Penn State’s all important 2012 recruiting class got a little bigger over the weekend as Hialeah, Fla. linebacker Gary Wooten joined the Nittany Lions.
To many fans, it may seem like an odd time to add to the recruiting class this late, but what about this last nine months hasn’t been odd for this program. Wooten, a 6-3, 225 pounder, begins practice today.
Wooten was actually a member of the 2011 recruiting class and was rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals.com. He had offers from Vanderbilt, UMass, Florida International, Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green, Kent State, New Mexico, Florida Atlantic, Western Michigan and Washington State. Instead of taking those offers, he elected to sit out last year and concentrate on getting bigger. He played his senior year at Hialeah at under 200 pounds, which he felt kept him being reccruited by bigger schools. He added 25 pounds and stayed in shape and was ecstatic to get the offer from Penn State.
At one point following his senior season in high school, Wooten announced intentions to commit to FIU. However, he never ended up attending the school – or any other last year.
Penn State defensive coordinator Ted Roof was familiar with Wooten and initiated contact earlier this month. Wooten visited State College and decided to join the Nittany Lions.
As a senior, Wooten had 72 tackles, 12 sacks and two fumble recoveries. He played outside linebacker and was used often to rush the quarterback off the edge.
Wooten being part of the 2012 class is important for Penn State as scholarship sanctions begin with the 2013 class. Having Wooten – or anybody else – be part of the 2012 class adds another scholarship player without counting against the 2013 limit of only 15.
Lions offer Georgia defensive back
Penn State wasn’t done in the South with just Wooten, however. In addition to getting the Florida linebacker for the 2012 class, Penn State offered defensive back Kasey Gaines, from Loganville, Ga. for the 2013 class.
Gaines is a 5-10, 160 pounder that played both safety and cornerback in high school. With that size he is probably ticketed for corner at Penn State. He reportedly runs a 4.5 40.
Harvard, VMI and Howard also offered Gaines.
Marty Valania covers football for NittanyLionsDen.com. Follow him @EastRecruiting on Twitter.