Marquell Harrell has always had family in Pennsylvania. Yet, he had never visited its largest college, and didn't really know much about it.
That changed Thursday when, at the urging of his sister Aerielle, the Fairburn, Ga., Creekside three-star guard and Auburn verbal commitment made the drive from Philadelphia to State College to check out the Penn State.
"I enjoyed myself," Harrell said. "Me and my family — my grandpa, my uncle and my cousin — had a great time going up there and seeing what they have to offer."
Aerielle will attend Bloomsburg this fall. Though she and Marquell have always lived in separate states, they have kept a close bond.
The lineman visits the Keystone State frequently because of it, and since Penn State offered him in the spring, Harrell said it made sense see what the Lions had to offer.
So what did he find?
Harrell was unaware University Park was not too far of a drive from Bloomsburg, and he said the idea of going to school near his sister is enticing. He also discovered more about offensive line coach Herb Hand, and how Hand views the 6-foot-3, 310-pounder.
"He was just telling me about himself and the staff," Harrell said. "He cares more about the players than winning, which is very important because you want to go somewhere you feel like you're loved."
Harrell said Hand described him as a versatile prospect.
"He said I have a chance to play all five positions on the offensive line," Harrell said. "I don't have the ideal tackle height. But he said my arms and legs, and size of my hands, means I could play guard, tackle or center."
The group also stopped by the Creamery, which Harrell said was a unique treat that he had to see once he heard about its famous ice cream. A stop at Beaver Stadium, which Harrell called "one of the biggest stadiums I've ever been in," and a tour of the Lasch Building were also notable moments from the trip.
Harrell remains firmly committed to Auburn, but he didn't rule out a return trip to Penn State, either. The 16-offer junior said he will visit wherever his teammates do this summer, and could make a few other stops, as well.
"It was just something different," he said of Penn State. "The surrounding area of Penn State is amazing because of the mountains.
"I think I might go up there for winter break again when I spend some time in Philadelphia."