PSU Visit on the Mark for Fossati

The verstaile New Jersey prospect had a chance to spend some quality time with the Lion staff during his visit to University Park.

Mark Fossati didn't leave Penn State with an offer Mar. 18. But he did leave with a new perspective.

The junior from St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.) took in spring practice as a part of his day at University Park, and also learned what position State is recruiting him at, too.

“My dad [Tom] asked the question, do you know what position? And right away, without hesitation, they said linebacker,” Fossati explained. “They added there would be a possibility of seeing safety time, but as of right now, they like me at linebacker.”

The 5-foot-10, 200-pound was the New Jersey Star-Ledger defensive player of the year in 2012, making a school-record 154 stops at middle linebacker. But he also dabbled some at safety during the preseason, making some speculate that the Lions would recruit him as a potential addition to their still short secondary.

That wasn't the case, though, meaning the Garden State prospect spent most of his day on campus with Lions' linebacker coach Ron Vanderlinden, while also speaking with his recruiting coach, John Strollo.

“We talked to [Vanderlinden] after the [linebackers] position meeting, and he was telling me he thinks I'm a great player,” Fossati said. “He said he wouldn't be surprised if I was playing on all four special teams if I came to Penn State. I thought that was pretty cool.”

Not just a one-way player, Fossati also scored seven touchdowns as the fullback in St. Joseph's offense. He handled kicking and punting duties for the New Jersey Non-Public Group 3 2012 champs, as well.

His versatility has attracted more than just Penn State early in his recruitment, and also why he trekked to Rutgers Saturday for the Scarlet Knights' Junior Day.

And while the daylong event was certainly longer than his trip to Penn State, there were also other distinct differences between it and his visit to University Park, a visit in which he estimated there were only five other recruits in attendance.

“It was a different type of day at Penn State. Definitely shorter,” Fossati said when asked to compare the two. “We got to spend more time talking to the coaches individually than at Rutgers, and [Penn State] spent more time on each subject, because it's easier to talk one-on-one, especially academically.”

Fossati said he was asked to and may attend a camp at Rutgers this summer, while a holding pattern is a more apt description for his situation with the Nittany Lions at the moment.

But as his baseball season rolls on this spring, he'll see what opportunities come along, as well as what schools start showing more interest. For now, though, he knows more about Penn State than he did before.

“I didn't realize how impressive a program it was,” Fossati said. “I knew it was prestigious, but I didn't realize the facilities, and the weight room, and the coaching staff and strength trainers that they had.

“The stadium was great, too,” he added. “It was pretty phenomenal.”


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