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Reviewing PSU's big recruiting weekend

11/1/2012

ESPN's RecruitingNation spent the past week talking to nearly 20 recruits who attended the Penn State-Ohio State game.

Although the Nittany Lions lost, those recruits said the result didn't negatively affect their opinion of the school. Three-star athlete Zayd Issah said a winning tradition is important, but a single win or loss won't impact recruits one way or another.

That sentiment was echoed by nearly a dozen other recruits who were asked. Overall, the 18 interviewed prospects said their trips to Happy Valley were memorable ones -- most because of the crowd, some become of the family atmosphere and few for other reasons.

ESPN's NittanyNation picked out its favorite quotes from those 18 prospects and included them, along with links to the full stories on each recruit, below:

CLASS OF 2013 RECRUITS

RB Richy Anderson, three stars

Frederick, Md./Gov. Thomas Johnson

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"The sanctions don't matter to me. Being in that environment, it just proves it. No, you can't play in a bowl game. And, no, they lost a lot of scholarships -- but the tradition and everything is still there. It's not just about football."

RB Wesley Bullock, unranked

Tampa Bay, Fla./Plant Senior

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“I knew there were going to be a lot of people because the Penn State fans are loyal and Ohio State was going to travel well. But when you get there and see it in person, it’s a whole different experience. It was different than anything I could imagine and nothing can really prepare you for that many people screaming and cheering. It was so exciting.”

RB William Houston, three stars

Dublin, Ohio/Dublion Scioto

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“The White Out experience was incredible. ... It was a lot louder than a lot of other games. This was pretty loud. I was shocked.”

RB Roman Clay, three stars

Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Catholic

"I was just looking for something big, and I saw something big. It was ridiculous. It was the best college football game I've ever been to. And I've been to a lot, like Maryland, Rutgers, Temple, Pitt -- who else? -- Virginia Tech and a bunch of others. I've been to a bunch, and Penn State was by far the best one I've been to."

WR Brian Lemelle, three stars

Harrisburg, Pa./Bishop McDevitt

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"The atmosphere was crazy. That had to be the loudest."

WR Drew Scales, unranked

Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin

"It's definitely unforgettable. Walking out onto the field, I had the biggest smile on my face, and the fans are just saying, 'Welcome,' and everything, and I just felt at home. I would love to just be able to play in front of people I know and that could come see me and support me all the time."

MLB Jake Plonski, unranked

Erie, Pa./Erie Cathedral Prep

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“It seemed like everybody was pulling for Penn State because of everything that happened. It was the first [home] night game since [the sanctions] so there was a lot of emotion in that game. It was a pretty cool place to be. … I’ve never been in anything like that.”

ATH Zayd Issah, three stars

Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin

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"That atmosphere was loud. I hadn't seen a Penn State game like that since -- actually, not even last year when I went. It wasn't as hype since two years ago when I saw them play Michigan. This was the most hype game since then. They definitely reached another level."

S Malcolm Cook, unranked

Fork Union, Va./Fork Union

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"I was just there visiting. But when I got up there, it was crazy. I was like, how do these people know I'm going to Virginia? They were just like, 'Malcolm! Malcolm!' like they know me."

CLASS OF 2014 RECRUITS

QB Steve Shanley

Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic

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"It was more exciting than at Notre Dame. I've never seen fans get so into a game before in my life."

WR Chris Godwin, ESPN Watch List

Middletown, Del./Middletown

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"Honestly, the only word that really comes to mind is 'crazy.' It was kind of overwhelming because everyone's so excited and so in love with Penn State there. They really love their team, and it's a great fan base."

TE Mike Gesicki

Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional

"That was the third college game I've been to, and no other atmosphere compared to this game. I've been to Auburn-LSU and Rutgers-UConn. Rutgers had 50,000 people and Auburn had maybe 70,000, and yesterday had 100,000 -- and nothing compared to that. It was ridiculous. You could see how much Penn State football meant to those people. I enjoyed every single second of it."

OG Jarrett LaRubbio

Liberty Township, Ohio/Lakota East

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"All I saw was people dressed in white. You can look around and around, and it almost makes you feel light-headed how many people are there. That'll stick with me."

OT Quenton Nelson

Red Bank, N.J./Red Bank Catholic

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"It was incredible. The student section and the fans were just crazy. It was so loud it had to be hard for the linemen to hear the snap count."

DT Connor Morehart

Shillington, Pa./Governor Mifflin

"I'd definitely say it was worth going even though they lost. I knew that it would be loud, but it was loud like with the defense on first- and second- and third-down. It was unbelievable. My ears were ringing a little bit, because the fans were going crazy. It's definitely a good fan base."

DT Nick Flores

Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic

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"The atmosphere was great, fans were good, everything was nice. I really liked it up there."

CB D'Andre Payne, ESPN Watch List

Washington, D.C./H.D. Woodson

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"I was just like, I would really want to play in something like this. The crowd was pumped up, the coaches were pumped up. It was just nice. I was just like, 'Wow, I need to be there.' It was crazy."

CLASS OF 2015 RECRUITS

RB Andre Robinson

Harrisburg, Pa./Bishop McDevitt

"I really liked walking out of the tunnel before the game. That was just -- the student section was yelling down and everything. Looking up and seeing the thousands of people yelling, it's crazy. Just walking out, I wasn't even playing and I was excited. I couldn't imagine if I was getting ready to play a game. It's just amazing."