Carson’s Corner: Marsteller’s Decision Will Benefit Penn State in the Long Run

| November 8, 2013 | 0 Comments

MugLosing Chance Marsteller, the top-ranked recruit in the class of 2014, was a blow for Penn State and head coach Cael Sanderson. Make no mistake about that.

Marsteller was the heir apparent to replace David Taylor at 165. Now Sanderson will have to re-adjust and find a new anchor for the middleweights. It probably won’t be this season; most of the top guns have already made their college choices. He’ll have to wait for the 2015 class to get his man, unless he can change someone’s mind and get them to jump ship to the Nittany Lions before early signing day on November 13.

The Kennard-Dale senior had a change of heart and will take his talents to Oklahoma State and coach John Smith instead. It happens. Young athletes change their minds like will-o-the-wisps when it comes to recruiting. Look no further than college football and basketball. You’ll see de-commits happening on an almost daily basis.

Yes, losing Marsteller stinks if you’re a Penn State follower, but it’s not the end of the world or the Nittany Lions for that matter.

German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “what does not destroy me make me stronger.” Well, Sanderson and company are not destroyed and this will make the program stronger.

How?

One word.

Adversity.

Adversity has a bad rap. There are many good things about having adversity come into your life.

Adversity builds character. Adversity keeps you from being soft and lazy. Adversity helps you focus and get to work on the things you need to do to bring you back and beyond where you started. Adversity makes champions.

Let’s face facts. Penn State has had a pretty good run. Three consecutive national championships with a fourth most likely coming this season. With so much success, there is a natural tendency to get complacent. It’s human nature.

Sanderson’s teams win and recruiting is easy. Most of the top kids want to go there. He doesn’t have to do a hard sell at all.  The national titles and All-Americans speak for themselves. Sanderson even turned away Thomas Haines this summer after he got a verbal from Nick Nevills, the top ranked heavyweight in the nation. Turning away a guy who could be a four-time PIAA champ.  Unbelievable.

The Marsteller decision is a wake-up call that could actually keep Penn State at the top of the college wrestling world. For the first time since he’s been the head man at PSU, Sanderson will not get the top kid in Pennsylvania. Don’t think for one minute, despite his quiet demeanor, he’s happy about it. It irks him to no end.

All this has done is make Sanderson and his staff even more focused keeping Penn State on top so it doesn’t happen again.

Something else to consider is the nature of recruiting itself. While Marsteller should be an outstanding wrestler in college, there is no guarantee he will be. It’s all a crap shoot.

Penn State fans know this all too well. Do the names Matt Gerhard, Adam Mariano, Nathan Galloway, and Garrett Scott ring a bell?

All were can’t miss prospects for the Nittany Lions. All were destined to be national champions. Guess what? They missed.

Gerhard never cracked the starting lineup, Mariano and Galloway left school, Scott disappeared in a blink of an eye.

Even if Marsteller has a great college career, does anyone believe he will do what Taylor, the man he was going to replace, has done? I don’t think so.

Marsteller is good.  He is a strong, physical farm boy with solid skills, but he doesn’t have the take your breath away ability of Taylor.

When all is said and done, Taylor will most likely become a four-time finalist and a two-time national champion. Does anyone believe Marsteller can do the same? Maybe, but I highly doubt it. He could win multiple championships, but I don’t for one-second think he’ll make it to four NCAA finals.

The truth is you can’t predict what a kid is going to do in college and that goes for any sport. Everyone knew Ed Ruth was good coming out of Susquehanna Township and Blair Academy, but I don’ t think anybody thought he’d be as good as he’s been. You just can’t know until they get on the mat and perform.

In the end, Marsteller didn’t want to be at Penn State, so why would Sanderson want someone who didn’t have his heart in the program? You need athletes who are committed to each other and their team to be successful. Marsteller didn’t want to make that commitment, so it’s best he isn’t going to Happy Valley.

The Marsteller decision looks bad for Penn State in the short term but in the long view, it may just be a blessing in disguise.

 

Category: Carson's Corner

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