Colasanti Talks PSU Pledge

Chris Colasanti made up his mind; he wanted to become a Penn State linebacker. But, after telling Nittany Lion assistant Ron Vanderlinden of his decision Thursday, he also wanted to break the news to legendary PSU coach Joe Paterno himself. So he asked Vanderlinden to keep it quiet.

Colasanti, a standout from Brother Rice High in Bloomfield, Mich., had a Friday morning meeting with Paterno, and the prospect's mother, father and older brother sat in on the discussion.

Or was it the other way around? Paterno has a reputation for zeroing in on parents as much as athletes while recruiting. And Chris' parents are more talkative than their son, a quiet type who addresses the older generation with polite “sirs” and “ma'ams.”

“I'm more of shy person, so I just kind of sat there,” Colasanti said with a laugh. “But my mom, she's the total opposite of me. She and my dad talked to Coach Paterno. And they liked him very much.”

When mom and dad finished up, Chris made his decision known.

“He was very happy,” Chris said of Paterno. “He didn't know I was going to commit.”

The younger Colasanti had an eye on Penn State since going to a football camp there as a 10th grader. And the feeling was mutual. He was one of the first juniors to receive a written scholarship offer from the Nittany Lions this year and PSU earned a spot on his short list.

He and his family decided to take a mid-week unofficial visit to Happy Valley to see if Penn State was THE school. And from everything Colasanti said, the visit could not have gone better.

They arrived Wednesday evening.

“I went to training table with all the linebackers,” Colasanti said. “That was awesome to meet Paul [Posluszny], Dan [Connor], Sean [Lee] and Tim Shaw. They're great guys.”

Posluszny, the Butkus Award winner and a consensus All-American, made a serious impact on Colasanti's mom and dad. When they asked Posluszny about playing in the NFL following his PSU career, the team captain said the best part of it will be being able to give back to the people who supported him most in life — his own mother and father.

“My parents loved how humble he was,” Colasanti said. “And I really liked Sean Lee a lot. He's a real nice kid. I think he's going to be one of my good friends.”

Thursday began with a meeting with PSU academic advisor Todd Kulka. Colasanti wants to major in science and eventually pre-med, and he had a chance to meet with the director of Penn State's School of Medicine.

Then he took a tour of campus with a group of prospective students (non-athletes), just to get a feel for things.

“It's just a beautiful school,” Colasanti said. “That night, we went out to dinner with Coach Vanderlinden and his wife.”

Which is when Colasanti made up his mind. After telling Paterno the big news Friday morning, Colasanti got a chance to see more of the campus and was blown away when he walked out on the field at Beaver Stadium, even though the stands were empty.

“It is such a beautiful stadium,” Colasanti said. “You walk out there, and it's gi-nourmous. It's huge.”

Speaking of huge, Colasanti checks in at a solid 6-foot-2, 235 pounds now, which is a great size for a high school linebacker. And Vanderlinden would like him to stay right where he is at. One of Colasanti's goals heading into his senior season at Brother Rice is to cut his 40-yard-dash time from 4.62 seconds to 4.55.

Other priorities?

“I'm going to work on more film study, to better understand the game and my keys,” he explained. “Ultimately, I really want to know everybody's position on defense and know my keys better and have it all be second-nature.”

As for not being a very outspoken guy, that may change now, too. After becoming the first member of Penn State's Class of 2007, Colasanti is looking forward to helping the class grow.

“I'll talk to more and more guys,” he said. “And hopefully bring them toward Penn State.”

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