Two years ago at this time, Antwan Reed was just coming out of his first season of high school football. Despite that, several schools had already offered scholarships.
Today, he committed to Penn State, marking a major milestone in what has been a fast-rising recruitment.
The Nittany Lions received his verbal over offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and more.
"He's been there three times," Big Reds head coach Shane Fairfiled said. "And I think it's the school, the calming nature of the coaching staff and the academic piece with A.J.'s family -- everybody's always harping about then-what and football will end someday for A.J. and every university has been great in showing the academic support and promoting academic success. I'm not going to say the academics were better than other schools, but it's what A.J. felt comfortable with.
"They have a brand new academic center and the summer school they offer can get a kid to graduate in 3 1/2 years -- they encourage that. A kid comes in takes, summer school, gets ahead, and in 3 1/2 years can get a bachelor degree and use the fourth and fifth year to finish with a master's. Then you have the coaches and the depth chart what they have in who's leaving, who's coming in, how that fits in."
Reed visited with his mother and grandmother and them being able to see it helped seal the deal.
Fairfield is confident in what the Nittany Lions are getting both on and off the field.
"They're definitely getting a guy that's going to represent the school," Fairfeld said. "He's the kind of kid coach Franklin wants. He's a good kid, good morals, good principles, and he has a good foundation at home. I don't feel he will make the university regret the decision to offer him a scholarship. For us, he's a great locker room guy, great personality and maturity for him is still a ways away, but he has matured into a leader especially being so young.
"On the field, he's a mammoth 6-foot-6, 6-foot-7 and still 16 years old. He won't be 17 until the playoffs next year. He will play his last regular season game at 16 years old, so I'm proud of his maturity and you look at a guy like that and expect so much because he's so big, but then you have to remember that he's still really young and I'm confident he will represent the university in a positive light and he has done that for us here."
Reed was 270 pounds when he first joined the football team. He is now 330 and Fairfield said he has made big strides in the weight room.
"He was 6-foot-6 and 14-15, so he was learning to use his body and his muscles had to catch up and he had to get stronger. He always had great hips and leverage, but the upper body strength was lacking. This offseason, he has added the strength piece and I can see a swag with him and a confidence that 'I am stronger now.' He came to us and pointed out a few things he was determined to get better at and it was great to see him committed to Penn State and not be happy with going to play college football without leaving a legacy at the high school level this season.
"That is a great thing as a coach to have that kind of kid."
Soon, James Franklin will get to coach him too.