Penn State Exercising Interest in Pilato

Greensburg, Pa., Hempfield junior tackle has been hearing from the Nittany Lions' new staff. Find out how his latest visit to University Park went.

When Penn State hired Terry Smith away from Temple, he was assigned the role of cornerbacks coach and defensive recruiting coordinator.

He was also assigned to recruit the WPIAL.

Western Pennsylvania's premier football conference has been good to the Lions in some years and not so much in others. With Smith aboard, the idea is to make the good years outnumber the bad.

The first-year assistant has already begun hitting his old stomping grounds (he used to coach at Gateway) and one prospect he is keeping an eye on is Greensburg, Pa., Hempfield junior tackle Tony Pilato.

"It's definitely been getting better," Pilato said of his contact with the Lions. "They are doing some good things to move that program where it should be. They are making good steps."

Six programs have already offered the 6-foot-7, 295-pounder. He picked up the two most recent from Syracuse and Maryland earlier this week.

Penn State has not offered, but that didn't stop Pilato from visiting Happy Valley twice this spring. His most recent stop was for last Saturday's Blue-White Game.

"I've talked to [offensive line] Coach [Herb] Hand a few times now," Pilato said. "I now see what he's like as a coach."

The junior said he's gotten to know Hand, and think his positive qualities extend to the rest of the staff.

"I think there's a bunch of good guys on their staff," Pilato said. "They have a good recruiting class so far. It's top five, so they are doing some good things."

Pilato spoke to Hand and PSU defensive coordinator Bob Shoop Saturday before taking his seat in the Beaver Stadium stands for the spring finale. He said he only briefly chatted with each, but intends to see and hear more this summer at a Nittany Lion camp.

The trip will be one of a few stops the tackle makes. He also plans to see Virginia, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Old Dominion, among others, once school is out for the year.

"I camped there last year, but they have a whole new staff now and do things differently," Pilato said. "I want to see the facilities, and talk to the coaches and all that when I come back."

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