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Monday, March 11, 2013
Q&A: LB Winovich talks PSU, recruitment

By Josh Moyer

Linebacker Chase Winovich (Jefferson Hills, Pa./Thomas Jefferson) currently holds nine offers and is hearing from numerous schools along the East Coast -- including Penn State.

The 6-foot-4, 215-pound prospect was invited to Penn State's junior day but couldn't make it. He recently spoke with NittanyNation about why he missed it, why he still plans to visit PSU and why his recruitment really picked up during his junior season.

NittanyNation: You were part of a select group that was invited to Penn State's junior day, but you ended up not going in the end. Could you clear the air -- why was that?

Chase Winovich: I had basketball, and we had playoffs at the time and had practice -- so I couldn't miss my high school obligations. It's just been pretty hectic, but right now, I just got done with basketball, and that was my major emphasis besides school.

So now I'm starting to focus on recruiting. There's some schools that have offered me already, and obviously those schools are above the schools that haven't offered me. But I'm just trying to take it one step at a time. It's early for me, and I understand it's a numbers game -- but there's a lot of schools, I'd like to see. And Penn State's one of those schools. They're showing interest in me even though they haven't offered.

NN: You grew up near Pitt, so I imagine you know a whole lot more about the Panthers than the Nittany Lions. What do you know about PSU, and why is that a school you're interested in?

CW: To be quite honest, my knowledge of Penn State is pretty limited besides what my brother told me -- and he told me all positive stuff about it. He was recruited by Penn State and Coach [Ron] Vanderlinden, so he said all good stuff about the coaches he knew. ... My brother played for Bowling Green in 2008 or 2009, so he went there as a quarterback. Penn State was recruiting him as well, but he went to Bowling Green as a quarterback, and Penn State didn't want him at that position.

And I heard the campus is awesome, so I definitely will be up there to check it out. It's just that things have been hectic, so I want to see how -- well, I don't want to say fit them into my schedule -- but I'll definitely sit down and see when I can go.

NN: Do you have a timetable for your commitment?

CW: Ideally, I'd like to take my officials visits to a couple different schools. But if I find a school I think is the right fit after visiting some this spring and summer, I'll commit. Once I commit, I'm going to stay committed -- because you've got to show people you word means something. That's something I want to try to stick to, my word. So, yeah, whenever it feels right is when I'm going to commit.

NN: Well, it seems like there's been more decommitments every year. So, I'm curious, why is that important to you? Why won't we see you as one of those guys?

CW: I just feel like it gives us athletes a bad rap. If they're going to commit to me and offer me a scholarship, I'm going to commit to them. It has to [mean] something; I don't want that offer taken away from me. So I can't control what everyone else does, but I can control what I do.

NN: OK, so you'll commit at a place that feels "right." So, what do you think that place will have? What's important to you in a college?

CW: Generally -- not in all cases, because some have disproved it -- but, generally, I like an urban campus. And then location; location's an important factor, because my parents and grandparents and the rest of my family, they've been watching my games since I grew up. I mean they're all great schools, and I'll consider those far away -- but location's definitely important.

And, definitely education at the end of the day. It's where you're proud to say you're from. If I break my leg, would I be happy to say I go to Penn State? Or Pitt? Or Michigan?

NN: You actually started playing your junior season as a safety. Why the position change, and when did your coaches notice the payoff?

CW: I actually started at safety as a sophomore, too, and part of my junior year. My problem was I liked hitting people. They tried to persuade me to stay back in coverage, but I'd still come up.

I think they noticed the first practice they moved me to linebacker [around Week 3]. It was like the first series, and I ran a kid over. I think that really grabbed their attention. And I definitely think the rest of the season went really well, and I had their attention. For the most part, I contributed toward my team, which is what I really set out to do.