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Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Reeder opens up about PSU commitment

By Josh Moyer

Middle linebacker Troy Reeder (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum) became the Nittany Lions' third commit of the 2014 class Tuesday morning.

NittanyNation spoke with him about why he committed, what pushed him over the edge and what he's most looking forward to at Happy Valley.

NittanyNation: There's been a lot of talk since Saturday about you committing. Did you actually commit on junior day and just wait to announce -- or did you hold off for a few days before telling the coaches?

Troy Reeder: I waited until [Tuesday] to commit. I was happy with what I saw, and I knew my family was happy with what they saw. And I knew talking with Coach [Bill] O'Brien and Coach [Ron] Vanderlinden that it's clearly a great, great place -- but I think it's important sometimes just to step back for a day or two let it all sink in.

And we got to evaluate it as a family. We charted it down on paper, what we liked about it and everything, and then I finally felt it was the right time. So we decided that Tuesday would be a good day, so I gave them a call and let them know.

NN: Honestly, talking to you the past few times, it seemed like you were a heavy lean toward PSU. Is that right, or did that visit just really kind of propel PSU to the top?

TR: It was probably my top school going into the visit, but I was talking about when I wanted to decide, and I was saying I wanted to decide before summer. And after that visit and everything I saw there, I knew there wasn't going to be a spot that I found that would satisfy me any better. I knew this is where I wanted to be, and I was certain of it, so I wanted to make the commitment now.

Along with the visit, everything was just so impressive. My family and I got to sit down with Coach O'Brien, and he talked about where the program was going. He told me he was going to see everyone at Penn State through all the sanctions and that he would be there for my career, so that was really huge. I have so much respect for him, and I talked to Coach Vanderlinden a lot. He's a great, great guy.

NN: Was there a time during junior day where you just felt like PSU was the right school, where you just knew?

TR: To me, I think it was probably after the junior day was over, and I was still in the office and got to sit down with Coach Vanderlinden and watch some tape. That's when I really felt like this was something I wanted to be a part of. So I just went with my gut and my heart. That's a place I could truly see myself at; it's the right spot.

NN: You've mentioned Vanderlinden a couple times before, too. Is it fair to say that he and the staff were the deciding factors in your commitment?

TR: I would say that was a really, really big thing. But I don't think that was the overall deciding factor, because I know things change. And, if anything were to happen, I need to know that I'm at a place where I'm happy even if I didn't have football. And everything I saw this weekend, from the business school to the campus, I just knew overall if I wasn't playing sports that this is a school I'd like to be at. I just think seeing the whole package together was really the deciding factor.

NN: What kind of relationship do you have with Vanderlinden, and what kind of coach is he?

TR: I've watched his videos, and my dad has his book. I've been coached by him at camp, and the one thing that I feel makes him such a great coach is his attention to detail and the little things and how they make you a great player. He's produced great linebackers in the past, and he has a great track record.

I had the chance to be coached by him, and just doing it at camp one day, I was able to learn some things. So I think he and I together will really be able to refine my game make me the best I can be.

NN: What did Vanderlinden say he saw in you, and what separates you from other linebackers?

TR: I think one thing, and it's not just Penn State but a lot of places that said it, is that I'm a pretty big guy and I can play linebacker on the inside and outside. I played defensive end and safety this year, too. And on the offensive side of the ball, I played quarterback and tailback ... so that's really helped me.

I think they see I can cover some of the best receivers in my league, and I think that's a big help, because Penn State wants me to play the middle linebacker position. I think what they saw is I could do one-on-one in coverages.

NN: What do you think makes Penn State unique, that makes you excited to be a part of the team?

TR: I think something that makes Penn State really special is that at this time with their program, they're playing for a lot more than just wins. And I think that was really conveyed to me this weekend -- that they're playing for the entire university, and they're playing for something greater.

And it's really special walking through town and every shop and every restaurant, where you see little signs saying, 'We support Penn State football.' I want to help make a difference in their program no matter how early it is. I want to get out and help Penn State in their new chapter.