|Hometown/School:||Lake Orion, Mi. (Lake Orion Community HS)|
On July 8th, Lake Orion Community HS offensive lineman Trent Varva decided to become a Nittany Lion, nearly a week after calling them his leader. Trent became Penn State's thirteenth verbal commitment when he called Coach Ron Vanderlinden to accept the Nittany Lion scholarship.
According to Trent's coach, Chris Bell, he's an outstanding individual and Penn State fans are lucky to have him. What are Trent's best qualities on the football field?
"He's a dominant player. He's a big guy, who plays hard and who can run. He's got great flexibility for a big guy; one of the most explosive players out of his stance. He's 6'3'', 310 and just explodes out of his stance. Once he comes out of his stance, he just mauls people," Coach Bell admitted. "He's a mauler. He's got the size, speed, and strength and he uses it. There's no messing around."
Bell continued, "Great kid. Very hard worker. He's one of the hardest workers we have. He's the best high school offensive lineman that I've ever seen and I've had many coaches, who've been coaching a lot longer than I have, say the same thing that he's one of the best that they've seen."
When LionNews spoke with Coach Bell on Monday night, he admitted they were still in the "discussion phase" and going through the "evaluation process," so a decision had not yet been made. The only sticking point for Trent was a planned trip to Georgia Tech scheduled for this upcoming weekend.
At that point, Coach Bell admitted it was all Penn State though.
"Penn State offered him very early. He made a trip out there for an unofficial junior day and they offered him very early. Our kids, once they make a commitment that's it, that's their word," Coach Bell said. "He's got multiple offers out there but he's just trying to find the best school."
Now that Trent has made his decision, Coach Bell has three of his players going to Big Ten powers next season, with both FB/LB Roger Allison and OL/DT Will Johnson both going to Michigan. Was Michigan interested in Trent?
"Michigan is looking for more tackle types, those 6'6'' or 6'7'' guys on the offensive line. Trent is 6'3'', so he's a guard slash center or he could possibly play defensive line," Coach Bell explained.
Although Michigan may have been his childhood favorite, Trent decided on the Nittany Lions after becoming incredibly comfortable in Happy Valley. What exactly does he like about Penn State?
"The feel mostly. Then the coaching staff's great. They work really well together and they're a real tight knit group. They've got some young blood in there with new ideas and then you've got the older, more experienced guys, who you can always go to for things that have worked in the past," explained Trent. "I've been to the campus twice and it's a great campus out there. The weather's nice, the locations good, it's a real nice feel."
Trent, who had offers from Michigan State, Colorado, and Georgia Tech, did not see how he could go wrong with the Nittany Lions.
"I've just been thinking about it, discussing it with my mom, looking at the pro's and con's of going to Penn State or not going to it. I looked at it and there was all the reason to sign with Penn State and there wasn't really that many, if any at all, reasons not to except for the fact that Coach Paterno would be retiring, but it seems like he's going strong. So I don't expect that to happen," admitted Trent.
Trent has had the chance to talk with Joe Paterno briefly at both the junior day and at camp. The coaches have told him that they see him primarily as a guard on offense. Have the coaches talked to him about playing time yet?
"No not yet. I'm going to talk with Coach Vanderlinden and Coach Anderson more in the coming weeks," Trent said.
Penn State's thirteenth commitment should have no problem making it on the field quickly, especially with his unique blend of athleticism and strength. Trent should also have a nice bone to pick when the Wolverines and Nittany Lions next meet, proving that although height can be measured, heart cannot.
(Interviews by Steve Curry)