These were three of the things that changed Wise High (Upper Marlboro, Md.) defensive back Marcus Allen's view of Penn State Monday, when they junior embarked on his second trip to University Park, this time for the first day of spring practice.
I really didn't know much about them before I got there, to be honest, Allen said. I knew about the sanctions, and the negative things with Sandusky, and also that they had a brotherhood and that their tradition was outstanding, and that Coach [Larry] Johnson was very caring.
But afterward, I knew they were recruiting me hard.
That wasn't the only thing he learned after spending over six hours on campus, though. The 6-foot-2, 188-pound safety also was impressed by new safeties coach Anthony Midget, the demeanor of head coach Bill O'Brien and the weight room inside the Lasch Building.
It all equaled the realization of what former workout partners, and Lions, had told him about the program. Allen had heard the words of former Penn State defensive back Stephon Morris and current DB Jordan Smith. But now, he knows exactly what they mean.
I got to talk about a lot with the coaches, and I talked to Coach Midget, Coach [John] Butler and Coach Johnson, and they talked to me about playing time, different base coverages, and everything like that. It was nice, Allen said. [Midget] is very cool, and a laid back coach. But on the field, he's laid back, but once he gets in his groove, you can't get him out of it, and I like that. I would love a coach that would coach like that.
Speaking of the weight room, Allen called it really nice, while calling the weights hi-tech, and that he liked them. The FOX Sports NEXT four-star prospect also took in Penn State's first spring practice, and the energy with which it was conducted intrigued him.
The practice and how tense it was, that was really nice, he said. I got to see the one-on-ones with the wide receivers and defensive backs, and how they were competing really good, like [Adrian] Amos. He was scrapping, and his coverage skills are outstanding.
But more than the intensity, the junior also took away a unique aspect that not every recruit gets to see: how his potential future coaches operate when it is go-time.
I got to really see how they coach, when I might have only seen the personal side before, Allen said. I wanted to see how they coach, and I believe I've seen their outlook on that, and I like how they coach. That was cool.
Allen will visit North Carolina, North Carolina State, Duke and Wake Forrest this weekend before shuffling further south to see Clemson and Georgia Tech two weekends from now. He's not sure what those visits have in store, nor when he will trim his list of schools. But the junior does know plenty about Penn State, learning exactly what he set out to Monday.
The coaches know who I am, and they speak to me genuinely, and tell me how I would impact their team, Allen said. They tell me what they like about me, and what they think I could improve. They are just really real.