|40 Speed:||4.89 seconds|
|Hometown/School:||Cincinnati, Oh. (Moeller HS)|
With Penn State now practicing for almost a week and the season nearly around the corner, Nittany Lion fans should not forget about Penn State's recruiting effort. Just this weekend, the Nittany Lions had an unofficial visit from Cincinnati (Moeller HS) offensive lineman Matthew Tennant -- one of only five lineman offered by Penn State.
An unfamiliar name until recently, Tennant just received his offer from Penn State while preparing for his upcoming senior season.
"They just [offered] when I was up at camp this week for Moeller (HS) up at John Carroll (College), my dad brought it up to me mid-week and told me my decision's about to get twenty times as hard," explained Matt. "I had not thought that Penn State was going to enter the mix but they had. They sent it in writing. On the bottom, Coach Paterno said we hope you have an interest."
"So, we were up in Cleveland -- it's not that far and my coach said it would be fine if I went -- so I went up and I talked with Coach Paterno and Coach Kenney. I talked to them about Penn State football, I guess," said Matt, who visited Penn State with his family. "I was really surprised with Coach Paterno. People say he's done, but from what it looks like, he's still got plenty of spunk left in him."
While on his visit to Penn State, Matthew had the opportunity to visit practice, hang out with some of the Nittany Lion players, eat at the training table, chat with Dick Anderson and Jay Paterno, and go to breakfast with Coach Kenney.
This weekend's visit to Penn State was not Matt's first time in Happy Valley.
"I'd gone up my sophomore year and took a tour, but hadn't talked to any of the coaches or anything. And then I'd gone up in July and got a little tour of the facilities with Coach Kenney, but I had no offer at that point," said Matt, who re-iterated the Nittany Lions offer was a pleasant surprise. "I was kind of surprised because I left that second visit thinking I love it here, it's really great. If I had an offer right now, I just might commit. But it came a couple weeks late and I sort of thought that maybe they don't like me, so I started to focus of Boston College and Purdue."
But the Nittany Lion offer certainly threw a wrench into Matt's list and talking to Penn State's potential All-American guard, Tyler Reed, only added to that uncertainty.
"I talked with the players and they were telling me that on game days, how they are up at their hotel and it's less than a mile from the stadium. They could take a short route to get to the stadium, but they don't, they take the long route through the town and it goes crazy and people are jumping and shaking the buses. It seems like a very nice atmosphere. It's not as far as Boston College, it's closer to home. It's a good school, there is a lot of stuff to do up there like golf and go fishing."
Penn State, Boston College, and Purdue are all looking at Tennant at either offensive tackle or guard. Besides his three leaders, he also holds offers from Indiana, Minnesota, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Louisville, Kentucky, and Akron.
Matt admitted that the Nittany Lions were probably only going to sign two offensive lineman with this class. Have any of the schools begun to put any pressure on him to commit to their program yet?
"I think Purdue really wants me to commit soon. They were the first to offer me, so I'd think they'd like me to commit soon. I think Boston College and Penn State said take your time. They understand it's a hard decision," said Matt, who was not ready to name a leader yet.
Earlier this summer, Matt attended camp at Ohio State. Despite not having an offer from the Buckeyes, where do they stand with him?
"They may enter the mix, they may not. I may be decided before they do. If I commit to a college, I plan to commit and not back out. If Ohio State wanted me, they should have come after me sooner," admitted Matt, who still receives mail from the Buckeye coaches.
At the camp, Matt checked in at 6'5'', 260 lbs and ran a 4.89 forty yard dash. His agility, speed, and frame seem to be the reason that Matt's stock has gone up in recent weeks. What do schools tell Tennant they like about his game?
"I guess my aggressiveness and the way I come off the ball. I used to play d-line and I still do for Moeller in third down and rushing situations because I'm quick off the ball. I get downfield. Anybody I see that needs to be blocked, I'll block. Even if he's 50 yards away or 10 yards away."
"I plan to play at a little less than 300 pounds, maybe 300 pounds. I just want to make sure I keep my speed. My mom asks each school because they don't want me to be huge and they say I'm probably going to put on thirty or forty pounds of like pure muscle. I think that's why Ohio State didn't like me too much because I'm a really light offensive lineman."
In addition to his recent trip to Penn State and his camping experience at Ohio State, Matt has also seen both Purdue and Boston College and has ties to both schools.
"I went up to Boston College two weeks ago and loved Boston, loved the town -- it's a great town. There are a couple of GCL (Greater Cleveland League) players that I would know because I played against them sophomore year. I've also gone up to Purdue, quite a few times. I've got a player from Moeller going up there, Zack Smith, and my grandparents only live a little bit away from there."
Does he have any visits planned to get one last look at the schools that have offered or any other school?
"Nope, I hope to be able to make my decision soon enough, unless someone else enters my mix," laughed Matt. "I thought I had my decision down but then Penn State entered it. I've got my season coming up and I'd like to focus in on that. As soon as I can make a decision, I'd be happy to that."
Matt admitted that his decision could come any time in the next couple weeks or even days.
"I'll probably wake up in the morning and say this is the right school for me."
(Interview by Steve Curry)