Capitals

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.

Quick Links

Ovi named top dog of NHL's Three Stars of the Week

ovistar.png
USA TODAY SPORTS

Ovi named top dog of NHL's Three Stars of the Week

The red hot Alex Ovechkin is clicking on all cylinders in season 14 and not showing any signs of slowing down. 

The 33-year-old leads the NHL with 29 goals, including one during Saturday's shootout victory over the Sabres, making it six consecutive games he's found the back of the net. 

Not only has Ovechkin scored, but he's scored in droves. Back-to-back hat tricks (Detroit, Carolina) are a big reason why the Great Eight has popped off for nine goals over the last five Capital games. 

Oh, and when he isn't notching hat tricks...catch him sitting courtside for Wizards games. 

For Ovi's efforts, he was named top dog of the National Hockey League's Three Stars of the Week. 

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Wizards' trade for Trevor Ariza, sending Kelly Oubre to Suns, now official

arizaofficial.png
USA TODAY SPORTS

Wizards' trade for Trevor Ariza, sending Kelly Oubre to Suns, now official

For the second time in his career, Trevor Ariza is a member of the Washington Wizards. The trade to send Kelly Oubre Jr. and Austin Rivers to Phoenix in exchange for Ariza was made official on Monday, two days after the teams reached an agreement in principle.

The Wizards played a game during that time, a win over the Lakers on Sunday. Because the deal was not official, head coach Scott Brooks could not comment when addressing the media. 

Up next are the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, with Ariza eligible to make his season debut with the team.

Ariza, 33, comes to Washington in his 15th NBA season. He is averaging 9.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 36 percent from three. He is also shooting just 37.9 percent from the field, the lowest mark of his career.

The Wizards hope Ariza can help shore up their perimeter defense and provide a change to their locker room chemistry. He had two of the best seasons in his career with the Wizards back in 2012-13 and 2013-14. The Wizards were one of the best defensive teams in basketball at the time.

While Ariza will likely debut against the Hawks on Tuesday, it will not be long until the Wizards see Oubre and Rivers again. They return to Washington this Saturday, as the Wizards host the Suns in their first meeting with the team of this season.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: