- Josh Moyer, ESPN Staff Writer
George Vinson (Damascus, Md./Damascus) could be the "next man up" when it comes to scholarship offers.
The 2013 linebacker said Penn State's coaching staff likely will let him know by Dec. 4 if there's an offer in his future. NittanyNation recently spoke with Vinson at length about his Penn State recruitment and his odds of becoming a Nittany Lion.
NittanyNation: Penn State has come after you strong now. But when did they initially start recruiting you?
George Vinson: I believe it was last spring. They came here and talked to one of my teammates, Zach Bradshaw. I was in the office at the same time, talking to Coach [Larry] Johnson at the time. They were looking more at Zach than me, because I was a little undersized, so I probably wasn't their top target or the best option at the time. But they started recruiting me again about a month ago.
NN: What has your relationship been like with Johnson, and why do you think your recruitment with PSU has picked back up again?
GV: I've talked to him once a week for the past month. He's definitely a good guy. Some guys in recruiting, they kind of flip you around or lead you onto things or give you false hopes. But Coach Johnson, he really impressed me. He wouldn't be expressing interest in me if there's no interest. I believe I could possibly get a scholarship, because he's a real sincere guy, and he's pretty down to earth and honest.
You know, everybody offers their first guy on the board. And I, probably, was a No. 5 or a No. 6 guy on the board. Some guys decommitted and one guy, Brandon Bell, is still there, so now they're stuck with only one linebacker -- and Coach Johnson communicated to my coach that they would likely have a decision on my scholarship next Tuesday, kinda letting these other guys they already offered know that they'll have to move on if they're not interested in Penn State. So, pretty much, I'm waiting for someone else to say they're not interested.
NN: Is it fair to say that if Penn State offers, you're going to head there?
GV: You know, most likely. I'm thinking I could redshirt and really be competing as a freshman or sophomore for playing time. I'm not 100 percent sure, but I'm definitely leaning that way. That would definitely top my other offers in terms of education and football.
NN: So what has it been like, knowing that you might be a week away from an offer? Is that something you can't really help but think about?
GV: Yeah, actually I got confused. Coach Johnson actually told my coach we'll have a decision by Tuesday, and my coach thought he meant [Nov. 27]. So I was telling my parents Monday I couldn't go to sleep because I might get a text. So I definitely wasn't going to go to sleep again [Nov. 27], but it's actually next Tuesday [Dec. 4].
I'm definitely thinking about it every night and hoping that comes through for me. But it's just a great feeling to know it's a possibility. It's on my mind constantly.
NN: So, in a way, you have a shot at a PSU scholarship because your teammate, Zach Bradshaw, decommitted.You going to buy him dinner if you grab an offer?
GV: [Laughs] Maybe, we'll have to see about that. It is crazy, actually, because we play the same position. He's more of an offensive player, but he's a skilled athlete, so he can play anywhere. We both play linebacker, so he definitely helped me in the sense of picking up a scholarship by decommitting.
NN: You visited Penn State over the weekend. So tell me about that experience. How'd you like it, and what do you think of playing inside that stadium?
GV: It was very fun. It was my first time at a Penn State game. It wasn't my first time on campus; I did the camp in seventh, eighth and ninth grade, so I was familiar with the surroundings, but I had never been to an actual game. Even when they were losing Saturday, the crowd was behind them -- so that's good to know I could possibly be in front of a crowd like that and I could count on them to be there and cheer me on every week.
Just growing up as a kid, I went to those camps, and it would just be like a story in itself. You work so hard for something, you go to a camp as a young kid. And, at that age, it was almost like looking at the NFL by going to that camp. I as just like, 'If only I could play here some day.' I'm just excited now.