Sunday, January 20, 2013
Robinson's visit exceeds expectations
By Josh Moyer
Neiko Robinson stared outside his window on the plane ride to Happy Valley, trying his best to envision what Beaver Stadium might look like up close.
When the three-star safety's plane glided over town, his eyes immediately targeted that giant erector set of a structure. He felt a sense of excitement, a surge of adrenaline, and his eyes followed until it went out of view.
"When the stadium was coming up, you couldn't help but see it," the PSU commit said with a laugh. "I just got chill bumps. When I saw it, I was like, 'Oh gosh.' I was just at a loss for words."
The defensive back out of Bratt (Fla.) Northview visited the stadium at 3 p.m. the next day. He had previously only seen photos, most from Penn State's website, and never before saw the stadium in-person. He had never stepped foot in Pennsylvania before.
Robinson called his time inside the stadium as the most memorable part of his three-day, 1,700-mile round trip.
"It's just a beautiful stadium," he said. "From the outside, it looks huge. And you get inside and it's like, 'Dang!' Man, it's so big. I can just imagine how filled up it's going to be."
As he walked out under the tunnel, Robinson said he pictured fans in Penn State jerseys chanting slogans and yelling cheers. He envisioned himself as part of the team, clad in a helmet and shoulder pads, and swirled his head to take in the sheer enormity of a 110,000-seat stadium.
Once again, just like when he first saw the stadium from the plane, goose bumps dotted his arms. Only it was more magnified this time.
"I was ready to play right then," he said. "That's one of the greatest feelings you will ever feel."
Robinson, who's accustomed to balmy summer nights, was a little concerned about running in the snow. But the coaches smiled and clarified, telling him the field would be cleared before he plays.
The Penn State commit said that was really his only concern during the entire trip. And it was deflected within seconds.
"Everything exceeded my expectations," he said.
The 6-foot, 162-pound DB played some basketball with his host, Adrian Amos, and Adam Breneman afterward. Then the staff took him to the Ale House, where he dined on some shrimp scampi, a New York strip and some hot wings.
He toured the facilities, saw part of the campus and spoke with Bill O'Brien and John Butler. He said Penn State didn't necessarily fit with the vision he held in his head, a depiction pieced together through what he read and heard, but it felt like home.
Here, he said, he can go fishing when he wants. Like Bratt, Fla., there's a rural feel to State College. And, he added, he felt like he meshed well with current players.
By the end of the trip, he didn't want to leave.
"That's the way I felt," he said. "I got up there and I didn't want to go back. So I can definitely see myself living up there for four years.
"I wanted to stay, but at least I'll be back in June."