Henderson SHS standout LB T.J. White has two offers under his belt -- Bucknell and Western Michigan. And he is beginning to receive plenty of attention from schools like South Carolina, Boston College, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Virginia – and the Nittany Lions.
"Coach Vanderlinden has come to talk to me twice," White said. "He came once in January and once a few weeks ago."
And the two stay in contact quite often.
"We have talked on the phone a couple of times," White said. "And met in person, he is a really nice guy."
And even though White has yet to land an offer from the Lions, he has a feeling one might be on the way.
"Coach Vanderlinden told me he really wanted me to come up for the Rising Senior camp on June 24th-25th, and that I am in the mix for an offer," White said.
An offer from Penn State, would completely change the recruiting game for White – in a good way.
"There are two schools that I would commit on the spot if I got an offer," White said. "Those are Penn State and Boston College, and I would like to take an official visit to both of them."
So what is it that the Lions like so much about White?
"Wherever the ball is I am at, my thing is no body is getting by me," White said of his style on the gridiron. "Other coaches have told me that I have a nose for the ball, and I am hard to block."
And one thing everyone seems to agree on, is that he would fit in well wearing Blue and White.
"My dad and I were talking to my head coach Tuesday, and he said I could play at Penn State because I can play in space," White said. "I can play middle or outside linebacker, but I prefer middle."
He continued with a laugh, "Coach Vanderlinden even asked my coach what linebacker from Penn State I play like, and he said Dan Connor. I say that's a pretty good person to be compared too."
White's father, Ted, has been his biggest aid throughout the recruiting process.
"My dad played football at Virginia Tech for 2 years and he transferred because Bruce Smith was playing in front of him," White said. "He transferred to Villanova, and was the captain of the team his senior year."
He continued, "Football is in my genes. I started playing tackle football in 2nd grade, and I have loved it ever since."
And even when he was young, White found out quickly that on the football field was where he belonged.
"I played pee wee soccer before I played football," White reminisced. "And I remember decking a kid in soccer and a mom yelled ‘You should be playing football!"
And now, he does, and it's a labor of love.
"Football is my first love," White said. "So I would sacrifice anything to get a football scholarship."
He has even sacrificed playing baseball, a sport that he excelled at while playing for Henderson SHS. White gave up batting practice, to focus on football training this spring – but hopes to return to the diamond when all is said and done.
"Hopefully I will sign next year and I can go back to playing all three sports (baseball, basketball, and football)," White said. "I bat cleanup, pitch, and play 1st and 3rd. I want to get back to it because senior year is something I want to remember."
Another thing he will always remember, is his dad's recruiting advice.
"My dad went through the recruiting process and he said be patient, and everything will work out," White said. "He told me you just have to keep working hard. Both my parents really want me to go to a good school and get a good education, and the want me to play."
Education is another important aspect to the standout linebacker – he carries a 3.5 GPA and focuses on mostly honors classes at Henderson SHS.
"I think I want to major in business education," White said. "Academics will have an impact on my decision. Because chances of going to the NFL are slim to none, and you have to get a good degree to be successful."
He added, "Plus, I know that Penn State has a really good business program."
And most importantly, White continued.
"It would be my dream to play for Linebacker U."