|ESPN.com: Penn State Nittany Lions||[Print without images]|
Linebacker Jared Wangler (Warren, Mich./De La Salle) holds an offer from Penn State and will make a return trip to PSU on May 13 -- a little more than month after his first visit.
NittanyNation recently spoke with Wangler at length about his upcoming visit, his recruitment and his thoughts on PSU.
NittanyNation: Now that Penn State has offered, have you found that your recruiting has picked up a bit? What has changed?
Jared Wangler: Well, recruiting's been picking up a lot lately, because the coaches can come and see us now. But, everything's been big. Old Dominion offered me, but a lot of schools are talking like they're about to. Michigan State, Pitt and Cincinnati all kind of seem like that. So we'll see in the next week or two.
NN: You told me the last time that PSU was your top school. But the Spartans are close by, just about an hour from your home. If they offer, how does that change the dynamic with PSU?
JW: I mean, honestly, I'm not sure. I'm going to talk it over with my family before I make a decision, but I still really like Penn State. I like how they're good academically, and it means a lot to me that they're the first big school to offer me.
The other schools I had are from the MAC, and this was really the first big one. They're the first one to really look at me and know I can play at that level -- and I can play at that level.
NN: What has allowed PSU to separate itself already, in your opinion?
JW: Well, first off, it's the academics and coaching staff. I was comfortable with the coaching staff -- and it's Linebacker U. It's a great tradition. I like everything about that program. Other than that, it has a good atmosphere and it's a nice college town. I felt very comfortable.
NN: You were at Penn State not too long ago -- and you're coming back up already. That's going to cause a few raised eyebrows, so I have to ask: Why the return trip already?
JW: Well ... I want my dad to see the campus. I want to go with my dad this time, because that last time was with my grandfather. My dad was tied up with business.
He actually really likes Penn State as well, because we both want me to go with great academics, and it's a great atmosphere where the coaches are going to treat me right. So he wants to go down and kind of check it out and meet with the coaches.
NN: What have PSU's coaches -- and other BCS guys -- said about why they want you on their team?
JW: The biggest thing I hear is versatility. That's what most coaches mention, along with my frame. I'm about 218 right now, and they see me putting a lot more weight on my frame. They say I can play multiple positions, whether it's outside linebacker or safety. That's probably the biggest thing.
NN: So when you say put more weight on your frame, are you talking like 15 pounds to become a big linebacker -- or are we talking defensive end territory?
JW: I mean, not literally defensive end. It's just put on weight to fill out. I guess I'm going to put weight in college, probably, and they can move me so I can play a true outside linebacker.
NN: Linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden has been your recruiting contact. What kind of coach is he?
JW: Well, he stresses academics a lot and stresses hard work. And, basically, I'm really comfortable with him and think he's really down to earth. I enjoy my conversations with him. He's been nothing but great to me.
When I visited Penn State, he brought me in and one of the first things he showed me is the graduation rates of the Big Ten -- and they were second, right behind Northwestern, graduating 80-something percent of their team. And they matched up pretty high with all the teams in the country. They're very class, and you're going to get a great degree there.
NN: Your recruitment is picking up now, but why do you think it has taken a little while for some coaches to catch on?
JW: I'm not sure. I mean, we just started sending my film out around the New Year, and I started going to some camps. I'm getting bigger and bigger through that. But the fact I missed my entire sophomore season probably hurt. The first game of the year I broke my tibia and ankle.