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Thursday, December 6, 2012
PSU eyeing 2014 Detroit trio

By Josh Moyer

Avonte Maddox smiled as he sat down to a cafeteria lunch of chicken, cookies and a carton of kiwi-strawberry juice on Tuesday. The 2014 athlete never had a chance to finish it.

His baseball coach strolled up to his lunch table to tell him Penn State assistant Ron Vanderlinden was sitting inside his office there at Detroit (Mich.) Martin Luther King. Maddox shot the coach a confused look, slowly rising because he wasn't sure whether it was a joke.

It wasn't.

"Oh, Penn State, he came out of nowhere," said Maddox, who plays wideout and cornerback. "He gave me his card and said if I had anything to ask, I could call him. And when I got back to the table, my lunch was gone."

Maddox didn't mind the growling stomach. He was pleased to add the Nittany Lions to a growing list of interested schools -- mainly from the Big Ten -- and he soon discovered he wasn't the only MLK student Vanderlinden wanted to see.

His best friend, wideout Jalen Embry, also chatted with the linebackers coach. And another teammate, linebacker Carl Fuller, also briefly saw Vanderlinden.

"Avonte was nervous about his picture, but everything was good," Embry said with a laugh. "He asked for our basic information, when they want us to come to the school on their junior day and hopefully next year on our official. When he said that, I was surprised. He gave his card and told me his email."

The two best friends, who first played together for the Detroit Dolphins as 6-year-olds, acknowledged they didn't know too much about Penn State. They wanted to attend its junior day to learn more, and they said their recruitment remained wide open.

But the two still boast high interest in other schools. Maddox, a 5-foot-9, 160-pound recruit, said he preferred to attend a college outside his home state and already likes Florida, Ohio State and Oregon. Embry likes Michigan, Ohio State and any school in Florida.

Why any school?

"Good weather and beautiful women," Embry said with a chuckle, adding he's already researched law-enforcement majors at Miami and USF.

The two hope to commit to the same college -- they currently live together -- and the pair laughed Wednesday night while they played Call of Duty: Black Ops. Embry called them a "package deal." Maddox just reflected on the brief visit, admitting he was a little nervous.

"He told me, 'I heard you were as fast as lightning,' " Maddox said. "I was like, 'You could say that.' He said he'd probably be coming back, so that's cool.

"It was a surprise to see him, and I would like to go to a camp now. So I'll have to start keeping my eye on them."