Gateway DB Picks Up PSU Offer

A strong showing at the Nittany Lions' Advanced Skills Camp helped the Class of 2014 prospect.

When 2014 Gateway (Pa.) High defensive back Montae Nicholson arrived at Penn State's Advanced Skills Camp on Saturday, he wasn't expecting to leave Happy Valley with an offer. However, following a strong morning session and a stronger afternoon one, Nicholson received a surprise from the Nittany Lion staff.

“I wasn't expecting an offer, but Penn State talked to my coach and said it was more about my play and technique,” Nicholson said.

Bill O'Brien and John Butler spoke to Nicholson and Gateway secondary coach Don Smith after the camp, and Nicholson said it means just a little bit more that O'Brien extended the offer personally.

“It shows me that they are concerned about their players, and concerned and committed to their guys,” Nicholson said. “It's not just one of those things where they throw a random guy at you. He actually took the time to talk to me himself.”

For Nicholson, Penn State is the latest offer on a list that includes Bowling Green, Pittsburgh and Toledo. He was impressive Saturday, showing serious jumping ability on a near interception that he popped out of the wide receiver's hands, and showed good depth and speed going backward in coverage.

He'll camp at Rutgers next, but the Nittany Lions may have a jump start on Nicholson. Gateway's head coach, Terry Smith, was a standout wide receiver at Penn State, and has mentioned Happy Valley and Penn State to his team.

“Coach Smith doesn't force Penn State or anything, but he makes it very clear that he went to Penn State,” Nicholson said. “He doesn't speak a lot about it, but he lets it be known. He influenced me to come up here today, as (did) my uncle, who graduated from here.”

Having just visited a little over a handful of colleges thus far, Nicholson is in no way ready to declare anyone on top. But he said he's excited about the Penn State offer and will continue to learn more about the Lions.

Stay tuned for more from the camp.

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