Fitzpatrick Finds Offer at Penn State

The St. Peter's Prep (Jersey City, N.J.) DB had a big day at the Nittany Lions' Advanced Skill Camp. He was strong on the field and scored a PSU offer afterward.

Minkah Fitzpatrick has heard from Penn State since his freshman year, when his first letter arrived with an address from University Park.

Immediately, he began researching the program that was establishing itself with a new head coach in Bill O'Brien. Little did he know, the staff were researching him, too, with parallel goals in mind.

State, of course, hopes to one day land the St. Peter's Prep (Jersey City, N.J.) defensive back. And he hoped to gain an offer from the Nittany Lions.

While landing him won't happen for quite some time, Fitzpatrick's portion of the goal is already accomplished. He earned his 10th verbal scholarship when State offered after its Advanced Skill Camp Saturday.

"I think I showed them that I am a great player, worthy of an offer, and that they are really interested in me as a player and a student," Fitzpatrick said. "It feels great for me, because I know they are a great program academically and athletically, and now I just have to do what I have to do, and gain a lot more interest."

The 6-foot, 180-pound prospect was clearly the best athlete on hand at the Nittany Lions' first camp of the summer, and that fact was exemplified during the afternoon session, where a quartet of quarterbacks routinely threw away from Fitzpatrick during seven-on-seven drills to close the camp. When they did test him, he came away with a pick.

There wasn't much the prospect looked away from Saturday, though. He took in the setting of State's practice facilities, on this day featuring a gorgeous view of the mountains overlooking Holuba Hall and its adjacent practice fields.

In the end, he said he left with blown-away expectations for the program, and he'll likely be back again.

"That's exactly how I felt," Fitzpatrick exclaimed. "Just the coaches in general — they were amazing coaches, and really know how to teach and talk to the players. The campus is beautiful, and it just blew me away."

Fitzpatrick speaks mostly with Lion safeties coach Anthony Midget, but throughout the camp, he could be seen chatting with and receiving instruction from State defensive coordinator John Butler. Butler also spoke with him and his family at the conclusion of camp.

The Class of 2015 standout noted that his relationship with both secondary coaches is strong.

"I talked to Coach Midget, and he is a great coach, and the defensive coordinator is also the cornerbacks coach, and they are both just great coaches," Fitzpatrick said. "I learned a lot from them today during just the couple hours I was here."

Camps at Alabama and South Carolina, and visits to Clemson, Ohio State and Michigan dot his summer schedule, and thus far, only the Buckeyes and Gamecocks have joined Penn State on the offer sheet.

He hopes to perform at those camps just as he did at Penn State Saturday, with a desire to earn offers from those programs, too.

"Hopefully, if I perform well and stay healthy, than I can get an offer from other schools," he said. "I actually got an offer from South Carolina, but I just want to see how those coaches are and see if I'd fit in there with them.

"The most important thing is just the environment between the players and coaches, and the relationship between the players and players, and also the competitiveness of the schedule. Here [at Penn State], it doesn't get any better than this.

"And also, the strength and conditioning program, too."

Relationships with players are one of the things that Fitzpatrick says he would like to establish with members of State's current roster, adding that it would help him get a better feel for the Nittany Lions' program.

For now, though, he'll continue to establish himself on the field, as offers continue to roll in.

"I was just talking to the coach [Butler], and he told me that my size and my length [is a strength], and also just to be able to make up with my speed and strength," Fitzpatrick said.

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