Penn State has added a quarterback to its 2012 recruiting class, and it's a signal caller from outside what has been the Nittany Lions traditional recruiting area.
Steven Bench, a 6-foot-3, 206-pounder from Cairo, Ga., gave a verbal commitment to new Nittany Lion coach Bill O'Brien on Tuesday according to multiple Internet reports.
Bench is the fifth prospect to have committed to the Lions after visiting University Park over the weekend. He becomes the 18th member of Penn State's 2012 class and the second quarterback, joining Philadelphia's Skyler Mornhinweg, who is considering other colleges.
New Jersey lineman Wendy?Laurent joined Bench later in the day, according to Lions247.com. They become the 18th and 19th members, and Bench is the second quarterback.
Bench committed to Rice in December over schools like Georgia State, Jacksonville State, Eastern Kentucky, South Alabama and Samford. However, after the season, he began to receive interest from several BCS schools and even had an in-home visit from Mississippi State. Florida State and North Carolina also were in contact.
A transfer to Cairo before the season, Bench led his team to an 11-3 record and a berth in the Georgia Class AAA semifinals.
Bench might not be the last Georgia recruit to join up with the Lions. The coaching staff recently has extended scholarship offers to several players from that state, and at least one - defensive back Carnell Body of Lithonia Martin Luther King - is expected to take an official visit to Penn State this weekend.
Laurent is a 6-3, 285-pound center from The Hun School in Princeton, N.J. He's a former teammate of PSU lineman Anthony Alosi.
- Philip Cmor