Posted by Bryan Fischer
Offseason talk in State College the past few years has generally centered on the 'When will Joe Paterno retire?' question. It's a little different in 2011 however, as talk around campus is about Penn State football is a lot less about JoePa and a lot more about what JoePa's assistants are doing on the recruiting trail.
The Nittany Lions continued to build a strong class of 2012 this spring, adding the verbal commitment of Pennsbury (Pa.) offensive lineman J.J. Denman Wednesday evening.
"The coaching staff, first of all, they're great," Denman told Rivals. "Big Ten football, obviously that's pretty good. Penn State has a lot of sports, they have a good athletic program and just being in Pennsylvania, playing for Penn State is a big deal.
The 6-foot-7, 300-pound tackle is expected to come in and compete on the outside right away. Denman recently took an unofficial visit to the school and that seemed to do enough to keep the talented in-state prospect close by.
"(Early playing time) is definitely a plus, and when it became apparent that I could do that, it became a factor," he said. "I had the opportunity to play early at a few places, but I wanted to make sure that I was 100 percent comfortable going in, which would make the transition a little easier.
Denman is the eighth commitment for the Nittany Lions' class of 2012. He is the third offensive lineman and the second the staff is recruiting at tackle.
Ranked 36th in Tom Lemming's Top 100 for 2012, Denman is a four-star prospect who is the seventh-best offensive lineman in a good year for the position.