Athlete Scott Makes True Blue Decision

Versatile Virginia player commits to Penn State, the program he's followed since childhood. He is the second member of the Nittany Lions' Class of 2014.

Nicholas Scott says he has known for weeks where he wanted to go to college. But he just as easily could be talking about years.

The junior athlete from Fairfax, Va. -- but who grew up in Lancaster, Pa. -- always sported a blue and white jersey while playing old NCAA football video games. Moreover, his family and friends always supported the Pennsylvania college team nestled away in the mountains.

Scott can't recall exactly when he adopted the dream to play Division I football at Penn State, but it is clear a longstanding one. And Saturday, it became more than a dream. It became a reality.

Scott, who rushed for more than 900 yards during his junior season, became the second member of PSU's Class of 2014, committing to head coach Bill O'Brien just before piling into his family's car and heading home. In a year and a few months, he'll call Happy Valley home.

“That was my first visit up there -- for the first time ever, really, regardless of the fact that I lived an hour away when I was younger,” Scott explained when asked why Saturday was the right day to commit. “I got up there and saw the campus and talked to the coaches face-to-face and heard about the great academics and athletics. That's really what did it today.”

Blue and White has always been in Scott's blood. Outside of virtual play, the junior had ties to the program through a family connection to former Nittany Lion wide receiver Corey Jones.

Penn State actually made its offer in October. But having never been on campus, Scott took his parents' advice and held off on committing, “just in case something jumped out.” When the scene met his imagination during the visit, Scott pulled the trigger as Saturday's event came to a close.

“I committed right before I left. I just talked to the coaches, and told them what I enjoyed about the school,” Scott said. “I basically told them that I liked Penn State since I was a kid and told them how I felt.

“My parents and I prayed on it before we made the decision, and I finally told them I was coming. Coach O'Brien was real excited. He said it was nice to have me, and gave me a hug, and I hugged him back. It was quite the experience; he was bigger and stronger than I expected.”

Scott's strength and size make him a multi-talented recruit, an important aspect for any player who commits to Penn State during the years engulfed by NCAA sanctions that limit scholarships and roster size. He was consistently used as a running back last fall, scampering for 15 rushing touchdowns, but also hauled in 200 yards receiving and a pair of touchdowns. He spent time in the secondary, too, embodying the “athlete” label in recruiting if any prospect ever did.

“A lot of schools are recruiting me as an athlete; not many schools mention specifically,” Scott said. “It depends on what's a good fit for their school, and Penn State hasn't specified yet. It really doesn't matter to me. I'm a team player. Wherever they feel I'll have the best impact for the team is where I'm willing to play. Whenever they need me.”

Scott's favorite part of his day at University Park was walking on the same turf his virtual self did years ago, adding an extra layer of goose bumps on a day plenty fit for them.

“The stadium is amazing,” he said. “They took us out to the middle of the field, and just looking around and imagining every single one of those seats filled up, and everybody wearing white; that's the real deal, man.

“It gave me goose bumps; there's no experience like it. That, and the coaches were really harping on things that resonate with me. Things like players' character, the kind of character they go after, and things they do off the football field. Their players do the right thing in the classroom and just all together.”

Boston College was the lone other school to offer Scott, and he expressed his gratitude to the Eagles' staff for its pursuit of him, saying he respected the school's coaches and all the coaches who spent countless hours recruiting him before he ultimately ended the cycle Saturday.

He is considering attending invite-only camps, but will otherwise spend his summer preparing for his senior season -- and lending a hand, and advice, when asked by other recruits about the Nittany Lions. But for now, he'll savor the moment he left Happy Valley, knowing full well he'll soon be back, wearing the Blue and White he always dreamed of donning.

“You can ask my parents; I've been talking about Penn State the last couple weeks, even months, before I got to visit,” Scott said. “I really think about it now: Penn State has always been my team. I use Penn State when I play XBOX, and created myself when I was younger playing PS2. They were my team ever since I knew what the game of football was.

“Not many kids can say they are offered by, let alone going to, the school they grew up loving, and still love today. It's the place I want to be.”

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