O'Brien's recruiting class has five early signees

O'Brien's recruiting class has five early signees

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) Tight end Adam Breneman tops the list of five new recruits who have signed early at Penn State as part of the school's first recruiting class since the program was sanctioned by the NCAA.

Breneman has remained vocal about sticking with the Nittany Lions since the NCAA penalties were announced in July for the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal. Breneman sat out his senior season at Cedar Cliff High in Camp Hill, Pa., with a right knee injury.

Tight end has turned into a strength in the year since Bill O'Brien took over as Penn State coach. Breneman could join breakout star Kyle Carter and Matt Lehman at the position in 2013.

O'Brien also announced Monday that backup tailback Curtis Dukes had left the team.

Dukes' departure was not surprising after the junior slipped down the depth chart behind sophomores Zach Zwinak and Bill Belton in 2012. The junior with the punishing 6-1, 245-pound frame played nine games and ran for 98 yards on 26 carries last year.

The Nittany Lions will also have Akeel Lynch, who redshirted last year as a freshman, in the mix at running back behind Zwinak, a 1,000-yard rusher.

O'Brien added running back Richy Anderson as an early enrollee, as well. Anderson's father is former Penn State and NFL fullback Richie Anderson.

Junior college quarterback transfer Tyler Ferguson also formally joined Penn State on Monday, the first day of the spring semester. Ferguson is expected to compete with returning backup Steven Bench for the starting job vacated by record-setting senior Matt McGloin.

The school is expected to also add quarterback prospect Christian Hackenberg, who, like Breneman, has been vocal about staying with Penn State. Hackenberg is expected to sign next month and join the team this summer.

The two other January enrollees are both defensive backs - Anthony Smith, of Randolph, N.J., and Jordan Smith, of Washington, D.C. They are unrelated.

The NCAA sanctions capped the number of recruits that Penn State can sign to 15 annually for the next four years starting with the 2013 class. Most teams can sign 25 in a year.

However, recruits who joined the team as early enrollees Monday officially count against the 2012 scholarship class - meaning the 2013 class could actually include up to 20 recruits.

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3 reasons the Caps beat the Stars


3 reasons the Caps beat the Stars

The Washington Capitals had not beaten the Dallas Stars at home since 2006, Alex Ovechkin's second season in the NHL. That streak ended on Tuesday in a 4-3 Caps win.

Here's how the Caps were finally able to down Dallas in Washington.

Oshie still hot

After going 19 straight games without a goal, T.J. Oshie has been red-hot of late with four goals in his last four games. He scored Washington’s first goal in what would become a three-goal period for the Caps as they battled back from a 1-0 deficit into a 3-3 tie through 40 minutes. Oshie also added an assist as he won a power play faceoff that John Carlson fed to Alex Ovechkin for the goal.


Ovechkin victimizing his favorite target

You knew Ovechkin would score given he was playing against one of his favorite targets. With his second period goal, Ovechkin now has 22 goals against Kari Lehtonen in his career, tied with Henrik Lundqvist for the most goals he has scored on any netminder. Lehtonen has not been in the Eastern Conference since the 2008-09 season. When he goes to sleep at night, Ovechkin is who he sees in his nightmares.

The Carlson-Klingberg duel

Carlson and John Klingberg entered Tuesday’s game each with 59 points, tied for the league lead in points among defensemen. Carlson downplayed the matchup both before and after the game, but it was clear that both players were playing at another level all game long. While both players tallied two points on the night, you have to give the win to Carlson as he had the most significant point, a game-winning goal in the third period.


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Redskins make contract offer to pass rusher Pernell McPhee, per report


Redskins make contract offer to pass rusher Pernell McPhee, per report

Free agent pass rusher Pernell McPhee visited the Redskins on Monday, and by Tuesday night a report emerged that Washington offered the veteran outside linebacker a contract.

Last week, Trent Murphy signed with the Buffalo Bills and things remain uncertain between the Redskins and Junior Galette. That means the organization has a need for an edge rushing linebacker, and that's exactly the role McPhee can play. 

A 29-year-old that played the last three seasons with the Bears, McPhee posted 14 sacks while in Chicago. Prior to his time with the Bears, McPhee was a solid contributor on some good Ravens teams. 


His best season in Baltimore came in 2014 when he posted 7.5 sacks. That's also the last season McPhee played a full 16 game schedule. He's missed 12 games over the last three years in Chicago. 

McPhee could provide the Redskins with solid veteran depth at outside linebacker, and he's also considered a plus defender against the run. With Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith cemented as the starting outside linebackers, if signed, McPhee would pair up with Ryan Anderson on Washington's second unit. At 6-foot-2 and 275 lbs., McPhee carries more weight on his frame than either Kerrigan or Smith. 

Pro Football Focus gave McPhee a strong grade for the 2017 season. He notched a +11.5 and ranked 13th out of 46 outside linebackers graded. For comparison, Broncos star Von Miller ranked 1st at +57, Kerrigan ranked 8th at +22.9 and Galette ranked 10th at +16.2.

It's unclear what a move for McPhee would mean between the Redskins and Galette, but it's hard to imagine it helps.

Free agent Johnathan Hankins also visited Washington on Monday, and while he plays an interior defensive line position different from McPhee, it's also unclear what this offer would do to any negotiations between the Redskins and Hankins. 

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