PSU After NC Running Back

T.A. McLendon is a big back with tremendous speed and natural ability. Penn State is hoping to lure the talented athlete to Happy Valley.

Name: Tristan Akeen "T.A." McLendon
Position: RB / FS (seldom plays FS)
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 219 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.35, 4.38
School: Albemarle High School, Albemarle, NC

Tristan is having another terrific season this year for Division 1A Albemarle.  He was held out of 1 game with a sore shoulder, but has still managed to put up incredible numbers.

"I think I have about 1600 yards," Tristan said.  "I only need a few more to break the state rushing record.  I also have around 37 touchdowns."

Tristan recently broke the national touchdown record by scoring his 142nd touchdown.  After scoring the record-breaking TD, 142 fireworks were set off.  He now has 145 touchdowns, more than any other high school player in history.  He scored 33 touchdowns as a freshman, 30 as a sophomore, 44 last season and 38 already this year.  He also has 2 receiving touchdowns this season.

"We're doing well, we're 9-0 right now, and ranked number 1 in the state in the polls.  We have a good team.  Just because we are 1A, a lot of people don't give us any kind of respect.  We have [played higher division teams], we beat 'em all."

Tristan has also played defense on occasion.

"I play safety.  I don't really get to play it too much.  They don't want me to get hurt.  They just put out there when they want me to intercept a ball or make a big play.  I may not even get to play FS in a game."

Tristan does not concern himself at this time with how many offers he has.

"I probably do [have offers], but they don't tell me.  They probably tell my coach.  I really don't know the colleges that have offered though.  My coach just tells me that there are colleges that want to offer you a full scholarship.  He really doesn't want me to think about it.  I really try not to think about it.  I try to do my schoolwork first and football second.  He told me a lot have [offered], but he never mentions the teams.  He doesn't want me to know right now, he just wants me to get my schoolwork right, so I can focus on that later.  I really tell him not to tell me too much about it because I don't want to get caught up in the hype."

Tristan, however,  has talked to many college coaches.

"I talk to them all the time.  They tell me [they want me], but they just want me to focus on my schoolwork right now."

Tristan is taking his time with the recruiting process, and will most likely take some official visits before deciding.

"I'll probably take official visits to some schools and see what the environment is like.  I want my mother to feel comfortable, and if she feels comfortable and I feel comfortable, I think that's where I'll go."

Although Tristan stated that he does not really have any favorites, NC State and Florida are 2 teams he mentioned liking.  NC State seems to be the early favorite.

"I took my mother to NC State and she absolutely loved it.  She wants me to go to that school so bad, but I told her 'let's see some other schools first' and she said 'OK, but right now, that's the team I want you to play for'.  She loves the coaching staff, I love the coaching staff.  They're real cool.  They're one of my favorite schools that I really wanted to go see.  They love me.  I think they're going to offer me a full scholarship if I decide to go there.

"I still like Florida.  Florida State has a lot of players, they have a lot of athletes.  If I was to go there, I'd probably be benched.  I don't really want to get benched, I want to play.  It would hurt me to see other people play when I know I can play."

He also visited North Carolina unofficially but did not have nearly as good an experience as he did at NC State.

Penn State has been recruiting Tristan as well.

"I got a couple of letters, but they haven't called me on the phone or anything.  They haven't called my house or anything.  They just sent a whole bunch of letters talking about the school and the tradition."

It seems as though location will be a determining factor in Tristan's decision-making process.

"I really want to be close to home.  I don't want to be too far away from my family where I can't come home and visit on the weekend or something like that.  I want to be able to drive home at least, a reasonable drive."

According to Albemarle head coach, Jack Gaster, some schools have already offered Tristan, while others are waiting for him to qualify before officially offering him a scholarship.  PSU is one of the schools very interested in Tristan.  They have offered T.A. a scholarship according to Coach Gaster.

"Yes sir, they have.  They're very interested in him.  They've talked to me on 2 occasions."

His coach did mention a few teams that Tristan could be favoring at this time.

"NC State, Tennessee, Florida State and Alabama are the ones he's talked to me about.  He would like to stay closer to home.  Michigan has talked to him and he's very interested in Michigan, but again, that's a good ways away.  He would probably play better in a colder climate because he really perspires a lot.  Early in the season, the heat bothers him some.  He certainly would do better, I think, in a colder type climate.  Cold weather does not bother him at all.  He gets real excited when it starts to chill down a little bit."

Penn State, fortunately for the Nittany Lions, is not out of the running yet.

"I wouldn't say anyone is completely out of the picture.  We're already reducing the number of teams down.  We have it under 10."

PSU is among the remaining teams.

Tristan recently took the SAT for the second time and feels he did well.  According to his coach, he has really worked hard the last 2 years and turned his academic situation around.

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