Yancich Latest to Pick PSU

Any naysayers who think Joe Paterno is past his prime and costing his team recruits may want to think again. Mike Yancich had an eye-opening experience on his most recent visit to Penn State. It involved Paterno and earned the Nittany Lions a commitment from the four-star linebacker.

“Joe Paterno sat down with me and told me that he wanted me to come to Penn State,” Yancich said. “The biggest coaching legend in college football history telling me that he wants me to come to Penn State; I was sold right there.”

A product of Washington (Pa.) Trinity High, Mike Yancich announced this evening at a press conference at his high school that he would attend Penn State University. After his meeting with Paterno, Yancich told us that he was ready to commit, but couldn't.

“I was definitely ready to commit, but I had made a promise to my parents,” Yancich explained. “We agreed that no matter what, we'd come home and talk about it first. That was tough. I wanted to commit on the spot.”

After his visit last weekend, Yancich decided the time was right for a decision.

“I committed a few days ago to Penn State,” he said. “I called coach [Ron] Vanderlinden, then I spoke to Joe Paterno and Tom Bradley. I sat down and talked it over with my parents and we felt that everything that Penn State had to offer was better then what the other schools had to offer.”

Those other schools included runner-up Connecticut along with Pittsburgh and West Virginia.

“UConn and Penn State were my finalists; both schools did everything the right way,” Yancich expressed. “UConn was the first to offer and I really fell in love with the campus and I have a great relationship with Todd Orlando. He is a great guy. That made it very hard to make a decision, but I felt like Penn State had the most to offer and it's only two and a half hours from home as opposed to the 11 it takes to get to Connecticut. It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make.”

West Virginia and Pittsburgh were two other teams that were in the running for the services of Yancich.

“I liked it at West Virginia, but it wasn't the place for me,” he said. “I just didn't think I was the right kind of person for that team.

“This weekend at passing camp I spoke to every coach at Pitt and they came on strong, but it wasn't for me.”

Yancich had to wait longer than some for his scholarship offer and that frustrated the talented athlete. But in the end it all worked out.

“It was tough seeing everyone around here getting offered and I didn't,” Yancich said. “I'm like this is 'Linebacker U.', why not me? Then when they offered I was blown away.”

Of course going to a school that churns out linebacker prospects like Penn State, one can expect some stiff competition for playing time. With the commitment this week of Mandeville, La., prospect Michael Mauti some questioned whether Yancich would still choose the Nittany Lions.<p>

“Other schools kept selling playing time to me,” Yancich explained. “They were telling me come here and you'll start right away. At Penn State, even if I don't play right away I'll be around Sean Lee and other great linebackers and that will only make me better.

“All I want to do is be the best that I can be and I feel I can do that at Penn State.”

With a talented stable of linebacker prospects surrounding the program it is never out of the question for a talented athlete like Yancich to switch positions. When asked about the possibility, he answered in typical Mike Yancich fashion.

“I have always been a team-oriented player,” Yancich exclaimed. “If they choose to move me I'll do whatever helps the teams and gets me on the field the fastest. I am OK with that.”

Penn State was not hurt by the fact that Yancich grew up a Nittany Lion fan and he has anticipated being on the grass at Beaver Stadium for a long time.

“I always wondered what that would be like, to run out of that tunnel in front of 100,000 screaming fans,” Yancich said. “I'm not even sure what to expect when that happens, but it will be awesome.”

Yancich's teammate and close friend Andrew Sweat committed to Ohio State. Now the two friends will become rivals, but it won't be the first time for this talented duo.

“We were actually on different teams the whole way up until eighth grade,” Yancich said. “We were in the same school district, but different teams. I guess we are going back to our roots.

“Hopefully, I get the best of the new rivalry. But I think we both made excellent choices and we are going to the teams that fit our styles.”

We asked Yancich to describe his playing style to Penn State fans who may be unfamiliar with his abilities. The reserved teen is a different person when he hits the gridiron and it shows.

“That's tough, you could probably describe me better than I can,” Yancich laughed. “I guess I am mean. I am always looking for the ball and to make a play. When I am on the field, nothing else matters to me except winning and helping my team. I think I am an old school, smash-mouth type of football player.”

Stay logged on to FightOnState.com for more on the commitment of Mike Yancich, the newest Nittany Lion.

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