|School:||Coraopolis, Pa. (Moon HS)|
One of the first players that Penn State offered for its class of 2008 was Coraopolis, Pa, standout Allan Quay Shipley, better known as A.Q. to you and I. The Moon HS star defensive and offensive lineman has kept his local mailman pretty busy, getting letters from just about everyone, along with offers from Pittsburgh, Penn State, West Virginia, Syracuse, Michigan State, North Carolina, Duke, Toledo and Akron. Unfortunately, the way things are shaping up, that mailman could be in for a long summer of toting plenty of letters to the Shipley household.
One characteristic that have so excited about A.Q. is his athleticism. In a recent testing day run by the Moon HS coach for his players, A.Q. ripped off some pretty impressive speed numbers running a 4.94 40-yard dash, 2.84 20-yard dash, 1.63 10-yard dash, and 4.27 20-yard shuttle. A.Q. hopes that his preparation will help him this spring.
"He's training me a little bit for the Nike Camp that's coming up. I'm going to Virginia Tech's on May 17th."
Although he attended Penn State's Nike Camp last April, he choose to go to Blacksburg because he's been to State College on numerous occasions, including for the Michigan State and Nebraska.
How did A.Q. enjoy his two game day visits to Beaver Stadium?
"(Nebraska) was unreal. I remember I walked in and it was so loud. I've never seen anything like that before," stated A.Q. "(Michigan State) was unreal too, because that's when LJ got 2000 (yards). Everyone was going crazy."
A.Q. also attended three games at Pittsburgh this fall and one game at Ann Arbor to see the Wolverines.
"I went to Michigan to watch them play Penn State. It was pretty wild. I was amazed, actually, to see how crazy the Penn State fans were there. They were wild. I was suprised to see how many fans they brought there."
Why haven't the Wolverines offered yet?
"After their d-line coach left, Michigan said they wanted to wait until they got a new d-line coach before they offered. So, I'm going to head up there some time in the summer and see if they will offer," said A.Q. "Ohio State seems real interested. The same with Virginia."
Because he would like to see some more college campuses before making a decision, A.Q. plans to travel this sping to a number of schools that are recruiting him.
"I think I'm going down to Virginia and Ohio State on my spring break. Then I'm going up to the Blue-White game on the (April) 26th, spend the weekend up there."
The Blue-White game will not be A.Q.'s first trip to Penn State this spring, as he traveled there three weeks ago for an individual meeting with the coaching staff.
"I went up there and they took me around. I met with all the advisors, the tutors, and the business school people. They went over all the academics with me. Then I met with Coach Paterno, he gave me the written offer and I watched film with the defensive line coach, Coach (Larry) Johnson," stated A.Q. "We then watched some of their Pro-Day."
Did A.Q. enjoy his conversation with college football's all-time winningest coach?
"He's a real good guy, I enjoyed talking to him. My mom and dad went with me, so we spent about a half hour talking about different things like how he feels I fit into the program, how great the academics are at Penn State, and how just overall I'd be a great addition to the team," said A.Q. "He said if I came in next year, it would be a great opportunity because they're really thin at my position."
Penn State's interest in Shipley has been spearheaded by Nittany Lion defensive coordinator, Tom Bradley, long responsible for recruiting the western half of Pennsylvania. What do he and Coach Bradley discuss when A.Q. calls him?
"The usual. He keeps wanting me to come up," said A.Q., who admitted the coaching staff isn't really pressing him for a verbal. "I talk to him a lot, so we have a real good relationship. He's a character, he's wild. He's one funny guy."
"He said he's coming out (to Moon) for the May evaluation period."
A.Q. has a handle on the Penn State depth chart and he feels that he could step right in and contribute if he were to choose the Nittany Lions.
"They want to play the noseguard, which is the one-technique over the center, where Anthony Adams was this year and he's leaving. I think they have maybe one or two more guys, so they're pretty thin at the noseguard."
According to A.Q., most schools project him to play noseguard in the 4-3 defense, with the exception of Ohio State, which likes him at center. Although he admits that he has the attributes of a quality center--quickness, leverage, and the ability to snap and block quick--he prefers to be on the defensive side of the ball.
"I played center my freshman year. My coaches would love to play me at center but I'm about the biggest kid on the team right now, so I play tackle. But I like getting after people, plugging the hole, and taking on double or triple teams at nose guard."
When all is said and done with A.Q.'s recruitment, academics will be a vital deciding factor in determining who will receive his signature.
"I want a good business school. You never know what's going to happen, so you have to take academics seriously."
For right now, Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State, Virginia, and Pittsburgh stand the best chance at signing Allan Quay Shipley, but with the mail and offers expected to continue rolling in, there's at least one mailman praying for an early verbal.
(Interview by Steve Curry)