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Penn State, Paterno first offered early scholarships in 1994

By Mike Baldwin Published: July 6, 2008
Blame it on Joe Paterno.

Upset he lost several key recruits on his traditional turf to Michigan and Notre Dame, Penn State's legendary coach began offering scholarships in 1994 to high school juniors before they took a snap their senior year.

A lot of coaches viewed it as an unnecessary risk. Why offer a scholarship before you've seen a player perform his senior year? Now nearly every program jumps the gun and offers early.

Snooze you lose.

Texas coach Mack Brown brought the "early offer” philosophy to the Big 12. Most years the Longhorns have most of their class locked up before players begin their senior season. They already have 19 seniors-to-be committed for the 2009 season.

What date do the coaches want?