Long & Short of Whitehead's Visit

The sophomore defensive back discusses his recent lengthy unofficial visit to Penn State. Did he score a verbal offer after talking to Bill O'Brien and the Lion staff?

Jordan Whitehead called his day Friday on Penn State's University Park campus long. But in this case, long was good.

The Class of 2015 cornerback from Central Valley High (Monaca, Pa.) was able to see and learn plenty about Penn State, its campus and its football program over the course of his six-hour-plus visit. And he liked what he saw.

“When I got there, I met with [head] Coach [Bill] O'Brien, and we talked a little bit about the recruiting process and stuff like that,” Whitehead said. “After that, we toured Beaver Stadium, watched spring practice, and they took to me to see academic advisors and to position meetings, too.”

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound prospect received a pair of messages from O'Brien, and while both were important, the second resonated especially well.

Whitehead first learned from the Lion leader that he indeed has a verbal scholarship offer, the fourth one handed out to Class of 2015 cornerbacks. However, it was the sentiment O'Brien relayed next that hit home with the Keystone State prospect -- do what your heart tells you to do, and don't allow anyone to control your destiny but you.

“He told me first about the recruiting process, and how he and the coaches can't call me, and that I have to call them first,” Whitehead explained. “But then he told me that every coach wants me to come to their place, but that I should pick where my heart desires, and go there.

“That meant a lot to me, because he wants what is best for me.”

After playing both ways a season ago for the Warriors -- and scoring 13 total touchdowns to go with three interceptions -- Whitehead said he is being recruited as a cornerback by Penn State. It is believed that the other three programs showing him a high level of interest thus far, Rutgers, Ohio State, and Pittsburgh, are also recruiting him in the secondary.

With that in mind, he visited with both defensive coordinator John Butler and safeties coach Anthony Midget Friday, and came away impressed by both.

“Coach Butler … I like him. He seems like a good coach, and he's relaxed,” the sophomore said. “He liked to have fun in the position room, but was serious at the same time.

“Coach Midget … I liked him, too,” he added. “He seems like he would become your friend, as in someone you would be able to talk about anything.”

When the talking was done, it was time for action, and Whitehead noted State looked energetic in its eighth spring practice, playing with a “high energy” even though the practice focused on fundamentals and building blocks more than up-tempo scrimmaging or competitive action.

“It was all nice there; the stadium was really nice, and I liked it,” he said. “Campus was nice, and there were people walking around it. It was a very nice, sunny day, which was good, too.”

Whitehead has no future visits set, and will see where the recruiting process takes him over the spring months before hitting the camp circuit this summer. And with camps come new campuses, leading to an opportunity to explore one of the elements he's most curious about at any school.

“I want them to be good [on the field], and be strong in academics and whatever I choose to major in,” Whitehead said. “I want to fill comfortable on the campus.”

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