Penn State still running strong for Noah Spence … but watch out for Maryland

Harrisburg’s Noah Spence, arguably the top defensive end recruit in the nation, could use a break from the recruiting whirlwind.
And yet it still appears as if the Nittany Lions are among the leaders to land the high school junior — along with Maryland, a dark horse candidate gaining steam.
Spence (6-foot-4, 240 pounds) is from Bishop McDevitt and has already accumulated more than 40 scholarship offers — including an elusive one from the Texas Longhorns, who rarely recruit the state.
“They didn’t even offer Shady McCoy,” McDevitt coach Jeff Weachter said about LeSean McCoy, his former star running back who went to Pitt before being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Spence is being pursued by everyone from USC to Notre Dame to Alabama.
And he’s special not only for his work on the field but off it, too. He’s a top-grade student and his father, Greg Spence, knows the recruiting process well. He was a linebacker at N.C. State.
So far, Penn State has stayed among Noah Spence’s favorites, with defensive line coach Larry Johnson leading his recruiting, according to Weachter.
Spence expects to be speaking to Johnson and coach Joe Paterno on Wednesday or Thursday, which will end a most busy month.
He will concentrate on final exams next week.
“At night his phone rings off the hook. He’s looking forward to sitting back a little bit and taking it all in,” Weachter said. “He’s tiring of it. All the Internet sites keep calling and a lot of coaches have been saying they’re Facebooking him and he’s not getting back to them. I tell them he’s getting calls and 15 Facebooks a night from college coaches, and he’s still a high school kid.”
Spence “really needs” to cut his options to five to 10 this summer, Weachter said. He doesn’t expect Spence to announce his college choice until January.
Despite Penn State’s lack of recent success recruiting McDevitt, “You couldn’t have asked for a better position for him to be in,” said Cory James of “His dad seems like a Penn State parent. (Noah Spence) seems like a really good mix, a high-character kid who does well in school.
“He seems like a good fit (at Penn State). To me, it seems like Penn State would really have to fall off to not be in his final three schools.”
But watch out for the Maryland Terrapins and new head coach Randy Edsall, a York County native.
Or, more precisely, watch out for Terps’ defensive line coach Greg Gattuso. He was the position coach at Pitt recruiting Spence when the Panthers were the first school to offer him a scholarship after his freshman year.
Gattuso has reportedly built a strong relationship with the family.
“Maryland is definitely a player,” Weachter said.

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