Hoge a Happy Camper After PSU Visit

The Class of 2015 offensive lineman from Idaho called his first trip to Happy Valley "awesome." Will he make a return visit in the fall?

Offensive lineman Tristen Hoge can snap. He can also play tackle. After Saturday, he has the opportunity to attend Penn State, too.

The 6-foot-6, 280-pound Class of 2015 prospect from Highland Senior (Pocatello, Idaho) was the class of the offensive linemen in attendance for State's final Advanced Skills Camp of the summer, and his offer ledger grew by one afterward because of it.

Nittany Lion head coach Bill O'Brien extended a verbal scholarship offer to the junior-to-be, his fifth of the process and first from a Big Ten program.

"It went well. It was great," Hoge said of the camp. "It was a great camp, with great people, and they have great facilities here at Penn State.

"The coaches have a genuine care for their players, and I like that. I like the energy and the love for the game. I love it."

Hoge, who worked with offensive line coach Mac McWhorter for the duration of the camp, was rarely beaten in one-on-one drills.

His chat with O'Brien afterward was as good as his play on the field, he said. A final stop with strength and conditioning coach Craig Fitzgerald lit up his eyes, as well.

Fitzgerald explained to Hoge and his family the lifting program the team employs, and also detailed the transformation of State's weight room from the time he and O'Brien arrived in Happy Valley.

"He likes my work and my toughness," Hoge said of O'Brien. "I may have messed up back there, but I kept jumping in to make sure I got it right. He liked that, and my toughness, and especially my technique.

"He said he loves it."

And Hoge returned that affection for Penn State. He had never been to the campus tucked away in the Pennsylvania mountains, but was awed by its size and amenities. He planned to learn more about what it has to offer athletically and academically after an early week stop at Notre Dame Sunday through Wednesday.

The tackle says he never attends a camp expecting to get an offer. The comings and goings of camps, coach visits, and his work ethic are all ingredients to the recipe he hopes will gain him offers from programs across the country.

"I have to go in and work my tail off," he said. "I have to impress the coaches and never come in and say, ‘I'm going to get an offer.'

"I expect to work every day.

With plans to keep in touch with Penn State's staff, Hoge also will look into additional camp opportunities this summer. With Notre Dame his only scheduled stop as of the weekend, he said he may add more as the summer unfolds.

He also plans to end up back at University Park this fall, eager to attend a Nittany Lion home game. His football schedule will dictate which game he attends, he said.

Asked to evaluate his camp experience, he simply replied ‘awesome.'

"All the coaches are just technicians, and I appreciate that. They make sure you are better as a player," Hoge said. "It was awesome, and a great opportunity to come to a great school.

"If I had to expound, it was simply a great time and great experience."

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