DL Almost Ready to Narrow It Down

Athol Springs, Ny. (St. Francis HS) defensive end Doug Worthington had a tremendous junior year. The potential Insiders.com Hot 100 selection hopes to take a number of visits this summer. Which schools are on his list to check out? Do the Nittany Lions still factor in to his decision?

In recent years under the tutelage of Larry Johnson, Penn State has put some tremendous defensive lineman (Courtney Brown, Michael Haynes, Jimmy Kennedy, and Anthony Adams) into the pros. One player the Nittany Lions would love to get their hands is Athol Springs, Ny. defensive end Doug Worthington.

At 6'7'', 258lbs, Worthington uses his long wing span and 4.78 forty speed to upset an offensive's passing game and rushing game (to see exclusive Insiders.com video of Doug, click here).

Last season for St. Francis, Doug registered 72 tackles, 7 sacks, and 12 quarterback pressures, despite the opposing offense going away from his side of the field. Doug's play on the field and his physical measurable have college coaches drooling, including the 17 that have already sent him scholarship offers-- Syracuse, Buffalo, Penn State, Boston College, Pittsburgh, Maryland, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Central Florida, LSU, Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and UConn.

With some very prominent schools on that list, has Doug narrowed it down to a workable group of favorites?

"I like them all. I like the southern schools because I want to get away from home and I like the hot weather. But the hot weather can be a downside because in the summer during two-a-days will be killer. I like the upstate schools because my father could come to all of my games.

"Ohio State is a great place. I like them. They'd probably be in my top three, so is Penn State. Tennessee and Alabama are right there too. Virginia Tech is a great program."

Are there any other schools he would entertain an offer from that he does not have now?

"I like Michigan a little bit, but I think I've got everything I need. I'm just trying to narrow them down a little bit," Doug conceded.

Doug has previously been to Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Penn State and this summer he definitely plans on checking out both North Carolina and Boston College for one day camps, while he hopes to see Michigan, Alabama, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech.

"I'm going to the one day camps. I want to visit and maybe work out a little bit, run a forty because I know people don't believe it. As far as everything, I want to see the campus, talk to some of the teachers, and get a feel for the coaches and some of the players. Boston College is a good school--they're in my top ten schools right now. Visiting them is going to give me a good idea about whether I want to keep them or tell them that I'm not interested," explained Doug, who will be visiting with his teammate Chris Smith, who is getting mostly looks from Ivy League schools.

"Another process [in elimation of schools] is how many people they recruited. Virginia, I like the school because I've heard it's one of the best campuses in the country, but I see they have five defensive lineman already recruited and that's a lot. Wherever I go there's going to be competition, but five in my class is a lot."

Penn State really caught Doug's attention last summer during the Nittany Lions summer camp.

"I was there last year for a camp. It was the best camp I went to. Syracuse was good, but Penn State was so unbelievable," explained Doug.

"At Penn State I ran a 4.9 and 4.8 but I had ankle braces on because my ankle was messed up. I didn't think I was too impressive. I was kind of hurt and down at the camp, but I talked to Coach (Fran) Ganter during the camp. He took me around and let me see the stadium. I went on the field. He's like a real nice guy. He knew my coach from St. Francis and talked to me for about a half-hour. He got all of my paperwork in and from there I got recruited by Penn State."

"It's a great program. By Coach Ganter talking to my coach about me and knowing that I'm a good kid, it influenced him wanting me and I guess that's why they were my second scholarship.  The only downside about the camp is that I didn't get to see Coach Paterno, but I know he's a busy man."

What types of activities traditionally take place at the school that practically invented the summer camp process back in the early 90's?

"The days were fun, the kids were fun, and we had a lot to do. We always had a good drill, a new drill to do. I learned a lot from that camp. I really didn't interact with Coach (Larry) Johnson too much, but he used to say 'Hi big guy' here and there and give me a little smile or a wink here and there," explained Doug.  "He seemed like he could be a good role model and a good father figure, plus his son (Larry Johnson, Jr.) came down and introduced himself. Everybody knew him. Anyone who knows Penn State football knows his son. He was telling us about the program and how he came in and the coaching staff worked on him and he got so good."

"Plus they had a nice little ending where they make a video tape, I was on it and others were on it and they showed us doing drills. It seemed like a nice hometown and a nice place. College Park is just the college, so it seemed like a place where I could grow."

Despite a great experience last season, Doug has no plans of heading down to University Park to attend the camp again.  Will he still be able to get there for an unofficial or official visit, before he makes his decision?

"I'm definitely visiting. Coach McQueary, their recruiting guy, I email him once in a while and he emails me back right away. I'm definitely going down there for an unofficial visit. They will be on the top of my next [top] five list and I'll probably take an official visit down to Penn State and see how it's going," Doug stated.  "In the summer I'm going to take a nice little visit down there for a couple days, meet some of the coaching staff, let them that I'm very interested in them, and meet Coach JoePa, tell him how much I thank him for some of the letters that he wrote me and all the other coaches. See the campus again and some of the facilities, because I didn't get a chance to see all of the weight rooms and things like that. Talk to some of the players and ask them one on one, how is the school or how are you doing in class, just to get a feel not from the coaches, but from the players who are actually doing it.

An earlier article on Worthington made mention that his mother favored Penn State because of its very strong academic reputation.  Does she still have the Nittany Lions number one on her list?

"My mom likes any school, but Penn State is kind of close and with the tradition and graduation rate--she's very high on graduation rate--so that's why she liked it as one of her top [schools], really like the number one on her list."

For the Nittany Lion coaches and faithful, the hope is that Doug certainly puts the Nittany Lions at number one on his list come February of 2005.

(Interview by Steve Curry)

Fight On State Top Stories