Making unofficial visits to college is no doubt meant to be a fun time for high school athletes. This is a reward for the work they’ve put into this point to get noticed and to receive an invitation from these schools.
And while it’s supposed to be fun, players must also take this seriously and make these visits with a goal in mind and try and learn as much as possible. That was the mindset Sam Pendleton had prior to visiting Penn State over the weekend.
Pendleton is a 2023 4-star offensive tackle from Ronald Reagan High School in Pfafftown, North Carolina. Pendleton is rated by Rivals as one of the top 200 juniors in the country with offers from Clemson, Michigan, Duke, Louisville, North Carolina, NC State, South Carolina and Coastal Carolina.
Nittany Sports Now spoke with Pendleton on Monday morning and came away impressed with how articulate and mature he is for his age and how serious he’s taking this process of recruiting.
“I would describe Junior Days–a business trip is a good way to describe them. You go there and get to see everything other than football,” said Pendleton. “When you go visit for a game, you see the football stadium, meet the coaches and players. At Junior Day, you do all that, but you get to ride around campus, and they show you where you’re going to stay as a freshman, where your core classes are going to be and they take you into the football facility, where you take pictures wearing the uniforms, see the weight room, the indoor facility and you also get more of an opportunity to learn more about the program. You sit in meetings and learn more about the coach’s philosophy, what they think the future of the program is going to be and how they plan on coaching us up if that’s the decision we want to make.”
Before arriving on campus, Pendleton talked with his family and went into this visit with a list of things he wanted to learn about Penn State and was able to accomplish that on his visit.
“I really wanted to talk with the coaches and see what their plan for me was, where I would fit into the program, how many people on the team had my major, how many people in the past have graduated with that major, stuff like that. A few things that I learned that were important for me to know about was the atmosphere, in terms of the players and coaches because you’re going to see your teammates and coaches every single day, seven days a week. I wanted to be around Coach Trautwein and the GA’s. Find out about his guys and the people that are in his room every day. I had the opportunity to eat lunch with Landon Tengwall, he’s actually a freshman now. I thought it was good to talk to a guy that’s in the program and only two years older than I to get his perspective. I did all of that and glad I did, it was a great time.”
Despite enjoying himself over the weekend, Pendleton has plenty of other great opportunities and plans on exploring them. I asked him if he can already sense that this is going to be a difficult decision to make because of all the fantastic schools that are pursuing him?
“I wouldn’t necessarily say that it will be tough but it’s definitely going to be a decision,” said Pendleton. “I’ve gone to a bunch of schools and met a lot of great people and great coaches. The hardest thing for me is that I’m a people person. I like to talk to people, I like to have relationships, you meet so many great coaches and it’s going to be hard to tell people ‘No’. That will be the hardest thing to me. Choosing my university, there will be a lot of factors that play into that. I talk to my family a lot, we talk about the hard things and that really helps me with the pros and cons and that will help me make my decision. I’m prepared to make a hard decision and I do believe when I eventually make it, it will be the best one for me.”
— Sam Pendleton (@SamPendleton7) December 3, 2021
When it comes time to make a decision, based off of what he experienced this weekend, Penn State has a really good chance of getting serious consideration.
“Yes, definitely. Like I told another reporter, some of the highest schools in my recruitment, I honestly couldn’t rank them 1-2-3 now. Penn State definitely made a really big impact on me and my family. They’re a really good group of people. There is a lot of deep tradition there. I want to go to a school with tradition and that has morals and stuff they do because that’s how they’ve always done it. Penn State also isn’t super flashy and prides themselves on good football. Good football is what they play, and I feel like that’s a big thing for me.”