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

For Penn State football – a week like no other

From worse than the death penalty to the nucleus of the 2013 class all staying – in a week that many declared as the death knell for Penn State football, there were actually a few rays of hope.

It all began Monday morning with the NCAA skirting its normal processes and bylaws and penalizing Penn State and its football program as badly – if not worse – than any school in history. This was done on the heels of the scathing Freeh report – a report that the school itself commissioned and paid for.

The school agreed to the penalties and not to challenge them just so it wasn’t hit with a four-year death penalty. Even though the NCAA bylaws say it can only levy a two-year death penalty, the school was threatened with an unprecedented four-year penalty. As the week went on, however, we saw how many normal rules were tossed out the window in an effort to decimate the Penn State football program and show the public that the NCAA – or at least president Mark Emmert – means business.

By Monday afternoon many national pundits proclaimed the penalties worse than the death penalty. The scholarship losses will all but make Penn State football irrelevant. One analyst said the penalties would probably make Penn  State football like the University of Chicago – a school that would have to drop football.

In addition to those scholarship losses, the NCAA was positive that hardly any current Penn State players would want to actually stay at their school so it waived all logical tampering, contact and recruiting rules. This led to mass chaos.

Coaches from many other schools camped out on campus and in front of players’ apartments. Even after many players publicly committed to staying at Penn State, other coaches continue to stalk.

Illinois, in fact, sent eight coaches to State College complete with Illinois garb and gear. Illinois coach Tim Beckman said his coaches weren’t on campus. Penn State players, though, tweeted about having coaches right outside their apartments.

All of this mess was the prelude to coach Bill O’Brien heading to Big 10 Media Days in Chicago. In addition to O’Brien, players Michael Mauti, Jordan Hill and John Urschel were in Chicago for all the media to see and hear.

First, a group of about 30 players stated publicly – and in a group – that they were staying at Penn State.

Then came the media conferences. In fact, Mauti’s passion for the school was evident to all and even begrudgingly started to engender sympathy from some media members. Although, all positive comments about PSU players had to be  qualified with the prerequisite nasty comments about the school such as in this column on CBS.

By the last day of the media frenzy in Chicago, fans of opposing teams were coming up to the Penn State players to wish them luck and tell them they’d be rooting for them.

Then came the weekend.

The core group of the 2013 recruiting class came to State College to meet with O’Brien. By Saturday afternoon all-everything quarterback Christian Hackenberg, four-star tight end Adam Breneman, Garrett Sickels, Will Fuller, Brendan Mahon, Andrew Nelson and Dorian Johnson all reaffirmed their commitments to the school.

A prominent national football writer for Sports Illustrated, Stewart Mandel, even tweeted, “So much for the mass exodus.”

The news didn’t end there. We found out that third-string quarterback Rob Bolden, a junior, is probably transferring to LSU. What wasn’t mentioned is that Bolden was granted his release during the spring. This comes after two frustrating years. He, in fact, wanted to transfer after his freshman season. It just took him this long to find a school that was interested. Given how things were progressing, the transfer is probably a good thing for both Bolden and the staff.

Sure, it would be better to have Bolden for depth at the position. But if ever a change of scenery might be good for someone, it’s Bolden. And that was the case before the Sandusky news and Freeh report ever came to light.

That leaves us with Silas Redd. Obviously, it would be a blow to the team and program if he left for USC. However, as of this writing on Monday morning, he hadn’t bolted. That’s good news for Penn State fans as many assumed the star running back would’ve committed to USC while visiting the campus over the weekend.

So it was quite a week for everyone associated with the Penn State football program. No, things aren’t going to be great for quite a few years. But if you were listening last Monday, one would’ve thought the program would immediately fall into a deep abyss and never come out.

Time will tell and maybe all those national writers will be correct and Penn State football will die a slow, painful death. But for Penn State fans hoping that is not the case, the week also contained a few rays of hope for the future.

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

NCAA sanction announcement could cause havoc on PSU’s 2013 class

If you think recruiting is a crazy business with lots of upheaval, just wait until NCAA President Mark Emmert announces his sanctions against Penn State.

The announcement is set for 9 a.m. Eastern Monday morning and is expected to include a $30-$60 million fine, a multiple year bowl ban and “crippling” scholarship losses.

Despite the Sandusky scandal, Coach Bill O’Brien and his staff have pieced together a highly ranked recruiting class – ranked in the top 15 of services such as, 247Sports, and ESPN. The class has been led by stalwarts Adam Breneman and Christian Hackenberg and those two have rallied many other high school stars into the Penn State 2013 recruiting class.

Even after the Freeh report was released two weeks ago, all of the recruits have been steadfast in their commitments to PSU.

That changed over the weekend as New Jersey defensive tackle flipped from Penn State to North Carolina. Others have noted that they might look around or “keep their options open.”

Other recruits are just plain sick and angry about being asked about their commitments every hour of the day. Here’s what four-star defensive end from New Jersey Garrett Sickels had to say on Twitter.

That’s probably good advice but not how the media or social media world works these days and speculation is officially rampant.

In addition to Hackenberg, Breneman and Sickels, Penn State’s 2013 recruiting class as of today includes Brandon Bell, Zach Bradshaw, Curtis Cothran, Ross Douglas, William Fuller, Zayd Issah, Dorian Johnson, Brendon Mahon, Andrew Nelson, and Neiko Robinson.

All of them are three and four-star recruits. All of them would be desired by other schools.

In addition, social media has been full of posts talking about college coaches getting ready to pick the Penn State roster like vultures.

Recruiting is a crazy business that is getting crazier all the time. Depending on what Emmert says tomorrow, we may be on the verge of the craziest recruiting story we’ve ever seen.

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

Hackenberg, Olsen and Cockerille ready for Elite 11

Christian Hackenberg will compete in the Elite 11 finals in California.

Three of the nation’s top quarterback prospects are from the Mid-Atlantic region and all three will be at the national Elite 11 finals camp starting July 18 in Redondo Beach, Cal.

Christian Hackenberg (Fork Union, Va. and Penn State), Wayne Olsen (Wayne, N.J. and Miami) and Shane Cockerille (Baltimore and Maryland) will be competing with 22 other high school quarterbacks. All but one of the 25 has committed to a big-time college program The event, run by ESPN and coached by some recognizable names such as head coach Trent Dilfer, will be televised on ESPN.

The 25 participants won their way there by winning a regional competition or were selected because of their high performance (although not necessarily winning) at those regional competitions.

Regionals were held in Dallas, Atlanta, New York, Columbus, Oakland and Las Vegas. The competition at regionals consisted of quarterbacks throwing routes to receivers and accuracy competitions. The finals are a lot more intense with more drills and playbook knowledge coming into play.

Hackenberg is 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds from Fork Union, Va. and has committed to Penn State. He is the number one rated quarterback by ESPN while also being ranked highly by 247Sports, Rivals and Scout. Hackenberg is a pro style passer that runs a 4.8 40-yard dash.

He finished second in the Las Vegas regional and was the awarded the first wild card berth into the finals.

The playbook study is one of the biggest differences between Elite 11 and other camps as Hackenberg noted in an interview last month in which he had his Elite 11 playbook in hand.

“I just got the playbook and it’s not easy,” Hackenberg said at the time. “But that’s the biggest thing I have to do to get ready. I have to learn the playbook.”

He has also affirmed his commitment to Penn State to several outlets despite the media frenzy in wake of the Freeh report. He says he is looking forward to playing for new coach Bill O’Brien.

“There’s a new energy with the program,” said Hackenberg, who was born in Tamaqua, Pa. and grew up in northeastern Pennsylvania before moving to Virginia. “Coach O’Brien has brought that and he’s the biggest reason I’m going to Penn State.”

Olsen is a 6-2, 195 pounder that is headed to Miami. He is ranked as the seventh top quarterback prospect by ESPN but the fifth overall QB prospect by 247Sports and the first overall in the state of New Jersey. Olsen, whose brother played tight end at Miami, had offers from 19 schools total including the likes of Arkansas, Auburn, Michigan, Florida, Florida State and Wisconsin to name a few.

Olsen won the New York regional to earn is spot in the national finals.

Committed to Maryland, Cockerille is the 21st ranked quarterback by ESPN. He is 6-2, 207 and runs a 4.9 40. Cockerille also had scholarship offers from Michigan, Virginia, Navy and Temple.

The future Terrapin competed in the New York regional and reached the final six of the competition. He was awarded a wild card entry into the finals.

Other quarterbacks attending will be Max Browne (USC), Shane Morris (Michigan), Cooper Bateman (Alabama), Cody Thomas (Oklahoma), Tyrone Swoopes (Texas), Brice Ramsey (Georgia), Malik Zaire (Notre Dame), Troy Williams (Washington), J.T. Barrett (Ohio State), Asiantii Woulard (South Florida), Riley Ferguson (Tennessee), Jared Goff (Cal), Anthony Jennings (LSU), Johnny Stanton (Nebraska), Austin Allen (Arkansas), Davis Webb (Texas Tech), Zack Greenlee (undecided), DeVante Kincaid (Ole Miss), Joshua Dobbs (Arizona State), Luke Del Rio (Oklahoma State), Danny Etling (Purdue) and Zach Allen (Syracuse).

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.

Great Valley’s Geiss wins Elite 25 QB Showcase

Great Valley’s Chris Geiss

There were quarterbacks with bigger names, lots of stars and college offers at the Elite 25 Quarterback Showcase Friday, but none of them took home the MVP honor. That distinction went to Chris Geiss.

Geiss, a senior to be at Great Valley High, beat out over 30 other quarterbacks and won the MVP of the event held at the Lanco Fieldhouse in Lancaster. The event saw the quarterbacks doing different passing and agility drills and scores were kept for each drill.

“It’s great,” said Geiss of winning. “I first came (to coach Jim Cantafio’s camps) last year and have just kept working. At first I was a little frustrated, but I owe it all to (Cantafio). He worked with me and I have just kept getting better.”

Geiss , 6-4, 190, threw for over 1,500 yards but also ran for over 1,000 yards in the run-oriented spread option that is used at Great Valley.

“It’s been kind of frustrating for me,” said Great Valley coach Mike Choi, who drove to Lancaster to see his quarterback in action. “Since the end of last year I’ve been telling people how good he is. I know I’m an option guy and like to run, run, run. But he’s a kid that has great size and can make all the throws. I feel like whenever he has the opportunity to show what he has, he can really be good.”

While Geiss hasn’t had any offers yet, he has had some quality football programs show interest. Villanova, Stony Brook, Richmond, Connecticut and Temple have all been in contact with him.

“I just don’t get it,” said Cantafio, who was the director of the event. “Chris has great size and strength and can make all the throws. And he can also run. I don’t understand why he hasn’t had offers yet. I told him to just keep working and they will come. Plus, he still has his entire senior  year to play.”

Winning the MVP was a good start to his senior season and he and his coaches hope that it might generate more interest among the recruiting services and, more importantly, college coaches.

Cantafio happy with camp

Coach Jim Cantafio was pleased with how his second-year showcase event went – even without highly touted Adam Breneman (injured ACL) and Christian Hackenberg, who elected not to wear out his tired arm even more and sat out the afternoon drills.

“Oh he did the right thing,” Cantafio said of Hackenberg. “There are so many camps and events going on in June. It can make it tough to have to throw all the time.”

At the same time, there were good players on hand.

“I think the neat part is that a lot of the kids that did well are the ones that we’ve seen coming throughout the year. They just keep getting better and better.”

This is the second year of Elite 25 and Cantafio looks forward to continuing the event next year.

“This is something that is just going to keep getting bigger and bigger,” he said. “There are just not a lot of events like this in our area and we need to have them to give our kids experience and exposure.”

In addition to Geiss winning, the freshman/sophomore winner was Malvern Prep’s Alex Hornibrook and the middle school winner was Taylor Lentz from Warwick, Pa.

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



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