Gallman Enjoys Expedition to Penn State

North Carolina 2017 WR with previous ties to the Nittany Lions gives the lowdown on Junior Day.

The Ford Expedition pulled out of the Charlotte area early Friday morning and headed north. Two and a half days and more than 1,000 miles later, the round trip was complete.

Class of 2017 receiver Eric Gallman II called his first full-blown recruiting visit to Penn State “amazing,” even if driving 8.5 hours each way left him a bit tired.

“My legs are fatigued,” he said early Sunday evening. “So when I got back, we went for a 30-minute run.”

“We” meant Gallman and his dad, also named Eric (and a former Nittany Lion running back and receiver). Also on the trip (though not the run) were the younger Gallman's teammates at SouthLake Christian Academy, 2017 DB Aapri Washington, and 2016 DT Christian Colon of Independence High in Charlotte.

“It was amazing,” Gallman said. “The campus is beautiful. They are renovating the weight room, which is already very nice. The field (at Beaver Stadium) is awesome. It's a huge stadium. Then getting to talk to the coaches and knowing them, and getting their feedback on film, it was all great.”

Though only headed into his junior year of high school, Gallman intends to major in business and finance in college. So the start of Saturday's Junior Day -- just after a meal that was served upon arrival -- was of particular interest to him.

“You got on a bus, and they gave you a tour of all the different parts of campus,” he said. “Then they took us to the business building and told us how their graduates get the best jobs and get jobs right away. They talked about how they do practice interviews with you, so you'll be ready when you graduate.”

Then came tours of student dining halls and the library. All of this before diving into the football end of things.

“That really impressed me, because it showed they care about you as a student first,” he said. “They showed us education comes first.”

When the focus was turned to football, the visitors got a tour of Lasch Building, and were told of a $1 million nutrition bar being added to the facility. They also checked out Holuba Hall and got a look at PSU's outdoor practice fields.

To Gallman, the most memorable part of the trip was a visit to Beaver Stadium. This was actually his second time in the hulking facility. He and his dad were there for the Nittany Lions' thrilling four-overtime win against Michigan in 2013, but as fans.

“The Whiteout was jumping,” Gallman said, recalling the game.

This visit was different, but jumping in its own way.

“My favorite part (of the visit) was when we came out of the tunnel like actual players,” he said. “You can almost feel it, those 107,000 yelling and you're getting ready.”

Gallman is early in the recruiting process. He holds one offer, from Akron, but schools like PSU, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest are all showing interest. At the Lions' Junior Day, Gallman had a chance to talk to receivers coach Josh Gattis, and appreciated that he was a straight shooter.

Gattis said he liked Gallman's film, but wants to see him in person before deciding whether to offer. To that end, Gallman may attend the camp Penn State his holding in conjunction with Old Dominion in Norfolk, Va., June 18.

“Coach Gattis, he's a cool dude,” Gallman said. “He tells you the truth, and that's what you want. He's the kind of coach I'd like to be coached by because he knows his schemes. He was cutting up game film and telling us when (the PSU receivers) did good and when they did bad. He knows the game, and he's a likable person.”

Gallman said he checks in at 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds, and has been timed at 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash. College coaches have told him not to worry about getting any heavier, just to work on becoming stronger and faster.

“You always want to improve all areas of your game,” he said. “But I want to focus on improving my speed and my route-running. You can never run too many routes or catch too many passes.”

To build strength, he does pushups and lifts weights.

On the recruiting front, he'd like to check out Vandy and Wake in the not too distant future. Though they are considerably closer, Gallman said distance will not be a factor when it comes down to picking a college.

“To me, that doesn't matter,” Gallman said. “I'm just looking for the best fit for me and the best educational opportunity. My family said they'll travel to see me play.”


COLD, HARD FACTS

Temperatures dipped down into the single digits in State College Friday and Saturday. It was an eye-opener for some of the traveling party from the Charlotte area.

But not Gallman.

“It doesn't get nearly as cold (in Charlotte) as it does up there,” he said. “It was cold. But my grandparents live in Erie, so I'm used to it.

“For Aapri and Chris, though, they were cold,” he added with a laugh.


FEELING GOOD

Colon came away from the visit with a Penn State offer. Gallman said all three of the Carolina visitors were charged up about that.

“It was cool,” Gallman said. “He was excited. We all were excited. That's a big-time offer and he's a big-time player.”


HELLO OLD FRIEND

On the Junior Day visit, the Gallman's had a chance to meet with Wally Richardson, the former Nittany Lion quarterback and current director of the Football Letterman's Club. Richardson (shown above) and the elder Gallman are both South Carolina natives and were roommates at Penn State (along with fellow South Carolinian Bobby Engram).

“They're still good friends to this day,” the younger Gallman said. He added that his dad enjoyed the trip as much as he did.

“It just brings back good memories for him,” he said. “A lot has changed since he's been there. He was telling me it's not the same place now, but it is still a great place.”


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