Troutman: PSU Early Leader

If everything plays out they way it seems it may, Penn State could be on its way to one of the best defensive line classes in years. Aaron Maybin, Tom McEowen, Abe Koroma, and Ollie Ogbu have already give their verbal commitments. And the Nittany Lions are in the lead for several other top linemen, including Johnnie Troutman.

Johnnie Troutman was in University Park over the weekend taking his first of five official visits. The other four schools are currently at the bottom looking up to the BCS bound Nittany Lions.

"I got up there at about 6:00 p.m. on Friday and we went out to dinner, then the women's basketball game,” Troutman said. "On Saturday, we had breakfast with the coaches and the other recruits. We also took a lot of tours around campus. Then we got to watch practice for about an hour and a half. It was intense: first-team offense against the first-team defense. We then went to eat lunch and then I met with some people from their business school and we talked about my major, which will probably be accounting.

The Pemberton, N.J., standout defensive end was impressed by the team unity he saw at Penn State.

"I was real comfortable around all the players; they're a tight-knit group there," he said. "Brett Brackett and Cedric Jeffries from Jersey were there, so I hung out with them a lot.”

Brackett, a quarterback, has already commited to Penn State. Of course, you would have to believe that any QB recruit will be a vocal leader and try to steer some recruits to his school, and Bracket didn't disappoint.

"Yeah, you could say he tried a little bit," laughed Troutman.

The highlight of Troutman's trip was not necessarily his own, but his parents' memory that he enjoyed the most.

"Definitely, the highlight was my parents talking to Coach [Larry] Johnson and (Joe) Paterno."

The recruits' parents spent a good deal of time at Paterno' house Saturday night, watching football and talking. In fact, in his BCS press conference Sunday, Paterno said he didn't quite catch all of the Virginia Tech-Florida State game -- the winner figured to face PSU in the Orange Bowl -- because “I was trying to keep one eye on the game and make sure I was paying attention to the recruits' folks.”

Penn State was Troutman's first visit and the Lions have assumed the leader role.

"I'd say my top two is Penn State and Ohio State right now, with Penn State being ahead, but I haven't visited Ohio State yet,” he explained. “I go to Michigan State (12/9), Ohio State (1/6), Maryland (1/14) and Virginia (1/20). I may wait until signing day [to announce], it all depends we'll see how I feel."

Troutman saw his senior season cut short due to a torn ACL. He is currently awaiting surgery.

"I go in (12/12) for the surgery, then I'll start rehabbing it,” he said. “I should be fine by the time the season starts."


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