Penn State Sweet on LB DeBerry

Nittany Lions are the latest to offer the standout Class of 2015 prospect from Richmond. What does he think of Bill O'Brien's program?

St. Christopher School (Richmond, Va.) linebacker Ricky DeBerry picked up an offer from Penn State Wednesday morning. The Nittany Lions are the eighth program to offer the Class of 2015 standout.

His recruitment has intensified as the state's spring practice window nears.

“Everything started to pick back up again with spring ball coming up,” DeBerry said. “All the coaches are coming out to make their rounds to visit all the schools, and I'm just getting bigger, faster and stronger.”

Penn State has had its eye on the 6-foot-3, 235-pound sophomore for the past two years. He has attended the school's last two Advanced Skill Camps, where he had the chance to work with linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden. He has also become close with running backs coach Charles London and defensive line coach Larry Johnson.

The offer came from London.

“Coach London keeps in contact with me, and I call him every now and then,” DeBerry said. “He told my coach that he was offering me this morning, and one of my teammates, [sophomore defensive back] Garrett Taylor, as well. They told my coach they like my film, and that my grades are right, and that they really want to get me there and check out the spring game or spring practice, and just see the facilities and get more comfortable.”

DeBerry is leaning heavily on advice from his father, Rick, while going through the recruiting process.

“The first thing we always talk about is academics,” the younger DeBerry said. “I'm going to be a man and a football player, so academics come first. We talk about who the coaches are, and where they were in the past, and where their players from the past are now, and finally, how many championships they had. I want to go to a school with a tradition of actually winning, and one that has my major, which will be computer science, business or economics. So we talk about all of that.”

DeBerry made 55 stops, 12.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and an interception in 2012. But he believes there is more to his game than pure stats.

“I really excel in my I.Q. of the game,” he said. “Me and my dad sit down and analyze my games, and see where the ball is going and how the offense lines up. … I don't think most guys my size have the speed and agility I do, and that helps with rushing off the edge and causing havoc in the backfield.”

DeBerry also claims offers from East Carolina, Iowa, North Carolina, Purdue, Tennessee, Virginia and Virginia Tech. He will visit the Hokies April 6, Alabama April 20 and attend a summer camp at LSU.

Another visit will come to University Park this fall for a Nittany Lion home game at Beaver Stadium. Even though the program will still be under NCAA sanctions, it doesn't matter much to the linebacker. DeBerry recognizes the pedigree of head coach Bill O'Brien's staff, and how capable they are of producing NFL players.

“I have talked to Coach Vanderlinden the last two years, and he is a very good coach that coached a lot of great linebackers,” DeBerry said. “My class, if I were to commit to Penn State, wouldn't be able to go to a bowl game my first year, but that doesn't affect me much. I can't really focus on all that stuff, because a lot of their coaches coached in the pros, and that's where I want to be.”

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