- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
The aura of "Linebacker U" is still resonating with Penn State targets. Three-star athlete Zayd Issah (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) cited the old moniker when describing what led him to choose the Nittany Lions.
“The fact they want me to play linebacker is one of the biggest influences,” Issah said. “Their linebackers coach Coach Van [Ron Vanderlinden] is a great coach, and the other defensive coaches they brought in are NFL guys. Coach Vanderlinden is one of the best linebackers coaches in the nation.
“I’m excited about what they got. They’re definitely going in the right direction.”
Issah, who was also being recruited as an athlete, safety or even H-back at some schools, will play strongside linebacker when he makes it to Penn State, and he said the staff could see him being like Paul Posluszny or current Lions linebacker Michael Mauti.
“I would have been down to play anywhere,” Issah said. “It would have depended on the right fit. Penn State is the right fit.”
Issah last visited Penn State two weeks ago, and it reaffirmed to him what the Lions program will be about under coach Bill O’Brien. It was the first time his parents got to see it, though.
“The big part was my parents were up there,” he said. “It was their first time and they were impressed.”
An in-state player, Issah is happy to be playing for Penn State, which is about a 90-minute drive from Harrisburg.
“The area I’m from, everybody loves Penn State,” he said.