When Richie Petitbon exited Beaver Stadium well after Penn State toppled Wisconsin in the 2012 season finale, he thought he knew quite a bit about the Nittany Lions. Saturday, though, he learned even more at the school's Advanced Skill Camp.
The Maryland legacy and Class of 2015 Gonzaga College High (Washington, D.C.) offensive lineman spent a majority of Saturday working with Penn State offensive line coach Mac McWhorter, impressing him and head coach Bill O'Brien enough to land a scholarship offer from the Lions shortly after he left University Park.
"I was expecting to go out there and just compete at a top level, and I always want to be the best," Petitbon said. "It was awesome with all the kids there and facilities, and after meeting with Coach O'Brien in his office, he ended up offering me a scholarship on the way home.
"It was awesome and really unbelievable. I was extremely happy. It gave me a lot of confidence. When I went to Penn State to visit there, I loved it."
It was the 6-foot-4, 280-pound tackle's third scholarship offer, joining Old Dominion and Temple on a ledger that is likely to grow as the summer and later his junior season unfolds. And while he feels pretty comfortable navigating the recruiting process, he's receiving plenty of help, too.
It's coming from people close to him. His grandfather, Richard Petitbon, was the defensive coordinator of the Washington Redskins from 1981-1992, before assuming the head coaching role vacated by Joe Gibbs for the 1993 season. His father, Richie, also offers a wealth of experience, having played linebacker for the University of Maryland.
"My dad would always tell me that they were so close to beating Penn State, but they were a powerhouse," the youngest Petitbon explained. "When you think of college football, history and tradition, you think of Penn State.
"I followed the team [in 2012] and they started off 0-2 and had some tough losses. But, Coach O'Brien got them on the uphill track, and the season they had was unbelievable even after all the allegations."
Petitbon will camp at Rutgers this coming weekend, and trips to Virginia and Alabama also mark his summer schedule. While they are a bit off in the future, he hopes to take what he learned from McWhorter and Penn State not just to those camps, but to his high school team and season, too.
He noted that he took in stride the advice from State's offensive line coach, which included staying low, keeping his feet moving and using his hands to his advantage.
"Coach Mac taught us to just compete, because everyone is competing for a scholarship," Petitbon said. "He said we just have to keep playing, and the drills he put us through were the same ones he puts the actual (PSU players) through.
"Just stance drills, and stuff like that. The drills were a lot more fast paced compared to high school practice, and it was just unbelievable," he said. "He is really good, and a funny and nice guy. He has good jokes, too."
With some projecting him as a defensive tackle in college, Petitbon noted that he'd prefer to play offensive tackle. The reasons are numerous, but they include "crushing guys" and playing fast.
There is also sentimental value to playing offensive line, as well. It comes from providing a sense of security to his teammates, and not just to Gonzaga running back standout and classmate Reggie Corbin, but also for his quarterback, who often targets class of 2015 wide out Jabari Greenwood, as well.
"It's like a spread and pro-style offense," Petitbon said when asked about the type of offense his high school runs. "We have a lot of great athletes, and I like to get outside in pass blocking, and play like a fast offensive lineman and help those guys out."