Brandon Ford has been a busy man this summer.
"I just always felt Penn State was a great place," Ford said.
He has a way of backing that claim up, too. Though he now resides in Pittsburgh, Ford is native to State College.
It means his trip to University Park for camp was not his first time experiencing the Nittany Lion football program. It was, however, his first time on campus with first-year head coach James Franklin in charge.
"They have great tradition," Ford said. "I learned a lot. It was probably one of the camps I learned the most at because [offensive line] Coach [Herb] Hand taught me a trick of presenting a false step.
"I liked him a lot, and thought he was a great coach.
After the busy day of drilling, Ford and his family toured the program's facilities and chatted more in-depth with Franklin.
”He said they were impressed and that they are going to continue to be in contact with me and recruit me," Ford said.
The Lion leader didn't mention anything about an offer, but Ford said that was OK. He has more immediate goals in mind.
"My biggest focus right now is getting my team ready and getting ready to try and win championships," Ford said. "My team always comes first."
When the high school season starts, he'll be competing not far down the road from Pitt. The Panthers director of player development, Bob Junko, has been in touch with Ford's head coach.
"I went down and they came to visit my school [in the spring]," Ford said. "With Pitt being so close, I developed a relationship with them.
"I toured the facility and really enjoyed it. Pittsburgh is a great school, and I feel like they’re building a great program.
The three other Big Ten programs showing interest along with Penn State -- Northwestern, Michigan State and Ohio State -- all have a connection to the Upper St. Clair program or the lineman.
For the Spartans, it's line coach Mark Staten who knows Ford's head coach. At Northwestern, former Upper St. Clair lineman Ian Park now dots the Wildcats’ roster. And Ford's cousin attends Ohio State.
"I had camped [at Ohio State] last summer going into my sophomore year to get better, and it was another one of those schools that has a great football tradition of winning games."
Ford camped in East Lansing on Staten's invite, and reported a positive experience.
"They came down to our school [in the spring] and liked me, so I figured I might as well get out there and see some schools because before I know it, it will be decision time," Ford said. "I really enjoyed it, and I loved Coach Staten.
"I loved East Lansing, and I'm going to be in contact with Coach Staten quite a bit."
At Northwestern, it's the mix of academics and football that has caught Ford's eye early.
"They came into visit as well, and are a fantastic academic institution," Ford said. "Obviously, to me, academics are more important than football because there will be life after football.
"They are a great academic school, and if they're going to look at me, I'll be interested.