He just hit the 7-foot barrier at the 3A Sea-King District Championships the end of May, which simply confirmed what many already believed to be true: Tyson Penn is on the verge of being a performer on the national stage. But will it be as a jumper? Or will it be as a football player?
“I really love football, so I want to concentrate just on football,” said Penn. “But I’m not going to limit myself to what I can do in college, so if I have the opportunity to do track and play football in college, I’ll take that.
“I love the game. It’s fun every day. It’s hot. You couldn’t ask for better weather. We have the best coaches around and my teammates are always working hard at practice with that work ethic.”
Penn is generating a ton of interest for both sports. He will be taking an official visit to Georgia for track, but it’s the football coaches he’s hoping to impress. The same goes for LSU. “I’m going to the LSU camp, trying to make it out to the UCLA camp and maybe the U-Dub camp,” he said.
So why LSU, specifically? “I love watching the way they work,” he said. “I know going to LSU I know they’d push me to where I’d need to be to hopefully go past that.”
Penn went to camps at Oregon State and the Opening regional Sunday in Eugene, earning scholarship offers from the Beavers and Washington State Cougars in back-to-back days.
“I’ve gotten a lot of coaches messaging me on Twitter, telling me how they liked how I did and want to start the recruiting process with me, so I’ve gotten positive feedback,” said Penn.
It was Penn’s performance at the Northwest Elite Football Camp at Lynnwood High School that got the process really rolling. His one-handed, highlight-reel stab was the talk of the camp, and when you out-do nearly 800 prospects from multiple classes to gain that kind of attention, it’s worth noting.
“I just knew it was elite 1-1’s, so I wanted to go out there and show out and show what I could do,” he said of the catch. “We catch a lot of balls out here, attempt one-handed catches, so I just saw the ball had a nice tight spiral. I just tried to catch it with one hand, so I just went up with it.”
After practice last week at Bellevue, Penn talked about the things he’s working on to help his team - and also attract some more interest as a by-product. “Just trying to get better at blocking, set up my blocking,” he said. “Maybe just touching up my routes, making sure my routes are crisp every tine.”
Penn now has five scholarship offers, the others coming from Montana, Utah State, and UNLV. Expect that number to grow considerably now that the Beavers and Cougars have thrown their hats into the ring. He has enough interest now to make a choice if he wants to, but Penn knows there’s potentially bigger game around the corner.
“I plan on taking some official visits, but if I get the offer I want - like a big school from an offer I like - I’d commit before the season,” he said.
Besides LSU and Georgia, Penn mentioned one other school that could elicit a pre-season commitment. “Maybe the Dub, just because it’s hometown, close,” Penn said of the Huskies. “Other than that I haven’t really decided.”