New recruits reason for Nittany Nation to rejoice

Aug. 4, 2005

By Chris Nagle

Special to

Penn State football fans have had little to cheer about lately. Losing records in 4 of the last 5 seasons will make you sour.

To make matters worse the one good year, 2002, was much like a Halle Berry scene in "Swordfish"...You're glad it happened and enjoyed watching, but you were left with the feeling that it could have been so much more. Overtime losses to Iowa and Michigan plus a six-point loss at Ohio State left the Nittany Nation unsatisfied.

Well, stay tuned, Penn State fans because this year might be your "Monster's Ball."

In addition of a stout defense that figures among the nation's elite, a group of youngsters have the faithful excited. When two of the country's most sought after recruits, Derrick Williams and Justin King, announced they were heading to Happy Valley to play for Joe Paterno it gave the program the shot in the arm it desperately needed.

Williams, a wideout from Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Md., was the top high school player in the land in 2004. The 6-0, 190-pounder has a 32-inch vertical jump and runs the 40 in 4.3. Penn State has been lacking a big-play threat with speed that can stretch defenses. Williams should fill that missing piece and will likely be in the starting lineup for the season opener Sept. 3 against South Florida.

King comes to PSU from Pittsburgh's Gateway High School. Like Williams, he runs a 4.3 40 and has a tremendous knowledge of the game, the benefit of being a coach's son. Although Justin will most likely end up at cornerback, he saw action at wideout in the spring game after opting to enroll in school early and will spend time with the offense, too.

With Williams' and King's ability to go deep, Penn State won't see nearly as many eight-man fronts from opponents. That should open up the running game, screens, and mid-range passing game, allowing Paterno and quarterback Michael Robinson to become more creative.

The youth movement has Penn State's vociferous fans ready to let loose and happiness back into the Valley once again.