Monday, March 25, 2013
Njoku's interest 'skyrocketed' after visit
By Josh Moyer
Wideout David Njoku reclined in a white Penn State van as two hostesses explained they were taking him to Beaver Stadium. Njoku nodded, as the two continued by spitting out several facts about the structure.
Penn State's stadium is larger than NFL venues, maybe the second largest in the country and seats more than 100,000.
The prospect out of Cedar Grove, N.J., politely listened, but he heard it all before. It's not that it didn't sound impressive; he just felt as if he knew what to expect.
One day after his Saturday visit, he said with a laugh, he knew he was very, very wrong.
"When you arrive there, it's just like any other college stadium," he said. "It looks cool and everything but, once you walk out of the tunnel to get inside, it's shocking. It's mind-boggling.
"It's so big. And it's just like, 'Wow, I could be playing here in front of over 100,000 fans.' It was just a great feeling."
He snapped some photos with his phone, felt a quick adrenaline surge and envisioned a full crowd dressed in blue and white. He felt like playing football right then and there, and his high school coach agreed.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound recruit arrived in Happy Valley at about 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Before his visit, before that trip inside the stadium, he said his time there would determine his interest level in the Nittany Lions. He didn't know much about the school, and his goal was just to find out more.
Between seeing the Lions' homefield, talking with assistant coach John Strollo and watching practice, Njoku said he now realizes his interest in the Lions. It's high. Very high.
"My interest level for Penn State skyrocketed," he said. "My interest level is up there, really high. I believe it should be one of my top schools. ... I just believe personally that the Penn State guys love you more. They really take care of you, and I appreciate that."
Throughout his five-hour visit, Njoku said the coaches constantly asked if he needed anything and if he was OK. That helped the wideout -- who holds offers from Boston College, Bryant and Rutgers -- to feel right at home.
He didn't walk away with an offer, but Strollo did sit down with him for a memorable conversation. Njoku wasn't sure if he was joking or not, but his recruiting coach asked if he would commit right then if PSU offered.
Njoku told him he'd need to think it over a little bit, and Strollo followed up by smiling and explaining their scholarships are basically cut in half because of the sanctions.
"He was, like, they're probably going to offer me before August -- but they don't want to offer me right now because they want to wait a little bit," Njoku said. "They said if they offer me right now, everyone else is going to offer me. So they want to play it smart."
The tall receiver, who reportedly runs in the 4.5s, has only visited PSU and Rutgers to this point. So he'd like to get a better idea of other schools before making a decision. He'll be at UConn and Boston College next weekend, Rutgers the weekend after and then Temple and Maryland in the near future.
He plans to trim his list down within the next two months. And he said he didn't care much that he had to wait on a PSU offer.
"I told them that's fine," he said. "I think Penn State's amazing, so I don't mind."