UNIVERSITY PARK - According to Albert Louis-Jean and his family, the blue-chip 6-foot-1, 180-pound defensive back from Brockton, Mass. is 100 percent committed to the Miami Hurricanes.
It's getting harder, though, to be sure that is 100 percent true.
Louis-Jean, the second-ranked cornerback in the country according to Scout.com and Rivals.com's No. 2 player in Massachusetts, took an official visit to Penn State this weekend. It was Louis-Jean's third trip to Penn State since he verbally committed to Miami.
Louis-Jean was part of a very strong group of prospects at Beaver Stadium Saturday for Penn State's 28-22 loss to Michigan State. In addition to Louis-Jean, three uncommitted four-star prospects were in attendance: Michigan defensive end Anthony Zettel also was on an official visit, while Maryland offensive lineman Donovan Smith and Maryland defensive tackle Darian Cooper were on unofficial visits. Smith has been at several Penn State games and is considered to be leaning heavily to the Nittany Lions.
Defensive end Jordan Kerner of Fairview High School near Erie and New Jersey offensive lineman Anthony Alosi, both of whom already have committed to Penn State, were on hand as well. So was defensive back Shyquawn Pullium, the Erie Cathedral Prep product who was part of Penn State's 2010 recruiting class but spent this semester at Kiski Prep trying to improve his academics. Pullium has reaffirmed in interviews that he still intends to come to Penn State.
Sean Fitz of 247sports.com predicted late last week that approximately 70 high school prospects would be at Saturday's game. That included a number of juniors Penn State is targeting for 2012.
Defensive back was expected to be a recruiting focus for the Nittany Lions this year, and Louis-Jean would be a very big get. In interviews with a number of recruiting websites late last week, Louis-Jean has maintained that he still is firmly committed to Miami, his dream school growing up. In an article published by Scout.com on Friday, Albert Louis-Jean Sr. said his son is "still 100 percent solid to Miami.''
However, the younger Louis-Jean's visits to Penn State have fueled speculation that isn't the case, and rumors began to circulate around Thanksgiving that he is no longer committed to the Hurricanes, contrary to his statements. Louis-Jean is slated to make an official visit to Miami Dec. 10.
Allentown Central Catholic quarterback Brendan Nosovitch, McDowell athlete Greg Garmon, Pennsbury offensive lineman J.J. Denman, Tennessee lineman Blake Bars (whose brother, Brad, signed with Penn State in February), Greensburg Central Catholic offensive lineman Tyler Alt, Wyoming Valley West receiver Eugene Lewis, Washington, D.C. wideout Lamont Baldwin and Parkland fullback Rob Dvoracek headlined a lengthy list of top high school juniors who were expected to attend. That also included several touted underclassmen from DeMatha who accompanied Cooper to the game, as well as a couple of Alosi's Hun School teammates.
Currently, the Lions have five verbal commitments toward their 2011 recruiting class, not including Pullium. That seems destined to increase by the middle of the week - Penn State extended a scholarship offer to Burke, Va., Lake Braddock wide receiver Matt Zanellato on Friday night, and he's indicated in interviews that he's probably going to accept when assistant coaches Larry Johnson and Mike McQueary make an in-home visit on Wednesday.
A 6-foot-3, 190-pounder, Zanellato has 76 catches for 1,444 yards and 17 touchdowns this season after transferring from Robinson High School, where he was Washington Post first team all-Northern Virginia.
Penn State was by far Zanellato's biggest offer yet. He's attended several games at Beaver Stadium, and his brother is a Penn State student.
Penn State is expected to bring in 12-15 recruits in its 2011 class.