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Maryland lineman Brian Gaia commits to Penn State

Submitted by on May 9, 2011No Comment

As if Penn State fans needed further proof of Larry Johnson’s prowess when it comes to recruiting the state of Maryland, lineman Brian Gaia out of Baltimore, MD called the defensive line coach to commit to the Blue and White over the weekend. Another great pickup in Larry Johnson’s effort to single handedly solidify The Old Line State as a Penn State recruiting pipeline.

“He visited one of their spring practices a couple weeks ago. I think he knew then that was where he wanted to go,” Gilman’s assistant coach Henry Russell said. “He wanted to talk it over with his family and his coaches and everything. We all think that’s the best fit for Brian. He called [Penn State defensive line coach] Larry Johnson this weekend and he talked to him and Coach [Joe] Paterno on Saturday. They were real excited about it. Brian’s excited to have the process over for him.”

Brian Gaia becomes the 7th member of the class of 2012 and the 4th defensive lineman to join the Lions.

Photo Credit: ESPN.com
The Baltimore native is listed as a 3-star prospect by both Rivals and Scout and owns an impressive offer list that includes the likes of Iowa, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, West Virginia, Boston College, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Maryland who all recruited the 6’2.5″ 287 lb recruit for the offensive guard position at the next level. Penn State is the only program to offer Gaia as a defensive tackle, a move that seemed to have made the difference as Gaia spurned the hometown Hokies, Cavaliers and Terrapins for the Nittany Lions. It also doesn’t hurt knowing that Gaia has been a longtime fan of the Nittany Lions.

The two-way sports star for the Gilman Greyhounds should be well aware of the difference between the two positions having played on both sides of the line. The standout lineman earned all-state, all-metro, and all-conference honors for a second consecutive season as he led the Greyhounds to a 7-3-0 record including 4-1-0 in MIAA (Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association) play.

He also recently put on an impressive performance at the Under Armor Combine at MT&T Stadium in Baltimore last weekend where he completed 28 reps on the bench press and recorded a 5.43 40-yard dash on a wet field. ESPN recruiting analyst Craig Haubert was on hand at MT&T stadium and had this to say about Gaia.

“Gaia is a thickly-built prospect who carries his 287 pounds well. He looks to spend his fair share of time in the weight room and he pushed out 28 reps on the bench press… he said Penn State has offered him as a defensive tackle and he worked out with the defense at the camp. We would have liked to have seen more of Gaia in one-on-ones, but he displayed some of the tools that we saw on film that can allow him to develop into a good lineman at the next level. We feel he is best suited for offense, but either way the big man is a good prospect.”

“While we feel offense may be the slightly better fit it is not unreasonable for Penn State to project this tough customer on defense. He plays with a nasty attitude and physically is a kid you can tell doesn’t shy away from time in the weight room. He displays good initial quickness and the ability to come off the ball low and be explosive. He is active with his hands in taking on and shedding from blockers.”

Brian Gaia is a great pick-up for Penn State. It is downright exciting to see the possibilities for Gaia under Larry Johnson’s tutelage. And like several other recruits in this recruiting class, Gaia has the tools to add to Penn State on defense as well as possibly contribute on offense offering versatility in the trenches.

And you have to love a recruit who grew up rooting for the Blue and White and understands the value of a good education.

“I want a good fan base, coaches I get along with and a good education. I’m looking to study business.”

Welcome to the fold Brian Gaia!

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