The son of a Penn State football letterman, Pittsburgh Central Catholic four-star offensive lineman C.J. Thorpe has made the trip to Happy Valley more times than he can count.
But this weekend’s visit was special for the standout who holds offers from elite schools in the Big Ten, SEC and ACC.
"When I was growing up, I was always at Penn State with my father,” Thorpe said. “That played a role in my recruitment, because I wanted to follow my father’s footsteps at PSU.
“During this week, I knew Saturday I was going to commit to PSU,” he added.
And so the 6-foot-3, 320-pounder did, telling James Franklin and his staff about the commitment before Saturday’s Blue-White Game. Thorpe’s family, including father Chris (C.J. is for Chris Jr.), was also on hand. (Check out Chris Thorpe's 1988 Penn State media guide entry at the bottom of this page.)
But the younger Thorpe said there was more to his commitment than just the family ties.
"I love the atmosphere up there,” he explained. “I'm at Penn State all the time, so I feel comfortable there. Coach (Joe) Moorhead is a friend, so that was a huge plus during my recruitment. I love everything at Penn State."
Penn State’s two newest offensive coaches — coordinator Moorhead and line coach Matt Limegrover — are also Central Catholic grads.
So what was the Nittany Lion staff’s reaction to his commitment?
"They were really excited,” Thorpe said. “I knew the staff wanted me from the beginning, and I couldn't say no to my dream school. … It was great. I love it up there and they always show me a lot of love while I'm there."
Thorpe was also glad that a three-star offensive lineman from New Jersey committed on the same day.
“Having Rob Martin join me at PSU made me really excited for having another big time dude hopping on board,” he said.
Thorpe can now focus on his senior season at Central Catholic. He said there is no chance of him enrolling early at PSU since his high school does not allow students to graduate early.