ORLANDO, Fla. -- As, the top prospects in the Penn State recruiting class will continue to progress with their off-season workouts. One of those biggest events begins Sunday with practices for the .
Penn State s coaching staff would like to think it knows exactly what it s getting from the elite prospects in the program s 2013 recruiting class and after this week everyone will know a little bit more.
The seventh annual game will be played Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg and aired live on ESPN. Practices for more than 90 of the selected top high school senior participants begin Sunday morning at ESPN s Wide World of Sports.
Participating commits for the Nittany Lions are quarterback wide receivers and and defensive tackle T. In addition to practices and the games, the commits will also compete in a skills challenge. Quarterbacks will have their accuracy tested while receivers participate in a hands competition and linemen go through a strength challenge.
The four Penn State commits are all part of the red, Team Highlight which will be coached by former San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions head coach Steve Mariucci. Former Penn State All-American and former NFL All-Pro is also slated to be on hand to help coach the linebackers.
O Connor, who is set to enroll at Penn State in just a couple weeks when classes resume for the spring semester, will continue to receive coaching from former Florida State Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke. Weinke coached O Connor this season at IMG Academy and the coach will be on hand to work with the quarterbacks from both teams.
Former Denver Broncos, Tennessee Titans and Chicago Bears defensive line coach Rex Norris will serve as the defensive coordinator, working with Holley and others for the week. Robert Ford, who coached with the Cowboys, Dolphins and Cardinals will serve as the offensive coordinator.
I ll be on hand in Orlando until Tuesday night to provide as much insight, analysis and player interviews as possible from the practices. Seeing the top players compete head-to-head in practices and in the skills challenges should help shed some light on just what Penn State is getting with these four players.
How well does O Connor look when Michigan commit is on the other side of the field hawking the ball? Also, how do Godwin and Thompkins, both explosive receivers who are also expected to help the Lions on special teams, create separation against an All-Star defense? Holley, who continues making the transition to the sport after formerly focusing on basketball, will have a chance to gain a broader knowledge of the position.
The event will be the first time these four players are on the practice field together, something that could help O Connor develop an early chemistry with his receivers and will help them get to know Holley a little better. The , making him a late addition to the class. O Connor and Thompkins will have the opportunity to workout together on a regular basis starting in just a few weeks since both will enroll early.
The opportunity for them to spend five days with a select few of their future teammates is something Penn State s Christian Hackenberg and Adam Breneman did at last year s game.
ESPN will televise two of the practices in addition to the skills challenge and Thursday s game.
The television schedule for this week s event is as follows:
Practice: Dec. 30, 4-7 p.m. on ESPNU
Practice: Dec. 31, 7-10 p.m. on ESPNU
Skills challenge: Jan. 1, 9-10 p.m. on ESPN2
Under Armour All-America Game: Jan. 2, 4-7 p.m. on ESPN
Feel free to comment below or contact me on Twitter: @audsnyder4 if you have specific questions you d like me to ask Penn State s four commits. I ll be sure to work in your questions along with my own and see what responses we get.
There will be a lot to ask and observe during the next few days so look for several stories and videos on PennLive starting Sunday afternoon after the conclusion of the first practice.
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