Double Dip for PSU at Bowl

SAN ANTONIO — It was the double-dynasty hand gesture that resonated throughout Happy Valley. At the U.S. Army All-American Bowl at the Alamodome here, Penn State garnered two commitments from two of the East squad's elite football talents. Together, they gave the dynasty signal that has become so popular among the younger Nittany Lions.

Four-star defensive end Maurice Evans from Christ the King High in Middle Village, N.Y., and four-star cornerback A.J. Wallace of McDonough High in Pomfret, Md., announced their picks during a joint interview at halftime of the East's 27-16 win over the West.

“I just wanted to go somewhere where they have a football mentality and a place I felt comfortable,” Evans said. “They treat you like a son out there. That's why I wanted to be out there.”

In what might be a surprise to many, Evans indicated that the Nittany Lions were his top choice from the start, and they remained that way until the day he committed.

“[Penn State] was always my number one school,” Evans said. “I just really wanted to go there. I have the best chances of playing, and that's the place I want to be.”

Evans started at defensive end for the East and might be too good to keep off the field upon his arrival at Penn State.

“[The coaches] told me that the position is up for grabs and they don't see me redshirting,” Evans said. “It's up to me. All I have to do is come in and play hard.”

Evans had numerous memorable plays, as he was a perennial figure in the West's backfield, but none more memorable that a devastating sack on Jevan Snead.

“I don't know what happened, they just let me go free,” Evans said. “I didn't want to hit him too hard because he's a fellow All-American. I had to make the tackle, so I did.

Wallace seemed a long shot for PSU at the start of the recruiting season. For a while, the battle for Wallace's services seemed to be between Nebraska or Ohio State. However, as the season progressed, it became clear that the frontrunners were the Lions and the Buckeyes.

Ironically), the turning point in Wallace's recruitment by the Penn State staff occurred the night the Nittany Lions upset Ohio State on Nov. 9. But for that night, Wallace probably would not have been a Nittany Lion.

“Penn State came on late,” Wallace said. “I went to the Ohio State-Penn State game and that's when they really impressed me. I was surprised they kept recruiting me after that actually. I took a visit there after and I fell in love with it, really. That's what it came down to.”

After a full-court press for Wallace which led to an official visit, he began to feel that Penn State was ultimately the place for him.

“It was just the best fit for me,” Wallace said. “The academics are outstanding, the people are outstanding. It's just a great opportunity to go there and play. The coaches just have a great bond. They just showed me the depth chart and the places that needed to be filled where I can help the team. I just want to try to come in the summer, work hard, and just try to get a starting spot.”

Wallace said he has already begun plans to meet up with some of his fellow Penn State U.S. Army All-Americans.

When asked the one player from Maryland he wanted to bring with him to Penn State, Wallace did not hesitate, and stated two initials.

“J.B.,” Wallace said, referring to undecided four-star offensive lineman J.B. Walton. “I'm going to tell him Penn State is a great place.”

Evans and Wallace are the 15th and 16th athletes to commit to Penn State for the Class of 2006. The Nittany Lions' class has now moved into the top 10 of national rankings.


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