Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Visit changes CB Whitfield's PSU outlook
By Josh Moyer
Marcus Whitfield (Massillon, Ohio/Washington) crossed his arms and closely watched the defensive backs during last week's unofficial visit to Penn State.
He kept his eyes glued to the feet of cornerbacks Adrian Amos and Jordan Lucas inside the cavernous indoor facility of Holuba Hall. Watching that practice, seeing those players' up-tempo pace, was the athlete's favorite part of the visit -- enough that, he said, PSU catapulted from the bottom of his list to near the top.
"On a scale of 1-10? I'd put it at nine," he said when asked about his visit. "I liked the campus, the practice, all the coaches and players. It just seemed like a really good environment."
So, why not a 10 then?
"I didn't put it at a 10, because I couldn't eat their Creamery ice cream," he said with a laugh. "My coach wants me on a healthy diet for track, so I couldn't get any."
The 6-foot, 166-pound cornerback -- who ran a laser-timed 4.58-second 40 at a NIKE camp -- instead settled for seconds during dinner. He ate with his family and assistant coaches Charlie Fisher and Anthony Midget.
PSU's staff told him they admired his versatility. He could play cornerback, safety -- or even wide receiver. With the limited scholarships, that meant something. Whitfield listened intently to the staff over BBQ chicken, beef stew, noodles and four breadsticks.
When they asked if he preferred offense or defense, he said he didn't mind playing any position they needed. But they pushed him slightly, asking what Whitfield would choose if he had to select one.
"If I had to, I'd say defense," he said. "I just think it's fun, running out and doing your thing and tackling people. And my whole family played defense, so I want to keep that going."
When his plate was empty, he spotted Lucas heading up to the line and decided to follow him. He grabbed another helping of chicken and sat down with the defensive backs. They offered him advice -- "Attend camps, but steer clear of those three-day camps" -- and told him to stick with Penn State, even if that offer doesn't come right away.
"They said a lot of offers came during their senior year," said Whitfield, who acknowledged he didn't know much about PSU before the visit.
The versatile athlete, who ran a NIKE-best 3.95-second shuttle, already penciled himself in for the Nittany Lions' one-day camp June 22. And he said he changed his plans now; he no longer plans to attend those three-day camps elsewhere.
He holds three scholarship offers, from Bowling Green, Kent State and Toledo. (Only Toledo wants him as a wideout; the other two at cornerback.) He might see the Golden Flashes' spring game since it's so close, but he said he had no other trips scheduled.
For now, he just hopes to continue speaking with Fisher, who has kept close tabs on him since the middle of last season. And if he has to wait for those other offers, like Penn State, then he plans to be patient.
"After that visit, Penn State's right there at the top," Whitfield said. "They work really hard, and I was just watching their drills and picking up stuff for this summer. It was a good time."