2014 offensive lineman Mike Grimm (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) was in the stands for the Penn State-Indiana game and recently spoke with NittanyNation at length about his visit and opinion on the Nittany Lions.
The ESPN Watch List prospect holds three scholarship offers -- Alabama, Cincinnati, Pitt -- and his uncle, Matt Fornadel, played for PSU in the mid-1990s.
NittanyNation: How would you rate your Penn State visit? Did it exceed your expectations?
Mike Grimm: I didn't really have too many expectations going in because I like to go in with an open mind and take it all in, but they did really well. I really liked their facility and their locker room and their pregame, and I got to see the coaches with the players and I really just liked the atmosphere they have in the locker room and how they play together and just how they're all like a family.
You can see that sometimes there's these little groups almost inside the team, and Penn State is not really like that. They're all like one team. ... In the locker room, they were all together as one, and they were all excited for the win as whole, not just individually.
NN: Why did that appeal to you so much?
MG: I think family in general is really important and, when you go to play football, they're like your second family and during the season they're like your first family. That appeals to me because those are like your brothers and all the people you have and you can trust and be with, doing the same thing you all love.
NN: Some recruits say they're really caught off-guard by how many fans actually know their names. How was your experience, and did anything catch you by surprise?
MG: Yeah, there was a lot of people who knew who I was before I even walked in the door. When we parked, I was walking up and people already knew who I was. And, after we got on the sideline, there were these two [Lion Ambassadors] who stayed with me the whole time and told me what was going on and what we were going to do after and where to go get food and just inform me of campus life and stuff like that. That's the first time I had that at a game.
NN: Lots of Penn State fans are going to look at your offer list, see Alabama and think you're not coming to PSU. What would you want to tell them?
MG: I mean, to me, Alabama is a great school and they're a great football team. But I think the local teams, like Pitt and Penn State, I think that just because they're not on like that high pedestal, they're still good teams with great coaches -- and they deserve a chance and deserve an opportunity for me to look at everything, on campus and the facilities.
My interest in Penn State is pretty high, actually, but it's not like I really set out a top-5 yet. But they're up there.
NN: You had a chance to speak with Penn State's offensive line coach Mac McWhorter a few times. What are your impressions of him?
MG: I think he's a good coach because I've been up to Penn State's camp for a day, so I've done some stuff with him. He's a good coach and from what I saw, watching him from the stands, he really knows his players' strengths and weaknesses.
NN: What is important to you in a college? What are some of your main priorities there?
MG: Close to home is kind of a big one. But, at the same time, it's not, because I know -- wherever I go -- my family's going to be happy and supportive. So I would like to be close to home, but sometimes the best opportunity isn't as close to home as I would like it to be. So I'll just have to figure that out.
And I definitely like to watch the coach on the sideline. Just to see his temperament and how he handles if you're losing or how the line plays.
NN: What kind of role do you see Penn State's sanctions playing in your recruitment?
MG: The sanctions don't really mean too much to me because I just figure if you like the coach and the coaches, that shouldn't matter -- because it's about the school you want to be at, the coach you want to play for and the people you want to be with.