Is PSU Re-Opening a Gateway?

Two juniors from a traditional WPIAL power were on hand for the Penn State-Wisconsin game. Where do they stand with the Nittany Lions?

Penn State has an eye turned to the Class of 2014, even as it finishes out its 2013 class. Two of Saturday's visitors to watch the Nittany Lions' 24-21 thriller over Wisconsin may fit the mold Bill O'Brien and his staff are looking for. They also happen to be teammates.

And from a WPIAL power that has not sent a scholarship player to PSU since Jon Ditto in the Class of 2007.

Defensive back Delvon Randall and athlete Zaihe Regus, both from Gateway High (Monroeville, Pa.), took in the sights and sounds around University Park on an unofficial visit this weekend. Both are kicking off the bulk of their recruiting with Gateway's season now finished.

“I think it's great up there. The experience was great, and I think I'd be a great fit at Penn State,” Randall said.

It was the 6-foot, 174-pound cornerback's second visit to Penn State in nearly a month, as he also was in town for the Nittany Lions' loss to Ohio State in October.

“I went to the game against Ohio State, and I thought it there were going to be as many fans as there was for that game, but there weren't,” Randall said.

But that didn't completely turn off the junior.

“It was still really loud and energetic, and I was impressed by that,” he said.

Regus also experienced his second Beaver Stadium crowd Saturday.

“I loved the atmosphere, and the tradition and pride with which they played,” Regus said. “The passion the players have and the support from the fans really stood out to me.”

Both athletes had the opportunity to speak with Nittany Lion secondary coach John Butler prior to Saturday's tilt, as he covers their area in western Pennsylvania.

“Coach Butler asked how I enjoyed the Ohio State game, because I got there late and didn't get to see them before that game,” Randall said. “He asked about my grades, too, which are great, and he said they would be stopping by my school sometime in the coming weeks.”

Regus also enjoyed the time he spent talking to the first-year Penn State assistant.

“Coach Butler said he saw me at a couple games he was at, and that really impressed me that he knew who I was,” Regus said. “He said they'd be talking more to me soon. I can't wait.”

At 5-10, 210 pounds, Regus plays fullback and linebacker for Gateway, and he and Randall make up part of the western Pennsylvania 7-on-7 unit Team 412, which competes up and down the East Coast during the off-season.

“We're all one family, and we're close and have great chemistry,” Randall said of his team, which is composed of mostly players from the WPIAL. “We have guys from all over, places like Perry and North Hills and Monroeville, so it's cool that we can all come together and play.”

It's likely that Randall will use some of what he saw Saturday from the Nittany Lions' defense over the spring and in the fall when his senior campaign kicks off.

“I picked up on how their safeties are physical, and how they come down and wrap up and make a tackle,” Randall said. “I watched how the corners played their coverage, too, and they have good coverage a lot.”

Both prospects will likely head to West Virginia next weekend for another unofficial visit, and both are considering attending Penn State's first Junior Day in the new year.

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