Walker Ashley Talks About His Penn State Visit

<P>Walker Ashley, the son of Walker Lee Ashley, who spent seven years with the Minnesota Vikings after helping Penn State win its first national championship in 1982, took an official visit to University Park this past weekend. Walker talks about the visit and discusses his current favorites.

The younger Ashley, who made the trip to Penn State by himself, rated the visit an eight on a scale from one to 10.

“Overall, I thought it went pretty well,” Ashley said. “I had a pretty good time. The highlight of the trip was probably at the basketball game when all of the student section was chanting my name.”

Part of his visit included checking out the Penn State hoop team’s game against Michigan at the Jordan Center Saturday. Walker was among a group of football recruits who arrived at halftime and received a loud round of applause from the PSU student section.

Meanwhile, Tamba Hali, a junior defensive end, was Walker’s host.

“I loved the players,” Ashley said. “I was around Elijah Robinson and [Lavon] Chisley and Tamba a lot. I just talked with those guys and hung out with them. We hit it off real well. I also liked having a few sit-down one-on-ones with Joe Paterno. That was great because that’s the man that coached my father. He told me some pretty neat stories. Hanging out with Coach [Larry] Johnson was great too.”

Prior to the visit, Ashley, who would prefer to play defensive end over defensive tackle in college, was under the impression that Penn State was recruiting him to play defensive tackle. That, however, proved not to be the case.

“When I first got there, they had me at the defensive end, and [Johnson is] like, ‘You need to come here man, three defensive ends are graduating.’ I was thinking in my head that I’m a defensive tackle. But then the next day, when I’m out with Coach Johnson, he put me into the equation and showed me how I fit in as a defensive end, coming in and filling in for those three guys. So that was a pretty big surprise.”

Despite having a good weekend, Ashley acknowledged that he would probably rank the visit behind his official visits to USC and Ohio State.

“USC, it’s California. How could you not like that visit?” he said. “I pretty much just liked being in California for the USC visit. When I was out at Ohio State, they were the first to offer me and I really enjoyed the coaches there. I met Doug Worthington there and we’ve become pretty good friends, so that’s why I’d say I liked those two visits.”

The Trojans are Ashley’s current favorite.

“I’d have to say USC has a little bit of a lead over Penn State and Ohio State, and Penn State and Ohio State are probably tied,” he said. “[USC’s lead] is nothing that can’t be overtaken. I really love USC, but I just have to figure out the best place for me and that might not necessarily be the best place. I just really like it out there. It’s nothing that can’t be overtaken. It’s just a little lead.”

Penn State coach Joe Paterno will visit Ashley tomorrow. USC’s Pete Carroll visits on Wednesday and Ohio State’s Jim Tressel visits on Thursday. Walker does not plan to make his final decision public until signing day, which is Feb. 2.

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