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Thursday, July 11, 2013
Q&A: 2015 OL Hoge talks PSU, recruitment

By Josh Moyer

2015 OL Tristen Hoge (Pocatello, Idaho/Highland) flew into State College about three weeks ago for a one-day camp and left with a PSU offer. Since then, he's also picked up offers from LSU and Notre Dame.

NittanyNation recently caught up with Hoge, the nephew of former NFL running back Merril Hoge, to see where PSU stands and how his recruitment's going.

NittanyNation: We talked two weeks ago and you said PSU and BYU were at the top of your list. But, since then, you've earned offers from LSU and Notre Dame -- so where do those schools stack up now?

Tristen Hoge: Yeah, I could say three of them -- LSU, Notre Dame and Penn State -- are kind of tied. I'm kind of looking through my options, and I'm planning on going to some games if time permits me. We would probably go to Notre Dame over Thanksgiving break because we'd have a family dinner in New York and then go to South Bend after.

Penn State's definitely still in the running, definitely in the top three. I'm trying to see if I can attend a game at Penn State, too, because I didn't get to see everything.

NN: You've visited five schools so far -- PSU, LSU, Notre Dame, BYU and Utah -- so what recruiting pitch has stuck out the most to you so far?

TH: Notre Dame. The most interesting pitch I heard was out of the 9 or 10,000 students there, they have a 97 percent graduation rate. And, in their fields, they're able to get the top-paid jobs and everything. That showed a lot.

I enjoyed all the visits though, and I couldn't single one out of my last three: Notre Dame, Penn State and LSU. Like I said, I'm just always thinking that I'm going to these big-time colleges that other people would dream to go to. I'm almost living a dream. I'm blessed and privileged to be able to do this.

NN: I take it academics are No. 1 on your list of priorities, right? What else is especially important to you in a school?

TH: You know, it's always the academics. I take serious pride in what I do there; I don't accept failure with anything -- but especially academics. I always strive to find a challenge, and I never do something simple.

And, besides that, I need a coach where that energy flows between us, from player to coach. That relationship we form is important. I want a coach where they love football so much and everything that when you're in the NFL you come back to see that coach. That's what I'd like to see.

NN: What stuck out to you most about PSU during your June trip?

TH: It's that energy; I like that again. Their pure love transfers through you and through all the players. I like all the energy and every coach, from Coach [Bill] O'Brien down to every single coach. And what I liked best is just how tight-knit the school is there. It's a tight community, a tight family. It was really cool.

NN: I've heard a lot of guys point to that family atmosphere, but it's interesting to me that you say that since you were only there a day or two. What did you see that made you pick up on that?

TH: I come from a smaller town and, coming to another small community, you get that feeling off the bat where everyone is not just a fan of Penn State, they're almost like a family member. You just feel that when you step off the plane.

NN: You've received a lot of attention already, and you still have two high school seasons left. What do you think these colleges have seen in you, and what do you think you have to work on a bit more?

TH: I always take pride in being a technician; that's my first priority. As a big lineman, I can throw someone around all day but, in the end, if you against a D-lineman of equal or better skill, they're going to beat you on technique. And that's what I pride myself in -- technique. Nobody's perfect, but I keep my timing up to date. Every skill I can learn, I use.

And I can say a weakness I have is almost opening the gate to the pass-rush but, honestly, everything I do I can always work on. My old coach always said that practice makes permanent, not perfect.