Tradition sets PSU apart from the field

It wasn't long before Myles Jackson, a junior defensive end on ESPNU's 150 Watch List, experienced his first surprise at Penn State.

The junior out of West Chester (Pa.) B. Reed Henderson watched as fans sprinted Saturday to greet players who stepped off the bus into Beaver Stadium. Even that, he said, caught him off-guard.

"The fan support was fantastic," he said about his unofficial visit to the Penn State-Indiana matchup. "It took me by surprise."

The 6-foot-4, 213-pound target has no offers yet, but he's currently taking a closer look at Virginia, Rutgers, Temple, Connecticut, Notre Dame and Penn State. He's visited all those schools.

And if there's one element that stood out Saturday -- as far as what the Nittany Lions have that other schools lack -- Jackson said it was tradition.

"At Virginia, they have pregame shows on the jumbotron," Jackson said. "But at Penn State, you have a sense of tradition -- and it shows how much football means to the people there."

Jackson and his parents drove three hours to Happy Valley on Friday and left after the game ended. During his time at the stadium, he was introduced to an academic aide whom he said really appealed to him.

Penn State has a high graduation rate, he said, and that's important to him. Other preferences of his ideal college include nice facilities, a strong sense of community, fans who stick with the team in good times and bad, and the overall coaching staff.

The Lions' target didn't get a chance to check out the campus, but said he plans on returning in the summer so he can get a better idea of college life there. As far as the stadium, Jackson said he was impressed.

"I thought the game was awesome," he said. "The fan support was fantastic. They were behind the team even when they were down, and they helped them really back."

A look around at some of the best ESPN affiliate team sites have to offer today. Some of the following links may require a premium subscription to the ESPN affiliate site.

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CC Recruiting Roundup

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Florida State Seminoles (www.noleinsider.com )

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Ohio State Buckeyes (www.bucknuts.com)

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Oregon Ducks (www.duckterritory.com)

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Penn State Nittany Lions (www.nittanynetwork.com)

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South Carolina Gamecocks (www.thebigspur.com)

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Eureka (CA) Eureka linebacker/fullback Soma Vainuku is one of the top linebackers in the state, although his skill set on offense could earn him an offer from one Pac-10 power.