Academics a Priority for DB Vincent

Second-generation standout looking for proper balance of books and football in college. What does he think about Penn State?

Troy Vincent and his family have a simple system when it comes to breaking down possible college destinations.

They first find out about a school's academic standing. Then they delve into its football program.

The Gilman School (Baltimore) 5-foot-10, 175-pound defensive back has 17 offers to date from schools across the country, including Penn State. And the Nittany Lions, like everyone else, get put into the basic system when recruiting comes up.

“As of right now, I understand the process, and know what I'm looking for,” Vincent said. “I need a school with a good balance between academics and athletics, and a coaching staff that is going to develop me as a young man.

“From an academic standpoint, it's narrowed enough that I truly know what I'm looking for,” he added. “When people in the real world see degrees, names stick out. And I'm going to go somewhere I can get a good education and play football.”

Vincent plans to major in English before attending law school, hoping to perfect the written and oral word before embarking on more tedious aspects of the law. And one of the schools he is seriously considering is the one he talks to weekly -- and one for which he already has a good feel for.

“I check in with the staff [at Penn State] about once a week, and I talked to Coach [John] Butler here at the end of the week,” Vincent said. “He's really straightforward, and he doesn't beat around the bush with me. I believe he's honest with me, and that's what I really like about him.

“He doesn't try and play the whole recruiting game and try pitching me this and pitching me that,” Vincent added. “He's straightforward. He tells me this is what it is, A, B C. If I like it, I like it. And if I don't, I don't.”

Butler lets Vincent know exactly how he would fit into the Lions' defensive scheme and still-thin secondary.

“For the most part, he believes I can play at the next level, and come in and have an impact,” Vincent said. “I mean, really when we talk, we talk about the schemes he wants to run, and he tells me what he wants to do on the field, and what he needs out of his athletes. Stuff like that.”

A FOX Sports NEXT four-star prospect, Vincent trains and is learning from some of the best. His father, also named Troy, enjoyed a long NFL career. Also in the mix is Roman Morris, the father of former Lion DB Stephan Morris. The elder Vincent and Roman Morris run the PrimeXample training program in Maryland.

That means Vincent is very much familiar with the younger Morris, Penn State Class of 2013 defensive back and early enrollee Jordan Smith, as well as a pair of Class of 2014 Lion targets in Marcus Allen and Joe Shelton, both of Upper Marlboro, Md.

The familiarity breeds not just a strong knowledge of Bill O'Brien's program but also a sense of competition, too.

“They help me, but at the same time they don't lie to me,” Vincent said. “There are certain things they like and don't like, and they don't pressure me about where I need to go. Coach Butler has said, too, that he doesn't want what Steph or anyone has to say affect my future. But it does help Penn State.”

The competition comes whenever Morris, and soon to graduate Smith get back to Maryland. Vincent and the other youngsters enjoy working out with the older athletes.

“It's like a driving force. It's kind of like our bench mark; that's where we need to be to play at that next level,” Vincent explained. “That's where we need to be at the minimum, and they are always challenging us and push us, and we push each other. When Steph comes home and he works out he's the only person I want to go up against. Steph or Jordan, I want to go against the best, because to be the best, you have to go against the best.”

Vincent has no visits on the calendar at the moment. But he's always looking at what might fit into his parents' busy schedules. One visit he has already crossed off his list was a trip to Maryland Thursday, something the junior called a good visit. The Terps have already started spring ball.

“Just to see all the coaches in action, and working and be able to watch the team was good,” Vincent said. “They have a strong bond with each other, so that was real good.”

The father-son duo spent most of their time with Terrapin defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Brian Stewart, while also having chats with head coach Randy Edsall and assistant director of operations Ryan Steinberg.

The junior was disappointed his mother wasn't able to make the trip, but learned the in-state program was all business.

“It was one point to the next point, and everybody is getting taught the same thing, and then it's who is going to pick up on what he's teaching and apply it right away,” Vincent said of what he observed at practice. “I like the competitive atmosphere, and it was very good that they saw my face, and that I was able to show them that I'm interested and I care, and appreciate that they extended an offer to me.”

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