When a major program loses a key recruit, Rivals.com takes a look at how big of a blow it is to the respective school, analyzing it from a local and national level. To quantify the “sting” of each decommitment, we assign a score from one to 10, with one being no big deal and 10 being a catastrophic hit.
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When Neeo Avery committed to Penn State on New Year’s Eve he said that it was going to be the best place for him, the best fit, that he gravitated toward the Nittany Lions.
It was a major pickup because the 6-foot-5, 231-pound prospect from Olney (Md.) Good Counsel is versatile, can play on either side of the field and feels like a plug-and-play guy who can do a lot of things for a program.
But in the months after his commitment, Avery got curious about taking visits and seeing what other programs have to offer and that led to his decommitment from the Nittany Lions in recent days.
Avery is definitely a high-level prospect in the Mid-Atlantic with more than 20 offers, including Georgia, Miami, Notre Dame, Ohio State and many other top-shelf programs.
His loss hurts Penn State, which could have used him all over the field, but the Nittany Lions are also doing well early this recruiting cycle with now seven pledges, including four four-star commitments.
“Losing a commitment at any time is less than ideal, but if it is going to happen then having it happen early on in the cycle is the one positive to take from this. Avery is a jumbo athlete who is really just tapping into his upside as he figures out what position he ultimately wants to play at the next level. I thought a knee injury earlier this year would keep this gem hidden a little bit more for the Penn State staff, but ultimately athletes with his raw ability are going to find many suitors.
“This one stings because of Avery’s long-term upside, as there are only so many guys with his size, speed and quick twitch. Penn State isn’t out of it. The Nittany Lions already had a commitment in this class decommit and ultimately end up recommitting at a later date. But for Avery the cards seem a little more stacked against that happening.” – Eric Lammers, NittanyNation.com
Sting Factor: 7
“Avery is a rare player because he can play different positions on either side of the ball, so losing him hurts, but this can be rectified and it’s still early enough that a lot of talented players remain on the board. Penn State is already putting together an impressive recruiting class loaded with four-star recruits.
“The Nittany Lions have momentum with other top-end players, and while keeping Avery would have been a priority, there are still lots of options on the table. If he ends up playing in the Big Ten that hurts a little more, but if the standout ends up elsewhere then the Nittany Lions have time to figure it out.” – Adam Gorney, Rivals national recruiting director
Sting Factor: 5