Tom McEowen: One on One

If the sport of football does not work out for Tom McEowen, he has a future in television, maybe as a late night talk show host. McEowen, a four star defensive line prospect from Neshaminy High School in Langhorne, Pa. has an engaging and funny personality, but also a very determined and focused attitude. One on hand, he's got the witty retorts to stupid questions asked by certain recruiting writers. But on the football field, he's got a big time nasty streak. Big time.

McEowen, who committed to Penn State back in July, spoke very candidly on his expectations for his upcoming official visit to Penn State this weekend, the state of Penn State's current recruiting class, as well as dealing with comments about him switching to play offensive line with the flood of defensive line talent potentially heading to Penn State.

As to the latter, to put it simply, it ain't happening. More on that later.

As for this weekend's visit, McEowen said he really does not know what to expect because, well, this is his first ever official visit.

"To tell you the truth, I really have no idea," McEowen said. "But then, I'm not sure what goes on. I've never been on one before. This will be my first official."

Absent knowledge of what actually goes on during an official visit, McEowen said he does have certain expectations. Particularly, he wants to get to know some of his future teammates better, and even some of those recruits who have yet to commit.

"I've been up there a couple of times, but I've gotten all of the preliminary stuff over with," McEowen said. "I expect to hang out with the team more. The times I went up there before, I didn't hang out the team. I'll probably go out with more guys and meet more people."

One player in particular who McEowen has worked on trying to join him at Penn State is four-star defensive line prospect Jared Odrick.

"I've talked to Odrick to come with me," McEowen said. "I was like ‘c'mon man, we gotta get the d-line going.' I defiantly try to sway him to Penn State. Hopefully he goes there."

McEowen has no problem lobbying recruits to come to Penn State because he genuinely wants to be a Nittany Lion. Despite committing before the 2005 season started, McEowen said he knew the good things were in store for Penn State.

"I knew they'd be good all year," McEowen said. "That's what everyone kept asking me. They'd say, ‘Penn State has been bad, what's your reason for choosing Penn State?' I told them I know Penn State will be good again. I expected that, I knew they'd be good. They have the players. It's great to be going to a BCS bowl. It lets them show what they can do."

Recruiting has picked up too. Yesterday, Penn State picked up highly touted four-star linebacker Navorro Bowman. According to McEowen, when it is all said and done, this year's recruiting class will be one for the ages.

"I think it's going to be really good," McEowen said. "We, including me, I think have two other defensive tackles. We have three d-ends. Everyone is good. We got [Navorro Bowman]. Our defense is shaking up."

While McEowen remained tight-lipped about specific names, he said that a few more offensive linemen are in the fold for the Nittany Lions.

"I know they have a couple o-linemen, and I think some other o-linemen are close [to committing]," McEowen said. "I look forward to playing with the guys I hear about."

With the talk of recruiting comes a lot of speculation. McEowen does not like speculation when it comes to talks on the message boards of him being sacrificed to the offensive line. Several people have the sentiment that with the potential to land other defensive line prospects like Phillip Taylor and Jared Odrick, that it will be McEowen who moves to the offensive side of the ball.

"It's strictly defense, and they all know that," McEowen said. "To tell you the truth, people say I'm moving to offense, but it's not true. I'm not a big time offensive lineman. I can produce on the defensive line because in no way am I being recruiting to play offense and I made sure of that. Defense is where my heart is."

Put it this way, if you want to make a 6-foot-4, 280 pound prospect angry, tell him he is destined to switch to offensive line when he gets to Happy Valley.

"It kind of gets to me a little bit when they say that," McEowen said. "Why? Why would I? It motivates me more. How can you say that to me when I run a 4.85 and have a 34 inch vertical? I can't wait to get up and prove myself."

The staff has taken notice of McEowen's physical capabilities, and agree with McEowen.

"[Coach] McQueary said he believes I can come in and contribute," McEowen said. "He came to my school and he really liked the highlight film. He said, ‘I knew you were fast, but not that fast.'"

As to a preference to a specific spot on the defensive line, McEowen said he prefers tackle, but would not have issue moving to end, so long as it gets him on the field quicker.

"I like the inside because I believe that's where all the action is," McEowen said. "In the end, I don't' mind defensive end or tackle. I just want to get on the field. It's all kind of like the same thing."

So, a word of advice if you ever meet Tom McEowen: don't tell him he's playing on the offensive line. At worst (and most unlikely) he'll tackle you like he does quarterbacks and ball carriers. But, at best, he'll resort to a witty retort, much like he does to certain recruiting writers who ask stupid questions.


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