There's not much more the Nittany Lions can do heading down the football recruiting stretch run.

Except convince one of the nation's top linebackers -- one of the nation's best players at any position -- to come to Linebacker U., too.

Penn State is coming off a somewhat stunning recruiting weekend in which it received verbal commitments from arguably its best receiver prospect in the class (New Jersey's Shawney Kersey), an under-the-radar lineman the Nittany Lions apparently love (New York's John Urschel) and one of the nation's top junior quarterbacks (Paul Jones) for the class of 2010.

What's left to do before national letter of intent day on Feb. 4?

The Lions are still waiting for an announcement from elite Delaware receiver Justin Brown.

And maybe another defensive end.

Most importantly, though, they are waiting to hear from what could be the jewel of their class. Maryland linebacker Jelani Jenkins is a five-star talent who will apparently choose between Penn State, Florida, USC and Stanford at the last moments. ranks him as the nation's top weak-side linebacker at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds -- and he's a 4.0 student, as well.

Already, the late push has the Lions possessing what some experts consider a top 10 class.

And to some surprise, they have done that with three recruits who had originally committed to Rutgers.


Safety Gerald Hodges, defensive tackle Jordan Hill and Kersey all switched their allegiances to Penn State in the past five weeks.

Urschel, from Buffalo, picked the Lions over Stanford, Syracuse, Boston College and a group of Ivy League schools.

"He's got a lot of upside," Bob Lichtenfels of, a national recruiting service, said of Urschel. "He's pretty explosive, but he's not real big, he's undersized. He'll probably be a defensive tackle like Ollie Ogbu, one of those run-stuffers in the middle."

Kersey was considering Iowa, Michigan State, Virginia and West Virginia, as well as Rutgers.

Brown, who is just under 6-4 and 210 pounds, is deciding between Penn State and Rutgers.

"He's a more complete wide receiver (than Kersey)," Lichtenfels said of Brown. "He's a thicker-body type of kid. He's got a better build, he's a little faster, he's an elite-level kid."

As for Jenkins?

Though Penn State doesn't necessarily need to build more linebacker depth, it's difficult not to dream about landing one of the top talents in the nation.

Jenkins is so highly rated for his "freakish speed and explosiveness," Lichtenfels said. "As soon as the ball's snapped, he's like a Scud missile. He goes non-stop, 100 mph, blows up the run, he gets the quarterback, he does everything well.

"It's not going to make or break Penn State, whether they get him," Lichtenfels said. "But if you can get one of the top players in the entire nation ..."

It's bound to help.

And the answer will come in two weeks, reportedly in a made-for-TV announcement from Jenkins' school.; 771-2104