It's not quite Field of Dreams. Yet, the practice fields outside of Holuba Hall at University Park could be just that for Holy Spirit (Absecon, N.J) middle linebacker Jeffrey Steeb. He just has to come and find out. And he will.
The junior, who made 104 tackles a season ago and was clocked with a 4.6-second 40-yard dash for the New Jersey Non-Public II state champs, visited Penn State for the first time last Friday. It was at the invitation from State linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden. Steeb will return in June.
Coach Vanderlinden came down to Holy Spirit to check us out in the weight room, and then he took my e-mail and address and started to send letters, Steeb said. He asked me to come up a couple of times, and I was finally able to make it. It means a lot to me because it shows that he really wants me and is looking at me. It feels good that he knows what I'm all about.
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior is all about hitting, having also racked up three forced fumbles and seven sacks last fall. He's about academics, too, which is why that portion of his visit stood out. The fact that there is a tutoring system in place and that there is class assistance available are important to him.
He's also about versatility. As noted previously at Fight On State, the Lions are likely finished recruiting interior linebackers in the class of 2014. Steeb is no one-trick pony, though, having played outside for the duration of his sophomore year before moving inside a year later.
It's where Vanderlinden told him he wants to see him work out, when Penn State holds its Advanced Skill Camp June 1. The Garden State native already plans to attend. Friday, though, had little to do with physical pursuits, save for a glimpse at the Lions 11th spring practice. Instead, it was all about learning, talking and building.
When I first got there, we talked to Coach Vanderlinden for a little bit, and then we took a tour of campus, Steeb explained. We checked out the academic center and all the facilities, and the weight room, too, which was incredible.
Then we got to go the linebackers meeting, and that was good to get a feel for college, he added. Then we checked out Beaver Stadium before practice. That's a good stadium that holds 108,000. Not many places can do or say that.
He may camp at a few of those schools this summer, but the only one set in stone is a return trip to Happy Valley. He intends to prove he deserves an offer on the trip.
My main points -- I like to be as physical as possible, not forget the rules, and know what I have to do, Steeb said. You don't have to try and be the hero, but just go out and make plays.