Plenty of recruits have left University Park in awe of Beaver Stadium. Millville (N.J.) High defensive tackle Antoine White can be added to that list.
Fresh off a leg workout early Sunday, White still recalled the massive stadium as one of the highlights from his Saturday unofficial visit to Penn State. It was one of many eye-openers, though.
At 6-foot-3, 270 pounds, White is the most recent Class of 2014 defensive tackle to secure a PSU offer, obtaining it a week ago from linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden and head coach Bill O'Brien. Limited space remains in the class, and line coach Larry Johnson made clear to White and his parents that two defensive tackles will be taken in this cycle. With four — Virginia standouts Ricky Walker and Derrick Nnadi, plus New York four-star Thomas Holley — still on State's wish list, White said he never felt pressured to make a decision before leaving Saturday, or anytime in the near future, for that matter.
It was stressed, though, that the first two defensive tackles to offer their verbal pledge will get the spots, and that will be it for the position in 2014. White added that Johnson said the program would take a commit from any of the four at anytime.
Speaking of talking, afterward, White is still as thrilled that he took the visit as he was excited before he arrived. The trip, he said, exceeded his expectations.
"I'd definitely say the academic support team, and talking about academics and the major which I want to go into, which is criminal justice, stood out," White said. "I got to talk a lot to Coach J [Johnson] and Coach O'Brien, and was shown a lot more than what I saw when I was up for Junior Day. I got to sit down and talk to Coach J for about an hour and Coach O'Brien for a good amount of time, too.
"They told me what they have to offer me, where they are in the process and that they are impressed with me."
The dialogue didn't focus strictly on football, which was one of the biggest draws to it, White said. Instead, he and Johnson conversed about their family and more personal matters, while mixing in football and film study during the visit.
In that vein, Johnson told White that he wants to coach him not just from a football aspect, but to "also mold me into a better person, and keep my academics going, too."
"He showed me film of him coaching the players, and I definitely saw how he interacts with his players," White said. "Different players respond differently to things, and you could tell he definitely knew his players. We talked about the interior guys, and how much they use their hands.
"He does not use profanity — and hasn't in the 17 or 18 years he's been there — and we spoke on a genuine level. It was a different type of feel, and a much more personal conversation.
White toured Beaver Stadium with Vanderlinden, and called him, "A man I completely trust and has all my respect now." He was happy to have his parent on the trip because there was so much to take in.
"When I go on visits, I'm more so paying attention to my specific coach, the stadium and what the academic advisors are saying," White said. "My parents pick up on the chemistry between the coaching staff, and [the coaches] seem like a friendly coaching staff. My parents also look at what the coaching staff's approach is, and the same for the strength and conditioning coach, too."
"It was a very impressive visit, and my expectation were definitely exceeded. That's not to say they weren't high going in, because I expected to have a good visit, and I did."
The tackle described his timeline as floating, though stationary dates are set for visits to Michigan State (Aug. 10), and North Carolina and Duke (July 13). He intends to make all of those trips before he commits anywhere, he said.
But he's also fully aware of State's situation after having it outlined in detail. It's possible that a defensive tackle commitment to the Lions could change his timeline, but he'll cross that bridge when he gets to it.
"I'm going to do it when I'm comfortable enough to pull the trigger. I will want to be able to close my recruiting process when I commit," White said. "I want to be one of those players that, even if they get an offer after the first few games, can say, ‘Thank you, but I'm already committed here.' "