|Bench Press:||295 pounds|
|School:||Beaver Area SHS, Beaver, PA|
It's only the middle of May and already Beaver, PA tight-end Rory Nicol has a slew of scholarship offers.
"I'd say probably around 22 or 23, in that area," Rory said Sunday evening. "Some just say, 'If you want to be a part of our program, an offer will be there, but we're not going to formally put it out on the table'. North Carolina State is a prime example because they only have around 7 scholarships to give out this year. I probably have 20 written scholarships though."
Rory played both tight-end and outside linebacker for Beaver during his junior season.
"I had 14 catches for 178 yards and 1 touchdown. On defense, I had 78 tackles, 5 1/2 sacks and 2 interceptions. One of the interceptions was returned for a touchdown, but it was actually only 6 yards.
"I'm being recruited mainly as a tight-end because when they ask me if I want to play offense or defense, I say offense. But, a lot of schools have said that if things don't work out at tight-end or if it doesn't work out with the depth chart, they could try me at defensive-end or outside linebacker."
In an effort to find the best situation for himself, Nicol has already taken visits to several schools relatively close to home. A few of them are listed among his favorites.
"Unofficially, I visited Penn State, Pitt, Ohio State, West Virginia and Syracuse. I have Penn State on the top of things right now and then probably Pittsburgh, Northwestern, North Carolina and Notre Dame. There's really no direct order with the last four, but Penn State's definitely on top of things right now.
"I have a good relationship with Coach Bradley, the Defensive Coordinator, and it's a good situation at Penn State right now. They're losing a lot of tight-ends this year and it's a good school where maybe I can come in and declare a name for myself pretty early and that's what I'm looking for. They're a great team year in and year out. They're going to a bowl game 95% of the time.
"There are a lot of good players in my area that like Penn State as well and I think they have the potential to have a great recruiting class. Beaver, PA is on the west side of Pennsylvania, right outside of Pittsburgh. There are a couple of players like A.Q. Shipley from Moon, Tyrell Sales from Butler, they just got the commitment from Dontey Brown from McKeesport and Dan Connor is also from PA. There are a lot of good players that really like Penn State who I think are going to someday make that decision and I think we have potential to be a great football team if we all end up there.
"I've actually been to Penn State 2 times. I went up to watch a game with a trainer from my high school. It was the Ohio State game the season before this last season. I was also up there for a practice with my head coach recently (March 29).
"I like Penn State. It's a big campus, there's a lot of stuff to do and the coaching staff is amazing. Coach Kenney, the tight-end coach, is great. I really like him a lot. I'm going to try to get up there pretty soon with my parents.
"A.Q., myself, Darelle Revis, who is a cornerback out of Aliquippa, and Tyrell Sales from Butler are going to try to go up sometime in the middle of June just to go up for a visit together. I have a good relationship with pretty much all of them. They're all good kids and good athletes."
When does he plan on making his decision? Is the middle of June during his visit to Penn State a possibility?
"Maybe, honestly, maybe. Sometimes you think that's where you want to be and then a coach will come in and say 'You worked your butt off to get here, you should enjoy it'. But, it's hard to take 5 official visits because you're in season when you're allowed to do it and it's really hard to get out for a weekend then. I really don't see myself taking any official visits during my season, so that kind of makes me think I'll make a decision before my season starts. I don't have a date for sure in my head, but if I go up on in June and I've had my parents up there and they like it and it's where I think I need to be, then I'm not going to hesitate to make a decision because like I said, Penn State's a great place and a great opportunity for me."
Coach Bradley is recruiting Rory for Penn State and has made the trip to Beaver High recently. What does the Nittany Lion coaching staff like about the big tight-end prospect?
"I actually run the hurdles for my track team and throw the discus, so they really like the fact that being 6'5", 240 pounds, I can run the hurdles. They really like my athletic ability and my blocking ability which is good because Penn State's kind of a traditional team. The tight-end will block 70% of the time and that's really the player that I am. I'm like a Kyle Brady, a miniature Kyle Brady. I'm not a kid that's going to run down the seem and catch an 80-yard bomb 5 times a game. I'm not a kid with blazing speed. That's what I like about Penn State. They're traditional and that's really what I am. I really enjoy blocking and doing all the things that Mark Bruener and Kyle Brady do in the league right now and that's what excites me about them. Don't get me wrong, I want to get the ball and I want to make that big 3rd down catch, but at the same time I'm traditional and they understand that about me."
The Nittany Lion coaching staff would obviously love to have another Kyle Brady-type tight-end on their roster in 2004.
"They actually said I was the number one tight-end on the board, I still am. I think they want to get two [tight-ends], but I know that Coach Kenney really wants me a lot which is a good feeling to have, just to hear it from him. He made the phone call to me in May and we just got to spend some time together on the phone and talk about tight-end and what they do with their tight-end and it really kind of excited me."
Thinking about landing one of the top tight-end in the nation excites Nittany Lion fans, including some close to Rory.
"I have a lot of Penn State fans that are close to me. A lot of players on my team have parents that are Penn State alumni or Penn State fans. Like I've said, I've been there and it's a great atmosphere. I mean a 108,000 people in that stadium, it gets loud."