Penn State’s dominance in Pennsylvania is on full display again as Andrew Pryts, the No. 1 safety in the East and the No. 7 safety prospect in the nation, announced his commitment to the Nittany Lions Saturday night.
"I thought a lot about it and a lot of things went into the decision,” Pryts said. "At the end, it just felt like home to me. I felt like I fit perfectly with the coaches, and I fit in perfectly with the players, and I fit in academically with what I wanted. It was a prefect fit.”
Pryts, who hails from Hickory High in Hermitage, chose the Nittany Lions over Ohio State, Notre Dame, UCLA and Stanford. It also means his father, Ed, gets to return to the historic grounds on which he played to watch his son compete.
Ed Pryts played for legendary coach Joe Paterno, but did not pressure his son to follow in his footsteps. Instead, Andrew took his time and made plenty of visits before coming to a decision.
A big reason for his choice was James Franklin's staff. PSU defensive coordinator/safeties coach Bob Shoop played a major role in Pryts' recruitment.
"I really like the coaching staff,” he said. "I have the best relationship with Coach Shoop. Him being my position coach and the defensive coordinator helps. I feel like he knows so much and can really help me become a better player and person.”
The final piece in the recruitment came a few weeks ago when Pryts made a secret visit to Penn State’s campus to get one more look at a program he already knew well.
"I wanted to do what was best for me, and I was looking for a place that was the best for me and I found it at Penn State,” he said of that visit. "I feel I fit in.”
Ed Pryts, who lettered as a linebacker at PSU from 1979-81, was happy to hear the news. But Andrew insisted his dad's Lion history had not impact his decision.
"It honestly had none at all,” he said. "My dad was supportive through the whole process. He took me to all of the other schools I wanted to see. He never really had an influence."
Also thrilled to hear the news were Franklin and Shoop.
"They were just really excited with (landing) another in-state kid,” Pryts said. "I’m ready to go there."
Though a lot of thought went into the process, Pryts explained that the ultimate decision did not come entirely from his brain.
"I think it is one of the things (that is) more in the heart,” he said. "It’s a gut feeling you have. They have everything I’m looking for, and what did it for me was it always felt like home."