When you're a football program that's made a habit of winning Ivy League titles, and then you go 5-5 in consecutive seasons, you can never welcome enough new talent into the equation.
Last year, much of Penn's problems could be traced to the kicking game. Or lack of one.
The Quakers became the first team at any level to play in three straight overtime games, and lost all of them, on missed kicks. They also missed kicks in regulation that helped put them in OT in the first place. In the season's finale, coach Al Bagnoli went for a late two-pointer instead of going for a PAT to tie. They didn't convert that, either.
Which brings us to this year's recruiting class. Of the 32 incoming Quaker freshmen, two are placekickers: Trevor Charlston, from Beverly Hills, Calif., and Dave Kuncio, out of Bergen (N.J.) Catholic. Expect each to compete for a job as quickly as possible, if not sooner. That's the only way to address the need. Doesn't mean it'll get fixed, or when. But you have to start somewhere.
"We feel very good about [this group]," Bagnoli was quoted in a news release. "They have the collective potential to be an outstanding class, and a valuable addition to our current roster."
Other areas that were priorities were running back, defensive line and linebacker. The Quakers brought in three new runners, including Michael DiMaggio, of South Jersey's Bishop Eustace Prep. They added four defensive tackles and three ends, as well as three linebackers. Locally, they landed offensive linemen Ryan Narcum (Downingtown East High) and Joe D'Orazio and Joe McKendry (both St. Joseph's Prep). *