While listing several things he felt Penn State had accomplished on 2012 signing day, new Nittany Lion defensive coordinator Ted Roof seemed to have his finger on the fast-forward button.
"We've got a great jump on the next class, as well,'' Roof said.
After the scandal and coaching change resulted in several decommitments that made this year's Penn State recruiting class a letdown, the Lion coaching staff has vowed to hit the ground running for 2013, a year that might be crucial to the program.
"Obviously, there are some holes they need to fill in the 2013 class,'' said Sean Fitz of the Lions247 website. "There's still a lot of work to be done. That will be the judge of how this staff responds to everything that's coming at them right now.''
According to Fitz's network and others that cover recruiting, Penn State already has issued close to two dozen scholarship offers to high school junior prospects - some of those were submitted by Joe Paterno's coaches but will be honored by Bill O'Brien's staff - that are known. Even more might be forthcoming, as the Lions already have scheduled "junior days'' on Feb. 18 and Feb. 27 when they'll have a group of prospects on campus at once.
"They have to be aggressive,'' Cory James, who has already identified about a half-dozen recruits who've been invited to the junior days for Scout.com's Penn State website, said. "They have to get out there to tell people what Penn State is all about, and they have to get people on campus so they can see what's going on there.''
"When the [prospects] come on campus, the players on the team are the most important in recruiting. They sell the program,'' Ryan Snyder of BlueWhite Illustrated said.
While Penn State currently has 14 seniors scheduled to be graduating next year, the number of scholarships available is expected to be closer to 20 because some of the large number of redshirt juniors are unlikely to come back in 2013. There's also the potential for some players to transfer because they don't fit in with the new coaching regime.
"Quarterback's going to be big. I've already heard [they've approached] five or six, some of whom with offers, which you wouldn't see under the former staff,'' James said. "I know they would have liked another defensive back in this class, so I can see that being a priority, along with quarterback and offensive line, and, I would think, some defensive ends in there as well, and probably several running backs; they've offered some guys there as well.''
With O'Brien's resume working with Tom Brady with the New England Patriots, he's expected to draw a lot of return interest from quarterbacks. The first two that have gotten offers are the Virginia duo of Ryan Burns and Christian Hackenberg, both of whom are at least 6-4. Hackenberg is at Fork Union Military Academy but his family is from the Pottsville area.
Some others on whom to keep an eye are Connecticut's Boeing Brown, New Jersey's Kevin Olsen, Ohio's Malik Zaire and Florida's Tyler Cogswell and John O'Korn, who moved south from Huntingdon last year.
"Bill O'Brien's going to get his quarterback in 2013,'' Snyder said.
Of course, having a good quarterback attracts good receivers. Cedar Cliff's Adam Breneman and West Virginia's Ryan Switzer are considered two of the best possibilities to commit early and get the ball rolling for Penn State's 2013 class. Switzer draws comparisons to the Patriots Wes Welker. Breneman is the early leader to be the No. 1 tight end prospect in the country.
"They're going to have to bring in some vocal guys, as well as land some of these marquis guys. If you bring in a quarterback, all of a sudden your class is instantly valid to other skill players,'' Fitz said. "If you bring in a Breneman or a Christian Hackenberg, you are setting yourself up. It's all about momentum.''
On signing day, the assistant coaches said they'd still recruit primarily from the same area the staff focused under Paterno. However, there were some adjustments, and much of the staff has recruiting ties along the Atlantic Coast, in the Deep South and in Texas, so don't be surprised to see the Lions try to pluck a player or two out of there.
"Obviously, everybody's going to be in Pennsylvania. We're going to try to do a little bit better job in Ohio, which they haven't done in the past, and in Big Ten country. We'll continue to hit New York, New Jersey and surrounding areas, Philadelphia. It might go a little more south with Coach O'Brien's experience and some of the other guys on the staff's experience,'' assistant head coach Stan Hixon, who used to coach at LSU, among other places, said.
Other early four-star-or-better prospects with whom Penn State is involved are Central Valley receiver Robert Foster, North Allegheny guard Patrick Kugler, New Jersey linebacker Buddy Brown, Ohio linebacker Ben Gedeon, Indianapolis linebacker Tim Kimbrough, Richmond running back Derrick Green, Virginia defensive end Jonathan Allen, Virginia safety Tim Harris and New Jersey defensive tackle Greg Webb.
"The coaches are going to be going after some top prospects this year,'' Snyder said. "It should be an exciting year. If you were ever going to sign up for one of these recruiting websites, this would be the year.''