Land of 10/file photo
Jason Cabinda knows he has his work cut out for him as the NFL draft approaches. Cabinda is the 16th best outside linebacker according to one scouting service.

Why it’s OK Penn State nixed rivalry with Pitt; top 12 Pennsylvania recruiting targets for Nittany Lions

Penn State football is the No. 1 topic in We are… Awake every day — but we cover news, notes and analysis from across Nittany Lions sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Penn State football, recruiting, basketball and more.

A rivalry lost

Penn State and Pitt will not play anymore. Insert sad face here. This was known for a few weeks with the Nittany Lions adding Virginia Tech and Nevada to upcoming schedules that room was tight to fit the cross-state rival Panthers in for another four-game series.

Maybe in the future the two will hook up again, but as Vincent Lungaro recently wrote for the Daily Collegian, it’s OK that this series is on hiatus for the time being.

From Lungaro:

It doesn’t make much sense for Penn State to keep another Power-5 program like Pitt on its schedule with those three opponents already on the slate. It would likely only do more harm than good.

The Big Ten East is the toughest division in college football. An additional loss to Pitt or another Power-5 opponent in the nonconference schedule would put Penn State behind the eight-ball even before they take the field for a conference clash with Michigan or Ohio State.

It’s possible the two sides could re-up the series around 2022. But with Pitt and Penn State, don’t hold your breath.

A dozen to watch

The state of Pennsylvania has a fairly decent crop of prospects for 2019, maybe not as great as the class that just signed with respective schools, but there’s plenty of quality players to be recruited.

Land of 10’s Tyler Donohue looks at the top 12 prospects for this football season, one of which, State College prospect Keaton Ellis, has already verbally committed to Penn State.

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Good enough

Former Penn State linebacker Jason Cabinda has his work cut out for him at the NFL combine later this month, but there is a chance he will hear his name called at some point during the NFL draft.

John McGonigal of the Centre Daily Times writes that Cabinda will have to answer questions about whether he is athletic enough to get to the next level, and that’s just fine with him.

From McGonigal:

To me, the biggest question a lot of these scouts are asking themselves is, how athletic am I? It’s going to be about running fast, jumping far, jumping high, all those things. Showing them that I move fluidly, I’m smooth in the way I move, I transition well in position drills, and in the 40 and those things, I’m running fast.

WalterFootball.com has Cabinda rated the 16th best outside linebacker available in the draft.

Diamond debut

Penn State wide receiver Mac Hippenhammer practiced plenty during the 2017 football season, but found it hard to crack Penn State’s depth chart at wide receiver.

That could change in 2018, but for the time being, Hippenhammer made his Penn State sports debut last weekend as a member of the Nittany Lions baseball team.

Greg Pickel of Pennlive writes that it has been Hippenhammer’s plan all along to play both sports in college.

2-horse race

Penn State will have about a week to get ready for the Big Ten Wrestling Tournament and eventual NCAA Tournament. So are they among the favorites to win the national title again?

Well, yes, but it’s not going to be easy. Ohio State could stand in the way of another reign by Cael Sanderson’s bunch.

Nate Cobler of the Centre Daily Times answers that question and others as the Nittany Lions get set for their favorite time of the year — the wrestling postseason.

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