Tight end talks recruiting

Beaver HS tight end <b>Rory Nicol</b> was recently named as the tenth best prospect in the Midwest Region. He also just visited North Carolina. Have the Tar Heels become his new leader? Are the Nittany Lions still involved? When will Rory make his final decision?

Name: Rory Nicol
Position: TE
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 238 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.83
Bench Press: 295 pounds
School: Beaver Area SHS, Beaver, PA

When you are the #2 ranked tight end by TheInsiders.com, recruiting becomes just a little more intense.  Phone calls increase, more mail flows into your mailbox, and fans of your home state's top program clamor to know if your still leaning to them.  Amid all of these distractions, Rory Nicol has kept his whit's about him and will not succumb to any pressure to make a decision until he's ready.

"There's pressure everywhere, you can't deny that.  There's pressure at every single school in America.  (Penn State's) being pretty patient with me and they understand that I'm a seventeen year old kid making one of the biggest decisions of my life," said the Beaver HS tight end.

Rory recently returned from North Carolina, heading down to Chapel Hill for an unofficial visit.

"The campus is awesome.  It's North Carolina; it's wooded.  I like the campus, but campus isn't everything. Student life, the coaches and all that stuff is really important too," said Rory, who also had a chance to examine the facilities.

"North Carolina was impressive.  Their facility is just different from Penn State's.  It's a four story facility, but the first floor of Penn State's is enormous.  There is all kinds of room.  You go upstairs and you have all the coaches' offices," explained Rory. "North Carolina is a compact first floor, compact second floor, compact third floor, compact fourth floor.  So in reality, square feet wise, it's not that much different (from Penn State), it's just cool because it's four stories high."

Within the next month, Rory plans to take some visits, but at this point his itinerary has not been planned.

"I can't tell you 100% but I'd like to get down to Tennessee and maybe Florida State.  Maybe get my parents to see North Carolina and then in the midwest, maybe Iowa, Ohio State, Penn State definitely, Pitt, maybe Syracuse," said Rory, who added that neither Florida State nor Tennessee have offered.

Rory has kept the Penn State coaches, particularly defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, updated about his plans to see a couple more schools before making a decision.

"I just recently talked to Coach Bradley.  I told him I had a couple more visits I wanted to make before I made a decision and that Penn State would be the last place I saw.  We kind of roughly decided that it would be mid to late-August that I would be up there.  That will be with my parents," Rory explained.

How did Coach Bradley react to Rory's need to gather more information about different colleges.

"He told me if you need anything just give me a call, but I'll expect you up here in August.  That will be my last visit for the summer and then if I decide to take officials, then I'll take the officials.  I'm not really positive about that.  Like I told Coach Bradley, as much as I like Penn State, I just got back from North Carolina and I felt comfortable there.  I just want to see the schools I want to see and then sit down and think about what's the best fit for me personally," said Rory.

Have the recent commitments of Jed Hill and Mike Lucian, both of whom can potentially play tight end, made Rory wary of Penn State because of competition?

"I talked to [Coach] Bradley.  That stuff's all squared away.  That doesn't bother me because all that is competition and all that's going to do is make you a better player," said Rory, who remains the Nittany Lions #1 target at the position.

"[Coach Bradley] kind of said, we're waiting on you.  Guys are knocking on the door of JoePa everyday saying I've got this tight end and they want me.  It's a good feeling, but, like I said, [recruiting] happens once in a lifetime.  My football days can end whenever, like that, and I could go to Penn State because they want me as number one, but that's not the right reason.  I've got to go there because I feel like it's my best place."

"I want to get a degree more than anything.  I think a degree's a degree, you've just got to be dedicated to get it."

Before Rory goes on his visits tour, he plans to go to Penn State one more time with a couple of his friends.

"I think July 19th might be day A.Q.'s going up [to Penn State] to stay with a couple guys he knows on the team and I'll probably be up then.  But that won't be with my parents or anything," said Rory, who added he believes both Dontey Brown and Tyrell Sales will go too.

Along with academics and campus life, Rory feels that relationships with the coaching staffs will be important in his decision making process.  How did he get along with the Tar Heel staff in comparison with the Nittany Lion staff?

"I get along with them.  I don't have the relationship with Coach [Ken] Browning that I have with Coach Bradley.  But their tight end coach is very nice.  [He] actually kind of treated me as a son not like a recruit, which was interesting.  [Penn State] Coach [Bill] Kenney called me in May and I connected with him as well.  We talked football, but I didn't get a chance to spend two days with Coach Kenney, so I'm not going to sit here and say that Browning's any better or Browning's any worse.  That's something I need to do, get a relationship with Coach Kenney.  I know he's a great guy and a great coach.  He's coached some great football players," explained Rory.

It's obvious that Rory and Coach Bradley have an excellent relationship.  How does Rory feel the job Coach Bradley has done has affected him in the recruiting process so far.

"Coach Bradley does a phenomenal job, he is awesome.  He is a straight shooter.  Bradley will hurt your feelings but, you know what, he is telling you the honest to God truth," explained Rory, who has not been set straight by Coach Bradley yet. "Honestly, he hasn't, but he would.  If he had to, he would."

"He's a good guy.  I know him through people and I know him through myself.  He's just very, very honest and I love that about him.  He's very, very respected in western Pa.  That's one of the biggest things I like about, he doesn't tell me what I want to hear," said Rory, who admitted he's not the only recruit who thinks Bradley is a great guy.

"A.Q. loves Bradley," said Rory of Penn State's #7 verbal.  "He's going to be a good player some day."

Although Penn State fans may have to sweat out Rory's decision until late August at the very least, with Coach Bradley on their side, the Nittany Lions seem to have the edge for the midwest's overall #10 prospect.

(Interview by Steve Curry)

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