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Insider

PSU commit Brendan Mahon won't waver

8/17/2012

Brendan Mahon (Randolph, N.J./Randolph) can't escape the criticism for his college choice. He hears the whispers in the hallways and cafeteria -- "How could you go there?" -- even at a recent Kenny Chesney concert.

But, the Penn State commit said, he's not changing his mind.

"Obviously, you'll hear things," said the ESPN 300 offensive guard. "People say stuff. I'm not saying I don't hear it. I do all the time. But you have to be the bigger person and know what's right for you."

The 6-foot-5, 300-pound lineman grew up rooting for the Nittany Lions, and he doesn't shy away from donning the Blue and White. At that Chesney concert, in the Meadowlands, Mahon wore his Penn State shorts and cap — and received some harsh words for that choice.

He had a few one-liners waiting, but he said most insults no longer bother him. He reminds himself he's representing the university, remains calm and tries to keep matters civil.

"You get immune to it by now," he added. "It's kind of something you expect. It's just like another day."

Those criticisms and whispers grew especially loud around the time of the sanctions. Mahon spoke with other Penn State commits — namely Christian Hackenberg, Adam Breneman and Garrett Sickles — at least five times a day.

They called, texted and met on a Saturday, soon after the NCAA announced PSU wouldn't be heading to four years' worth of bowl games and that it was cutting back on scholarships.

"Once we went out there on that Saturday, we realized this is our family, that this is where we wanted to be," Mahon said. "I think the biggest thing probably getting me to stick with Penn State was the people I built relationships with over the past six, seven months."

Mahon likes to reiterate that he's 100 percent committed to Penn State -- if nothing else unforeseen pops up. As long as the sanctions don't somehow become harsher or coach Bill O'Brien leaves this staff, he's set on becoming a Nittany Lion.

He doesn't plan to take any other official visits, doesn't want to see other campuses and intends to be in the stands for Penn State's Sept. 1 opener against Ohio.

"This is what I've lived for since I was a kid," he said. "I've always admired everything that Penn State has to offer, and one man's actions aren't going to change a whole university around."