Penn State Football: 5 Recruits Who Didn't Live Up to the Hype

Troy Weller@@troywellerContributor IIIMarch 14, 2014

Penn State Football: 5 Recruits Who Didn't Live Up to the Hype

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    Every college football fan knows about talent gone to waste. When it comes to the amount of stars a player is given by a recruiting site or where they stack up nationally, ratings can sometimes be very deceiving in predicting a player's future.  

    Recently, our very own Edwin Weathersby ranked the most overhyped college recruits over the past few years. While there may not have been any Nittany Lions on the list, Penn State still has its fair share of recruiting duds. 

    In compiling the list, national recruiting rankings were first taken into consideration. After that, the trajectory of the player's career was analyzed.

    The list is a collection of players who failed to perform on the field or had their careers derailed by off-the-field issues. I couldn't put someone on this list whose career was marred by injury, as that's a relatively uncontrollable issue.  

    Here are five Penn State recruits over the last decade who never lived up to the hype.


5. Eric Shrive

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    Rated as the No. 18 overall prospect in's 2009 rankings, big things were expected out of in-state offensive tackle Eric Shrive. As a 5-star recruit, he was basically labeled as a "can't miss" player. 

    A rare combination of size and technique for his age, Shrive never panned out once getting to Penn State. After redshirting in 2009, he spent the next two seasons relegated to a backup role. It wasn't until 2012 when he saw some playing time, but it was more on special teams.

    In his final season in 2013, he made only one start. 

    Shrive makes the list strictly from a football standpoint. When he wasn't on the field, he served as the president of Penn State's Uplifting Athletes chapter, a foundation that raises money for kidney cancer research. For his efforts, he was honored by the Maxwell Club in 2013 as the recipient of the Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award. 

    His career probably didn't go the way he wanted it to. But to say Eric Shrive wasn't a good representative of Penn State would be a lie. 

4. Joel Holler (Picture Unavailable)

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    Unlike Shrive, Joel Holler never had the privilege of playing a snap in Beaver Stadium. 

    A 4-star recruit and one of the best high school offensive linemen in the country, scouts labeled Holler as one of the best offensive line prospects in the nation in 2003. Unfortunately for Penn State and Holler, that label never translated to success at the college level. 

    One of the biggest problems for Holler was that he was actually too big. His 6'5" frame carried over 320 pounds, a number that irked Joe Paterno. Holler was actually heavier at one point—during his senior year of high school, he weighed as much as 375 pounds.

    The weight issue was never resolved. Holler was limited by his inability to get in shape, and his Penn State career wound up amounting to nothing.  

    In the summer leading up to his redshirt sophomore season, Holler elected to transfer to Delaware. Buried on the depth, Holler's mother thought her son wasn't appreciated by the coaching staff. 

3. Rob Bolden

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    Rob Bolden, a 4-star recruit, was believed to be the next great quarterback at Penn State. It didn't work out that way. 

    Named the starter for the first game of the 2010 season as a true freshman, it was the first time since 1992 that had happened under Joe Paterno. Many of the coaches were gushing over his potential. 

    That potential was never unleashed. In his first two seasons, Bolden threw seven touchdown passes and 14 interceptions. In 2011, he completed only 39 percent of his passes. 

    While Bolden underperformed, he wasn't put in the best situation to succeed. The coaching staff at the time deserves some criticism for Bolden not panning out. 

    For nearly two years, the coaching staff foolishly implied a two-quarterback system with him and former walk-on Matt McGloin. This was enough to shake Bolden's confidence, and he was never able to reach the level many thought he could. 

    Bolden transferred to LSU following the NCAA sanctions. He was a backup quarterback for two years before recently moving to wide receiver

2. Chris Bell

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    A 5-star recruit, wide receiver Chris Bell certainly has an interesting story. 

    Bell's career got off to a slow start. In 2006 and 2007, he combined for only 12 catches and 209 yards. To be fair, he was playing behind the likes of Derrick Williams, Deon Butler and Jordan Norwood. But with a scouting report like his, Bell hadn't yet delivered on his potential. 

    His situation worsened, as Bell ran into some serious trouble. In the spring of 2008, prior to Penn State's Rose Bowl run that season, Bell was kicked off the team. He threatened teammate Devon Still with a knife and was subsequently charged by local police. 

    Bell would later plead guilty to the charges and received probation. He would eventually latch on at Norfolk State before leaving early to enter the NFL draft. He was not selected. 

    To provide a comparison, Bell was ranked 27 spots ahead of Hakeem Nicks in's wide receiver rankings. Nicks eventually wound up as a first-round pick in the 2009 NFL draft.

1. Antonio Logan-El (Picture Unavailable)

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    Rated as a 5-star prospect in 2006, offensive lineman Antonio Logan-El was making headlines even before stepping on campus. Not in a good way, though. 

    In a now infamous recruiting decision, Logan-El spurned Maryland—a program he had once committed to—on national television in favor of Penn State. He was a Maryland native, and many Maryland fans had showed up for the announcement. 

    Once in Happy Valley, the highly touted prospect couldn't make the transition to the college game. He apparently struggled with the Nittany Lions' conditioning program from the onset and ended up redshirting his freshman season in 2006.

    In April of 2007—not even a full year after he stepped on campus—Logan-El left the team. He announced the decision via Facebook, which seems fitting considering how he announced his college decision. 

    Just recently, Tom Dienhart of the Big Ten Network named Logan-El as Penn State's biggest recruiting bust over the last 10 years. Dienhart wrote that Logan-El never had the "fire in his belly" for the sport. 

    I'm also designating him that title as well. It's a big deal when a player that highly rated falls flat that quickly. 


    Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting rankings and information came courtesy of