Cornerback Jordan Smith (Washington, D.C./Howard D. Woodson) became the first 2013 recruit to commit after the sanctions -- before he ever watched a game in person.
He called Penn State his dream school and plans to enroll in January. He attended the opener, plans to be in the stands for Northwestern and hopes to drive to every home game from now until he's a student.
NittanyNation recently caught up with Smith to discuss his whirlwind commitment and the kind of player the coaching staff is getting.
NittanyNation: You've been following Penn State for a while, but when did PSU start following you?
Jordan Smith: When I came to their camp on June 2. I had a great time up there, and the coaches liked the things I was doing. They didn't offer that day, but I was hoping they would come back around.
At that point, I had offers from Colorado, Kansas, Illinois and a few others -- but Penn State was my dream school.
NN: How long were you a PSU fan, and how did you become a fan from down in D.C.?
JS: I grew up a Penn State fan from a young age. I used to go out and play in the yard and dream of playing in Happy Valley. I became a Penn State fan because some of my brother's former teammates actually went to Penn State: NaVorro Bowman, Derrick Williams -- and Stephon Morris played after my brother. Since being around that high school family, it grew on me. I was about 12.
Those guys would come over to the house and hang out with my brother. I always came down and tried to be there and have fun with them. I didn't really have a favorite team before that. I just loved watching football and finally watching those guys go to Penn State and excel at that school; Penn State kind of grew on me and ended up becoming my dream school.
NN: Because PSU was your dream school, how long did it take you to commit?
JS: Well, I got an offer back on July 24. And, no, it didn't take me long to commit. Once I got the offer, I talked to my parents about it and called the coaches right back. It was the same day they offered me; it was an hour or two difference.
My dad got on the phone with coach Larry Johnson and with Coach [Bill] O'Brien, and Coach O'Brien said the words ["scholarship offer"]. It was humbling, but it was an honor to hear those words from Coach O'Brien. It gave me chills, just every word that came out of his mouth. I soaked it all in, and you can see what the result was -- I went ahead and committed.
I talked to my dad about it, and my dad said I could go ahead and commit. So I called them right back. They sounded happy they got a commit, so it worked out for both of us.
NN: You're currently practicing with H.D. Woodson, but you haven't yet been able to play in a game because you've exhausted your eligibility. Where do you stand with that, and how have you stayed sharp?
JS: I transferred over to H.D. Woodson last year, and now they're not allowing me to play. There's a slim chance I'll be able to play; I get the final ruling this week. But I'm pretty much just preparing to go up to Penn State in January.
I work out daily. It's not a day that goes by I don't work out, that I don't hone my craft. I work out in the weight room, I have speed workouts and defensive workouts. I'm always working out. So I'm just going to continue to work out, have faith, read and prepare myself.
NN: What type of player is Penn State getting in Jordan Smith?
JS: I define myself as a hard worker but one who's going to do anything and everything possible to help the well-being of the team. It's not about me; it's not about the individual. I'm here to help the team excel in any way possible, and that's the type of player Penn State's getting.
I can't wait to get up there. I'm counting down the days. I have a little countdown going on my phone; I check it probably every week or so.
NN: O'Brien told you guys he'll let you redshirt if you want to. What do you plan to do?
JS: Pretty much, I'm up for whatever the coaches need. If the coaches need me to play, I'll play. If they don't need me to play, I won't. I just want to be a helpful person to the Penn State football team.