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Friday, May 10, 2013
Wangler reflects on his commitment day

By Josh Moyer

Jared Wangler's mind raced during his 50-minute flight Friday morning to State College. He leaned heavily toward PSU but, even then, he still wasn't 100 percent certain he would commit to Penn State.

The linebacker from Warren (Mich.) De La Salle stared out the window and reflected on the other opportunities at Cincinnati and Michigan State. He envisioned his career under different coaches. And he rattled off pros and cons inside his mind, right after a brief 10-minute nap.

"I wasn't 100 percent sure, but I was pretty confident. I was nervous but excited," he said. "I knew my nerves would probably go down once I talked to [linebackers coach Ron] Vanderlinden."

Jared Wangler
Linebacker Jared Wangler committed to Penn State during a visit to campus on Friday.
Vanderlinden greeted Wangler and his family at the airport around 11:30 a.m. and, sure enough, Wangler felt comfortable enough by the afternoon. He became Penn State's ninth overall commit and second linebacker of the 2014 class.

The linebackers coach showed Wangler around campus and town before they retired to the Lasch Football Building. It was there, alongside Vanderlinden, that Wangler said any remaining doubts just dissolved.

The two sat shoulder-to-shoulder for about 15 minutes while Vanderlinden, a Michigan native, flipped on the highlights of current PSU linebacker Mike Hull. Wangler had heard the coaches compare him to Hull before -- the linebacker with a penchant for pass coverage -- but he had never seen film of him.

"I noticed that he does all the stuff that I feel I do well," Wangler said. "I feel like I could do well in their scheme. So I feel like that's when I felt confident that's where I wanted to play.

"He made that comparison a lot, but I never really saw how Hull played. Once I saw his highlights, it looked very familiar."

The 6-foot-2, 218-pound Wangler later committed inside Bill O'Brien's office. As the two chatted about graduation rates and how Wangler would fit, O'Brien mentioned it would be great to have Wangler as a Nittany Lion.

"And I said, 'Well, Coach, I want to be a Nittany Lion,'" Wangler said. "He told me he was really thrilled and then we talked about what Penn State's about."

Wangler was considered a lock for Penn State until Michigan State entered the picture on Tuesday with a scholarship offer. The linebacker leaned toward PSU even then but said Wednesday night he wasn't totally sure if he would commit Friday.

In the end, though, he said Penn State's focus on academics and alumni connections -- in addition to the defensive scheme and the coaching staff -- won him over even though he held eight other offers.

"It felt right sitting there talking to the coaches," Wangler said. "It felt like home, and there's no point in dragging it out if I felt that comfortable. I trust these coaches and they're very down to earth, so I didn't need to wait. I feel great."