Josh Marks, the 6-foot-4, 285 pound offensive lineman from Catawissa, Pa., who had been told previously by Penn State recruiting coordinator Mike McQueary that he would receive a written offer, has been waiting for the offer to come in the mail. While the written offer has yet to be delivered, Marks has received word that he will have the offer in his hands at Penn State's upcoming junior day.
"From what [McQueary] told my coach, he had planned on giving it to me on the last junior day," Marks said. "It's a little sense of relief. [Southern Columbia Area High School football coach [Jim] Roth talked to him face to face and he told me I was getting my written offer on the upcoming junior day."
With an offer from the Nittany Lions in sight, Marks said that he will begin to narrow some schools down, although he is not quite to that point yet.
"It's hard to define, I definitely haven't narrowed, I haven't cut any schools out," Marks said. "I haven't said, ‘I'm definitely not going to that school.' I definitely want to see more of some schools and talk to the coaches. I would like to make my decision in the beginning of summer, if not during the year. Here pretty soon I'm going to have to start narrowing it down."
Two schools that have risen to the top are intrastate foes Penn State and Pittsburgh. The Panthers have already extended Marks a written offer.
"Still Penn State and Pitt are my favorites, they're the two schools that have offered me so far," Marks said. "I still like Michigan and Ohio State. I've been talking to the Clemson coach. I really don't know what it's like down there, but they seem really interested. Even though it's farther away, it's something I can look into."
As of now, one thing is clear.
"Penn State, as far as offer wise, and Pitt are my favorites," Marks reiterated.
While many factors will come into consideration, one thins that Marks holds paramount is his family.
"His family is very important to him," Marks' mother, Jami Marks said. "What's interesting is that my husband and I graduated from the same high school that Josh will. All of our family is in the same area. One grandparent lives next door, the other lives two or three miles away. Family is very important to him. Probably a very close second is hunting and fishing. He's an outside person. We live on a farm. He has responsibilities on the farm, although that seems to be less and less with sports. He does what he can to help out."
Specifically, Jami mentioned that Marks' primary responsibility is baling hay. In addition, he also helps manage the family's hog farm.
"We have a couple of different farms," Jami said. "He mows the farm that we rent out. We have a hog farm that holds about 2000 pigs, so in the summer he helps with the pigs. If we're shipping markets hogs out, he has that responsibility. I'd say baling is the biggest thing that needs to be done."
Marks said that he learned a lot about responsibility and hard work by having duties on the farm.
"It's just one of those things, I definitely think that it's made me a better person," Marks said. "My parents and I joke around and say that's why I'm as big as I am. We always just joke around like that. The day I was born, I grew up on the farm. We always ate our own meat. We butchered them. We have like 350 acres, so we grow everything we eat. It's home cooked meals, our own meat, I've always been helping my dad bale hay since I could walk. I think it might have made me tougher. Doing that, while another lineman is watching television in the air condition, I'm out there baling hay, working in the farm."
Marks' mother added that she also thinks the recruiting process has helped shape her son's character.
"I think that it's exciting and I hope that Josh realizes how very luck he is to have the opportunity to see the schools he is able to," Jami said. "Sometimes I wonder if a teenager realizes how lucky they are. Sometimes I'm in awe, to be honest with you. To me so far it hasn't been stressful, but I've enjoyed the trips. Probably what I think is hard, every place we go, everyone is just so very nice and welcoming. It makes it hard to make a decision."
"We went out last spring and Coach McQueary toured us through the facilities and it was during the spring practice and prior to watching spring practice we sat and talked with Coach Paterno for a good half hour," Jami said. "That was really nice. We got some pictures of that."
Marks and his family, which also includes two sisters, will return to Happy Valley for Penn State's junior day on March 25.
"I'm going to the Penn State junior day on the 25th and I'm going to see a spring practice at West Virginia on the 24th, and I'm going to a spring practice and an academic day at Pitt," Marks said. "I've already seen practices at Penn State and Michigan. We've already done a lot of traveling."
Marks also said he has reason to believe that the Nittany Lions will also extend a written offer to Hynoski.
"Earlier, like two months ago, Penn State wasn't sure what they were going to do with Henry, and then from what Coach Roth said, after they received his film, they were very impressed with him," Marks said. "All they really saw before was Henry at camp, but after seeing his highlight film, they were real impressed, and they were pretty sure they were going to offer him."
Both Marks and Hynoski will attend Penn State's junior day together.
"I think that they would like to go to the same school," Jami said. "That's not going to be the only thing that weighs in their decision. I think that ideally if they can find one school that suits both of them, they would like to go together."