2015 OL Matt Burrell Jr. (Fredericksburg, Va./Chancellor) thought long and hard about attending a Penn State camp last week, but his plans changed when he suffered a minor injury and decided to rest instead.
The 6-foot-4, 278-pound prospect hoped to show the staff his ability up-close this summer, but Burrell wasn't too disappointed about missing his chance. After all, the Nittany Lions already liked what they saw on film because they called to offer more than a month ago.
"It was a great feeling," said Burrell, who received the offer from DL coach Larry Johnson. "I was very excited. I love Penn State; it's always been a big thing. I've always wanted to see a 'White Out,' and I think I'm going to go to the one this fall."
Burrell already has 17 offers -- from the likes of Alabama, Ohio State and South Carolina -- and he's poised to be one of the top linemen in his class.
He's taking his recruitment very slowly and, because of that and some minor joint pain after a recent fall during a run, he hasn't planned any summer visits. He figures his mom can help research some schools, his dad can help with the scheduling, and his coaches can take care of most of the contact. His father prefers it that way so Burrell Jr. can focus on school and athletics.
As a result, the lineman with the long dreds doesn't hold any favorites -- yet. But, his father acknowledged, they do have a soft spot for Penn State.
"I'm a big football buff, so I watched a lot of Penn State with the old black cleats, white helmets and blue jerseys," said Burrell's father, also named Matt. "And it was difficult for us to watch everything that Penn State went through because they were a childhood favorite of his. So I watched a lot of games, and PSU still ranks up there high emotionally."
When asked where his interest in the Nittany Lions currently stood, the younger Burrell also said "high" before his father elaborated a bit on speaker phone.
"Penn State's pretty high with him, even with the sanctions and the scholarships," Burrell's father said. "They're doing a really, really good job with recruiting. And Bill O'Brien's a great coach."
Burrell Jr. still has two more seasons of high school football before he starts his college career, so the Burrell family doesn't see the need to rush the decision. A lot of coaches can be hired and fired, a lot of programs can rise and fall, and a lot of change can happen.
So, Burrell Jr. said, he'll likely just attend an upcoming Under-Armour camp and then focus on those visits after the summer. For now, he just wants to keep his attention on his game. He's aiming to increase his bench-press to 350 pounds, impress enough on defense to draw offers as a DT and increase his weight.
He said he's already added seven pounds since his 278-pound weigh-in at a Nike Football Training Camp in April. So he's well on his way.
"Next year, I'm going to be much stronger," Burrell said. "I haven't really been considering any schools or researching yet because I'm just really trying to get better."