Before he visited University Park Saturday, Barnegat, N.J. linebacker Manny Bowen had said he wanted a Penn State offer. It's a feeling he's had since a visit to Beaver Stadium last fall for the Lions' win over Purdue.
That feeling is gone now, as by the time he left this visit, he had an offer in hand following a chat with Penn State head coach James Franklin. It's the 21st offer for the 6-foot-2, 206 pound three-star prospect.
"It was a great day," Bowen said. "I got to see a little bit of spring practice, and I was impressed with that," Bowen said. "I was able to watch everything happen on the field and not just hear about it. I saw the coaches coach and the players play.
"They offered me right before we went over to the stadium to get a view of that. We sat down in Coach Franklin's office, me and my family, and we discussed some interest about Penn State. Then, he offered me."
Bowen shadowed Penn State linebacker coach Brent Pry throughout the day, which included lunch, a tour of campus, and glimpse of practice. The junior said he and Pry connected in a way that he's never experienced before.
The same can be said for Franklin, the junior said, calling it the thing he will never forget about the trip.
"Coach Franklin was telling me Penn State is the place to be and a great place for a player to come," Bowen said. "Everything he said, I believe. It was my first day meeting these coaches, and we developed something you usually don't on the first day."
Trust was one of the things he said he left with, along with a sense of belonging.
"They were straight up to me," Bowen said. "They didn't show me anything but love, and it was a great time."
As one of nearly 70 recruits scattered around Penn State's cavernous Holuba Hall for State's eight spring practice, Bowen saw inside and out what life would be like should he choose to come to attend Penn State.
He pointed to the Lions' "up tempo, upbeat" way of conducting practice, adding he noticed that matters that were serious were taken seriously, but the lighter side was ever present, too.
"Everyone is always running from one drill to the other. It's so fast paced," Bowen said. "Even though what they are doing is very serious, they find time to have fun but get the job done.
"That's what makes them a great football team. They love what they are doing."
Penn State is not the only program Bowen will visit this fall, but the linebacker said it's also a trip he won't forget. He followed that by placing Penn State within his top three, noting the trip is one he will remember no matter where he goes next.
"They're right up there with any other school because of the way they want to utilize me as a player," Bowen said. "But it's not just from a player stand point, but academically, too. I believe in everything that they're doing and their philosophy.
"I'm never going to forget way the coaches connected with me. I felt like I could connect with the coaches so much, and be who I am around those coaches. They accept me for who I am and made me feel at home."