Irvin Charles ran the 40-yard dash twice during the morning testing session at Penn State's Advanced Skill Camp June 8. He was unsure whether the coaching staff assorted with stop watches and note pads wanted to see him run again because of a timing error, because they were impressed, or another reason. To him, it doesn't much matter.
The drill, along with his performance throughout on a warm State College day made him feel as if he impressed State's coaches plenty, even if an offer was not forthcoming at the end of the day. The Paul VI (Haddonfield, N.J.) junior to-be currently claims three offers, including one from soon-to-be Big Ten member Rutgers.
This day, though, was all about running routes, correcting mistakes, and learning about Penn State and its staff. And Charles feels he did just that.
"It went really good, actually," Charles said. "After I ran the 40, I talked to coach Bill O'Brien, and he was talking to me for a minute, and he said that I looked good, and that he would be looking for me during the camp.
"Throughout the camp, I thought I did pretty good. I didn't drop a lot of passes, and ran crisp routes. After a few times of doing the drills, I started talking to more Penn State guys."
Standing 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, the class of 2015 received explained that his leg strength and explosion is what helped him clock what he felt was a very good 40 time. He added the coaching staff did not inform him of what that time was.
He does know a good bit about Penn State, though. Charles said the Lions are one of his top schools even if they have yet to offer, and the reason for it extends beyond his day seeing the program in-depth for the first time.
"I already knew a lot about Penn State before," he said. "I was impressed by their weight room and their facilities. Being in there just made my love for Penn State even more.
"It all looked nice, and [in the weight room], they had a lot of weights. It was big, and everyone can get in there lift however they want."
Charles speaks mostly with Lions linebacker coach Ron Vanderlinden, who is leading his recruitment out of the Garden State. Tight end coach John Strollo also patrols New Jersey, but it is Vanderlinden with who he converses most, and is continuing to get to know whenever they talk.
Speaking with Vanderlinden, receiver coach Stan Hixon, and O'Brien Saturday meant much to him, he said. It shows not only that Penn State is keeping its eye on him, but that he is progressing the right way, too.
"One thing that really stands out about them is the environment and intensity of their games," said Charles, who visited for State's clash with Ohio State in October.
"Penn State is welcoming to anybody, and it's like a family over there. I know Coach Vanderlinden pretty well, and I like that he doesn't beat around the bush. He's up front with you, and easy to get along with. He's also a good guy to talk to.
"It all showed me that I am on the right track as far as what I wanted to do when I got out there at Penn State," he continued. "They told me they would interested, and keep in contact, and that just made me want to work harder and keep them interested so I can get an offer."
Interest from West Virginia, Kansas, Virginia Tech, and Maryland has picked up recently, akin to the interest being shown to him by the trio of schools that have offered him. The Scarlet Knights join Temple and Massachusetts on his verbal offer sheet.
The receiver went on to add how impressed he is with State's Beaver Stadium, calling it "the place to be." He'll likely be at Maryland, West Virginia, and Rutgers this summer, those he noted those trips are not set in stone.
"My strength is probably my route running ability, and keeping defenders on their toes," he said. "I just have strong hands when catching the ball, and defenders can't smack it out of my hands. I tuck it and run.
"I'm working right now on gaining more speed, and just perfecting my routes. Even though [Penn State coaches] said they're good, I can always strive to do better in my routes, and getting out of my break and improving my hands."