- Josh Moyer, ESPN Staff Writer
Montae Nicholson's coach told the junior, two days before game time, that he should think about attending the Indiana-Penn State game.
Nicholson (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway) shrugged and decided to follow that advice. And, he said Sunday, he wasn't disappointed.
"I was like, 'Why not?'” Nicholson said. "The atmosphere, they were probably one of the largest crowds I've been to other than Michigan. We realized it was Thanksgiving break, so we thought most of the students wouldn't be there, but it was live the whole game. It was one of the loudest atmospheres I've been in."
The ESPN Watch List prospect said surprises were scattered throughout his visit. When he arrived in the recruiting lounge, he was greeted by the coaching staff. When he walked on the sideline, student fans yelled his name.
And when his ailing mother brought a stadium seat that was turned away at the gate, Nicholson and his mother were greeted in the stands with special accommodations.
"What also stood out was how hype everything was in the pregame," the 2014 safety said. "It was ridiculous. The music was going, and everyone was just in the zone."
Nicholson visited Happy Valley over the summer for a camp, but he said this experience was unique. He had never before attended a Penn State game -- and this was just his fifth college visit of the season.
He previously watched West Virginia, Pitt, Ohio State and Michigan. Nicholson -- who insisted he holds no favorites -- said he might also stop by Heinz Field again next Saturday, but he had no other future visits scheduled.
"Every time I go to a game, it helps because I get to actually see the players play and how the coaches handle situations," said Nicholson, who boasts double-digit offers.
"And Penn State was just great. Everybody was courteous."
1dJosh Moyer and Tom VanHaaren