|School:||C.D. Hylton HS, Woodbridge, VA|
LionNews last talked to Deon Butler in mid-December and learned of his planned visit to Penn State. Deon is a good student (3.0 GPA and 1070 SATs) who came on very strong during his senior year to catch the attention of college coaches. On Sunday night we checked back in with Deon, who is a very articulate young man, to see how he and his parents enjoyed this weekend's trip to Penn State and what he had learned during the visit. How did the visit go?
"It went well," said Deon. "We got there and they introduced me to my host, Anwar Phillips, who is from Maryland. He was kind of familiar with the area, so we got along well this weekend. I ended up staying with him. One kid that was from Jersey (Leo Ferrine), we stayed together pretty much because my host and his host were real good friends. So whenever we went out to the parties he was always with us. We bonded well."
Deon went on, "It was real fun. I met a lot of the other players like Michael Robinson who's from Richmond. He played at Varina so we had some stories to go back and forth when they played Hylton and they lost to Hylton in two state championships. We had fun. Then there's another kid (Terrell Golden) from Lake Taylor, which my cousin went to, so we had a lot of stories going back and forth. Then there was another kid (Tony Hunt) that I played AAU basketball against that I didn't even know played football. I remembered him and he remembered our team. I got to meet the other running back, Austin Scott, who I think was another freshman. Pretty big kid."
We asked Deon to rate the visit.
"I'll probably be a little biased because it's my first visit. I really enjoyed it. I'd give it a 9. The weather was different but I can easily get used to that. They made me feel at home a lot. I liked the kids a lot there and we bonded well while we were there. It was just a real nice experience."
Did his parents enjoy the visit?
"They got to go Paterno's house. Took pictures with them. They saw the stadium. They sold my parents well on Penn State and the academics. That's the first and foremost thing. We met with the academic advisor and she broke down my major (Criminal Law and Justice)."
We asked Butler about meeting with the coaching staff.
He told us, "I previously met with Coach Johnson because he's the one recruiting me. And Coach Norwood came to a basketball game before I left, so I met him. While I was there (at Penn State) I met with the corner's coach (Tom Bradley) and I met the head coach, Coach Paterno. I met pretty much the rest of the coaching staff, so it was a nice experience."
"I liked the way that Coach Johnson and Coach Norwood and even Coach Paterno seemed very honest guys. Nice and upfront. They were one of the later schools to come in to recruit me but one of the quickest to set up visits and have been the most consistent to the school. They've came to a couple of my games already. Real honest guys. That's what a lot of the players were saying. They also got recruited by those same guys. The whole coaching staff is real honest and they won't waste your time. They have a view of what they feel a Penn State football player should look like."
Deon told us that Penn State is primarily recruiting him as a cornerback but are also considering him as a wide receiver. What did the Penn State coaches say about offering him a scholarship?
"Coach Johnson pretty much said that they were going to offer but he said at the last second they were bringing in another recruit, a kid from Texas, another cornerback, so Coach Paterno wanted to wait until his visit, which is this weekend coming up. He wanted to wait until he came and then they would know if they were going to offer me or not. But he said the odds that the kid next week committed to them was rare because he was also a baseball player. Coach Johnson told me the good thing for me was that a lot of the other coaches had watched my tape and they liked what they saw, and Coach Paterno liked what he saw. While I was there he (Joe Paterno) did talk to me a lot about my tape and he remembered me. He said that they still wanted me. But Coach Johnson said he (Paterno) just wanted to wait until next week with this other cornerback."
Deon continued, "Then Coach Johnson said even if that were to fall through, they hadn't even started yet looking at the possibilities as a receiver. Right before I left he told me not to panic even if that kid did commit. There was the opposite side of things (offense) to go to. He had said today (Sunday) they were going to know if the cornerbacks coach was in there. The cornerback coach wasn't able to make the meetings because of family issues. So, when they had the meeting this morning to talk about who they were going to push or not to give scholarships, Coach Johnson said he (Bradley) wasn't there so they weren't able to wrap up the deal. Coach Johnson told my mom if that defensive backs coach would have been there, they probably pretty much would have wrapped up the deal today and made an offer. Coach Johnson kind of laid down a soft verbal offer but he had to wait until the kid next week. But it's really looking like I'm going to get the offer."
Butler elaborated still further, "He's still bringing Coach Paterno down next week. Coach Johnson said Coach Paterno comes to the schools to meet with the commitments. He's assured us that Coach Paterno is coming and Coach Paterno has acknowledged that he's coming." When will Coach Paterno visit? " It will be next week or the week after that. He wanted to come sometime this week but we have mid-terms. He told he will call me Tuesday and let me know. If he doesn't come this week coming up he will come the following week for sure."
Are any other visits planned?
"This Friday I'm leaving for Akron. They've already offered a scholarship. The week after that, the 31st, I have scheduled with William & Mary, which I'll hopefully stick to. Coaches from Wake Forest and Rutgers have called our school and wanted to set up visits. I wasn't too excited about bumping teams that had been with me from the beginning, even though those are bigger programs. But I told them I would talk to them this week coming up and we'll figure things out."