The long wait for Troy Vincent's Penn State commitment ended Wednesday. With the blessing of his mother and father, the Gilman School (Baltimore) FOX Sports NEXT four-star defensive back decided that the time had come to make his decision.
He informed the PSU staff while on a campus visit Wednesday.
The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Vincent became the 12th member of State's Class of 2014 and the second cornerback (along with Coatesville (Pa.) prospect Daquan Worley). It moved Penn State to 17th in the FOX Sports NEXT team recruiting rankings.
"I went ahead and made my decision to do it, and I'm happy with the choice I made. I wanted to get it done with," Vincent explained Thursday. "[Penn State] kind of embodies everything that we're looking for in a school. It has great academics and football, so it's the best of both worlds.
"I believe it's the best fit for myself, and the type of person I am," Vincent continued. "Also, with what Coach [Bill] O'Brien and his staff are looking to do with the program, and keep the tradition, it's has a new-era feel to it."
That new-era feel is attractive to the cornerback because he's familiar with the old. His trainer, Roman Morris, has long had his own son and Penn State grad Stephon around Vincent and the rest of the defensive backs at PrimeXample defensive back training in Maryland. Vincent's father Troy, of Wisconsin and NFL fame, also instructs there.
Stephon Morris never pushed Vincent to follow his footsteps onto the Beaver Stadium grass, but the current New England Patriot also wasn't shy regarding his feelings about the program.
"[Stephon] has been like a brother to me. He never pushed me, but I knew deep down that it would mean something to him if I went," Vincent explained. "He encouraged me to go where I wanted to go, and I'd talk to him about schools. He would just ask whether I'm doing it for myself, or if I was doing it to please people.
"He never wanted to force me to go there."
He didn't have to. Vincent chose Penn State over offers from Wisconsin, Pitt, West Virginia and 16 other Division-I program.Training mates Marcus Allen, Mark Allen and Jordan Smith had previously committed to Penn State.
The first two will join him on campus in 2014, while Smith, a defensive back, is already on campus after enrolling at PSU this past spring.
Their camaraderie, he said, is already established, and thus, it will "be like getting the gang back together."
Vincent's mother and sister also made the trip to Happy Valley Wednesday. On this visit, the cornerback said he was able to gain a perspective on the lifestyle and atmosphere at Penn State. He'll get to learn more about another Class of 2014 commit, receiver De'Andre Thompkins, when both arrived at The Opening next week as members of the same 7 on 7 team.
"We were actually talking today, and I'm looking forward to getting to know him," Vincent said when asked about Thompkins. "I'm on cloud nine still. I'm kind of taking it all in. People are still texting me congrats, so it's still fresh on my mind, and the whole situation just makes me excited, and is something I'm looking forward to."
Vincent was recruited by Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson and defensive coordinator John Butler. Both factored into his decision, Vincent said.
"They always listen, and we talk rarely about football. It's more about personal things," Vincent said. "They never said, ‘Commit because of the numbers,' or anything like that. They just played off how I wanted to go, and that meant a lot to me
"They were very respectful about the whole process, and never forced me to commit or anything. My family feels comfortable about them coaching me over the next four years."