on eastern football recruiting, follow @EastRecruiting on Twitter or email

Chesapeake Bowl North team tryouts July 14 at Cardinal O’Hara

Tryouts for the Chesapeake Bowl North team selection camp will be Saturday, July 14 at Cardinal O’Hara High in Springfield, Pa. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration is $85 and begins at 9 a.m. at the school. Click here to register online. According to the Chesapeake Bowl website, the players at the camp will be coached by former NFL and college players, college coaches and top area high school coaches.

In addition, recruiting analysts from Rivals and other recruiting services will be on hand.

The Chesapeake Bowl is put on by the Mid-Atlantic Football Foundation and the tryout camp is sponsored by

The game is the premiere event of the Mid Atlantic Football Foundation.  It is a senior only all-star football game with players from the North (New Jersey,PennsylvaniaandDelaware) competing against players from the South (Maryland,WashingtonD.C., Virginia andWest Virginia).

This year will mark the third Chesapeake Bowl. In the first two years, the event has had 170 players that received Division I scholarships and 150 that have been ranked by recruiting services.

This year’s selection camp is open to underclassmen (class of 2014 and 2015).  These players will have an opportunity to be evaluated by for early exposure and recognition in the 2014 and 2015 classes.  They will also be able to receive an early invitation to next year’s Chesapeake Bowl Selection Camp.

This year’s North squad will be coached by Jeff Weachter of Bishop McDevitt High.

Cardinal O’Hara’s street address is 1701 Sproul Road, Springfield, PA 19064.

For more information on eastern football recruiting, follow @EastRecruiting on Twitter or email


Opinion: Are camps and 7-on-7 tournaments good for the players?

By Marty Valania

The Opening just ended and certainly provided a ton of fodder for recruitniks all over the country this past weekend.

The Opening is where 150 of the nation’s top prospects were flown to Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. to compete against each other in combine-like agility drills and 7-on-7 team competitions. The four-day event was managed by Nike and ESPN and provided ESPNU with several hours of programming Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.

From a viewer’s standpoint, I’m not sure it made for great television. But it was interesting to see some of the names we’ve been reading about for the last year. Whether it was actually good TV or not is just one of the arguments that came out of the weekend.

The debates ranged from who was the best quarterback of the weekend (it seemed that USC commit Max Browne won the majority of praise from the multitude of recruiting analysts that also attended) to who will have the best class by the end of the recruiting season to whether these types of event were worthwhile at all.

I read numerous posts that essentially said that these types of events mean nothing as compared to real high school football games played in pads. And while I agree that these events certainly shouldn’t be evaluated the same as real high school football games, I do think there is value to them.

You name the event – from The Opening, Elite 11 and the Rivals100 Challenge to more local and regional events like the Elite 25 Showcase in Lancaster last month – and it provides competition and the ability to see top players together. No, it’s not the same as seeing them play in a game. However, it does provide an avenue to evaluate.

Some people are upset that some of these camps charge players to attend. Some are upset that 7-on-7 tournaments are turning into something akin to the AAU basketball circuit.

Both are concerns.

To those, however, I say, yes, those are concerns and these events should be monitored so they don’t get out of hand. But these events also bring opportunity.

For example, there are tryouts Saturday for the Chesapeake Bowl North team. The tryouts are sponsored by Rivals and it seems that Rivals will have analysts there to evaluate players.

Some are upset that the players have to pay to attend the tryouts and think that the people that select the teams already have the best players in mind. In essence, they think this is just a way to get money.

Let’s just say that a player who would typically not get chosen for the game (if there was just a selection committee and no tryout opportunity) goes to this tryout and shines. He has a great tryout and this leads him to being written up by national recruiting analysts and chosen for the game.

More importantly than being chosen for the game, his name gets out there and maybe it leads to the opportunity to be scouted this fall in real games. How he does there will determine if he gets the opportunity for a scholarship – but that possibility may have stemmed from his tryout.

Maybe this won’t be the outcome for the majority of players that attend the tryout or a 7-on-7 tournament. But it is a possibility.

And if you’re a player that thinks he’s good enough, all you want is chance. Events like these may give that chance that might not otherwise come. Certainly there are concerns to be wary of and parents and coaches should do their due diligence on an event before sending their players there. And, let’s face it, the players still have to back it up with great play during the season – but it’s an opportunity.

I’m all for giving players as many opportunities as possible. Camps, showecases and 7-on 7s provide just that. It’s then up to the player to take advantage of those opportunities.

For more information on eastern recruiting, follow @EastRecruiting on Twitter or email

Nation’s and region’s top talent at The Opening

If you’re looking for many of the nation’s top prospects and many of the people that follow their every move, they’ll be in Beaverton, Ore. this weekend for The Opening – a blue chip football camp being held at Nike headquarters.

The invite-only event is run by ESPN and Nike and last year saw NFL stars Larry Fitzgerald, Ndamukong Suh, Patrick Peterson, Ray Rice and Dwayne Bowe coach the players in a variety of drills.

If you can’t make it to Oregon to watch, you will have the opportunity to check it out on ESPNU. There will be a show at 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.

One hundred fifty of the nation’s top recruits will be at the event including 15 from the Mid-Atlantic region. In addition to three days of great competition, The Opening provides a platform for some of the prospects to make their verbal commitments to colleges. One of those will be Alex Anzalone of Wyomissing, Pa.

Anzalone recently narrowed his choices down to Florida, Notre Dame and Penn State. He announced via Twitter last week that he will be making his decision this weekend. According to various reports, there are strong cases to be made for each one of his candidates. His will be one of the more noteworthy of the weekend – especially here in the East with the hordes of both Penn State and Notre Dame fans.

Other regional participants include Christian Hackenberg (Fork Union, Va., QB and Penn State recruit), Eli Woodard (Vorhees, N.J. CB and Ohio State recruit), Kendall Fuller (Olney, Md., cornerback, undecided), Derrick Green (Richmond, Va. RB, undecided), Dorian Daniel (Olney, Md., LB, Clemson recruit), Matt Rolin (Ashburn, Va. LB,  South Carolina recruit), Holland Fisher (Midlothian, Va. LB Va. Tech recruit), David Williams (Philadelphia, Pa. WR, undecided), Tashawn Bower (Somerville, N.J. DE, Auburn recruit), Taquan Mizzell (Virginia Beach, RB, undecided), Doug Randolph (Woodberry Forest, VA, LB, Stanford recruit), Devin Butler (Washington, D.C. CB Notre Dame recruit), Tre’ Bell (Jersey City, N.J. CB, Florida recruit) and Paul Harris(Upper Marlboro, Md. WR, undecided).

Of the 150 players in attendance, 50 are from Florida (29) or California (21). In addition, there are 17 prospects from Texas. Those three states have the most players in any of the scouting rankings that you will see.

The event will begin in earnest Friday and run through Sunday.

For more information on eastern recruiting follow @EastRecruiting on Twitter or email

Comparing the recruiting rankings of Rivals, Scout, ESPN and 247

So you think you know a good high school football player when you see him. You think you can do better than the so called recruiting “analysts” out there?

We’re here to tell you that you can go ahead and try – but it’s a far more difficult task than you can ever imagine. In fact, all four of the services we looked at do an outstanding job. It’s actually pretty amazing how well they do and how they can differentiate one skilled high school player from another when they’re all playing in different parts of the country against different competition.

Sure, the big combines and regional and national 7-on-7 tournaments have helped a lot. But it’s still about putting the pads on and hitting and that’s not so easy to analyze all the time.

When you look at the four recruiting rankings, I don’t know whether to be amazed about how many of the same kids show up in each or about how different they can be.

For example, highly touted Christian Hackenberg out of Fork Union, Va. is ranked No. 10 overall by ESPN, No. 24 overall by 247Sports, 143rd overall by Rivals and No. 175 by Scout. That is a significant difference.

Let’s look at how how many kids from some of the big recruiting states and some of the Eastern states are ranked in each of services. We looked at the top 250 in each of the rankings (247 for 247Sports).

Alabama – 8

California – 27

Florida -39

Georgia – 20

Maryland – 7

New Jersey – 7

Ohio – 16

Pennsylvania – 7

Texas – 28

Virginia 12

Alabama – 8

California – 29

Florida – 34

Georiga – 20

Maryland – 4

New Jersey – 5

Ohio – 17

Pennsylvania – 9

Texas – 41

Virginia – 7


Alabama – 8

California – 31

Florida – 32

Georgia – 25

Maryland – 5

New Jersey – 10

Ohio – 15

Pennsylvania – 6

Texas – 32

Virginia – 12


Alabama – 8

California – 23

Florida – 48

Georgia – 24

Maryland – 3

New Jersey – 9

Ohio – 16

Pennsylvania – 8

Texas – 37

Virginia – 12

Look at the discrepancy for Texas, which has 41 ranked in the top 250 of but only 28 in Virginia has 12 in three of the rankings but only 7 in Scout. Florida, a talent rich state, had as many as 48 and as few as 32.

Let’s take a look at the top 10s for each one.

Rivals Top 10

1.  Robert Nkmemdiche   Lawrenceville, GA (Clemson)

2.  Reuben Foster  Auburn, AL (Alabama)

3.  Kendall Fuller Olney, MD (undecided)

4.  Jaylon Smith, Fort Wayne, IN (Notre Dame)

5.  Max Browne, Sammamish, WA (USC)

6. Kenny Bigelow, Wilmington, DE (USC)

7.  Laremy Tunsil, Lake City, FL (undecided)

8.  Su’a Cravens  Murietta, CA (USC)

9.  Vernon Heargraves  Tampa, FL (undecided)

10.  Montravius Adams  Vienna, GA (undecided) Top 10

1.  Robert Nkmemdiche   Lawrenceville, GA (Clemson)

2.  Reuben Foster  Auburn, AL (Alabama)

3.  Max Browne, Sammamish, WA (USC)

4.  Laremy Tunsil, Lake City, FL (undecided)

5.  Su’a Cravens  Murietta, CA (USC)

6.  Montravius Adams  Vienna, GA (undecided)

7.  Antonio Conner  Batesville, MS (undecided)

8.  Kenny Bigelow, Wilmington, DE (USC)

9.  Eddie Vanderdoes  Auburn, CA (undecided)

10.  Robert Foster   Monaca, PA (undecided)

ESPN Top 10

1.  Robert Nkmemdiche   Lawrenceville, GA (Clemson)

2.  Reuben Foster  Auburn, AL (Alabama)

3.  Laremy Tunsil, Lake City, FL (undecided)

4.  Vernon Heargraves  Tampa, FL (undecided)

5.  Carl Lawson  Alpharetta, GA (Auburn)

6.  Mackensie Alexander  Immokolee, FL (undecided)

7. Ricky Seals-Jones  Sealy, TX (undecided)

8.  Dee Liner  Muscle Shoals, AL (undecided)

9.  Kenny Bigelow Wilmington, DE (USC)

10. Christian Hackenberg  Fork Union, VA (Penn State) (143 Rivals, 175 Scout, 24 247)

247Sports Top 10

1.  Robert Nkmemdiche   Lawrenceville, GA (Clemson)

2.  Reuben Foster  Auburn, AL (Alabama)

3.  Montravius Adams  Vienna, GA (undecided)

4.  Max Browne, Sammamish, WA (USC)

5.  Vernon Heargraves  Tampa, FL (undecided)

6.  Laremy Tunsil, Lake City, FL (undecided)

7.  Jaylon Smith, Fort Wayne, IN (Notre Dame)

8.  Su’a Cravens  Murietta, CA (USC)

9.  Kendall Fuller Olney, MD (undecided)

10.  Jonathan Allen  Ashburn, VA (Alabama)

There are a few differences – but not really a lot – when you consider the differences are mostly between players ranked inside or just outside the top 10. Hackenberg is the the outlier – with very high rankings and some considerably lower ones.

Incredibly, the top two are the same in all four rankings.

If one thing is to be learned by it all, it’s that recruiting rankings and the science of it all, although it has improved immeasurably over the years, is still an example of inexact science.

Tryouts for Chesapeake Bowl North team scheduled

According to, the Chesapeake Bowl North Selection camp will be held Saturday, July 14 at Cardinal O’Hara High from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with registration beginning at 9 a.m.

The camp is affiliated with Rivals with the players being selected to play in the Chesapeake Bowl. The Chesapeake Bowl pits senior players from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, against seniors from Maryland, D.C., Virginia and West Virginia.

Cardinal O’Hara High is on 1701 Sproul Rd. in Springfield, Pa. 19064.

Click here for more information about this invite-only selection camp.

To receive more information on Eastern Recruiting, follow @EastRecruiting on Twitter or send an email to


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