Will Todd Graham and Brandon Magee get some linebacker help from Penn State in 2012? (Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE)
Todd Graham is opportunistic.
While the head coach at Pittsburgh, Graham had both Ben Kline and Nyeem Wartman on his radar. Both players were three star linebackers that ended up committing to Penn State. Kline is a redshirt freshman, while Wartman is coming into the fold for his freshman season. Kline was actually committed to Pitt prior to Graham's arrival, but it must be assumed that Graham at least attempted to sway him to be a Panther.
Now that the NCAA has hammered the Nittany Lions with massive penalties, postseason bans and loss of scholarships, a road that had once been closed has reopened for Graham at Arizona State. News broke today that the Sun Devils are hot in pursuit of both linebackers. This was reported by both Bruce Feldman and Doug Haller.
This makes sense, as the Devils are thin at the linebacker position. Four key players are gone from the 2011 team -- Vontaze Burfict, Shelly Lyons, Colin Parker and Oliver Aaron -- have all moved on from the maroon and gold. Brandon Magee is back from a season-ending Achilles injury, but the rest of the linebacker corps has yet to come into full focus.
Should Graham be successful in securing Kline and Wartman, it would be considered a coup for ASU. Early this morning, Black Shoe Diaries indicated that Kline may not see the field much in 2012, despite the talent he possesses. Graham may be able to convince him that there is ample playing time up for grabs in the desert for the next four years. It may be an offer he cannot refuse.