Recruiting has not only become a 12 month-a-year business for college football coaches, it’s also blossomed into a second season of sorts for fans. But just who are the national stars and little-known projects the Nittany Lions are targeting for the class of 2011? What are their stories?
Look to the York Sunday News and our Nittany Nation blog each Friday to find out who may become the future of Penn State football.
This week’s subject is Ben Koyack from Oil City. He’s regarded as the No. 2 tight end in the nation by Scout.com — and also happens to be a standout musician.
Analysis from York Daily Record/Sunday News beat reporter Frank Bodani is on the jump.
Name: Ben Koyack
Height/Weight: 6-foot-5, 230 pounds
School: Oil City High, Oil City
Oil City’s Ben Koyack has been, arguably, Penn State’s top target so far for the Class of 2011, not only because of his rare position skills but also for his known interest in the Nittany Lions.
Here’s a recruiting analysis of the stud who played a pretty sweet trombone before he was ever noticed on the football field.
It’s really no surprise that Koyack is so highly-regarded in football … because he appears to excell at anything he does.
Despite his size, he earned the starting shortstop job as a freshman, “and he could hit a ball as far as anybody could hit a ball,” said Ray Beers his former varsity football coach. “The baseball coaches were upset that he gave it up to run track.”
All he did there was qualify for the state track and field meet during his first season of throwing the javelin.
The list goes on …
Above: Interview from Nittany Network
“He could have been a tremendous basketball player, but he gave that up. And as a 15-year-old kid he power cleaned 315 pounds (in the weight room),” Beers said. “That’s amazing for a 15-year-old.”
Football is his money sport, though.
“He may be the best tight end to come out of Pennsylvania since Kyle Brady,” said Corey James, a recruiting anaylst for Scout.com. “What I’ve heard from my contacts is that he’s a number one priority for Penn State. How often does that happen (with a tight end)?”
He has standout speed for his size to go along with a great pass-catching hands. “He has great body control and is just a mismatch for any defensive back,” Beers said. “A coach from a big-time program told me that he doesn’t have wide receiver speed, he just knows how to get open.”
Of course, the best have already recognized his talents. He has received scholarship offers from USC, LSU, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, as well as Ohio State and Penn State.
He expects to attend Notre Dame’s spring football game and could ultimately decide between the Irish, Ohio State and Penn State.
More impressive is that Ben is one of the youngest in his class.
“He hasn’t been the leader you would expect that guy to be because he is young for his age,” said Matt LaVerde, his high school football coach. “We see a man who can dominate at any level.
“Then we think, ‘Man, he’s only 15.'”
More on Koyack:
Profile from Scout.com
Profile from Rivals.com/Yahoo
Eleven Warriors (OSU) – Catching up with Ben Koyack
Nittany Network: Irish in the mix
Photo 1 courtesy of MaxPreps.com, Photo 2 NittanyNetwork.com