Every high school football player would love an offer to play at Penn State.
For Tyler Elsdon, it had added meaning.
Eldson grew up in Frackville, Pennsylvania, a little more than two hours away from the University.
Where Elsdon comes from, Penn State is the team.
“Everyone’s a Penn State fan,” Elsdon told reporters in a Zoom call Wednesday afternoon. “I always tell this story, we have an ice cream joint called ‘Chill Out.’ We always go there, and if you go into the bathroom, just to wash your hands, go into the bathroom, whatever, there’s a big picture of Beaver Stadium. I just think it’s funny because you can never really escape Penn State football where I’m from.”
Elsdon had established himself as a Division I prospect going into his senior season at North Schuylkill High School.
When Penn State offered Elsdon, there was no doubt that he’d play there.
“I was kind of recruited pretty late just overall from colleges,” Elsdon said. “I think I was going into my senior year before I got any attention. Penn State was obviously my last offer, and I committed almost immediately. When they offered me, I said, ‘yeah, I’m 99.9 percent sure this is where I’m coming.’
Elsdon said that his mother took care of the .1 percent that had any doubt.
Now going into his third season at Penn State, Elsdon didn’t see a lot of action last season. He was only on the field for 74 snaps defensively and picked up 38 playing special teams.
With Ellis Brooks graduating, Penn State will need its returning inside linebackers to step up, and Elsdon, along with sophomore linebacker Kobe King, will take on increased roles in new coordinator Manny Diaz’s defense.
Elsdon understands Penn State’s reputation for linebacker play and knows the “Linebacker U” nickname exists for a reason.
“There’s a standard,” he said. The coaches always say, ‘the standard is the standard.’ There’s no deviation. Being from PA, too, being from (Linebacker U), being from Pennsylvania, playing at Penn State, there’s a weight on your shoulders almost. There’s a lot of pressure, but I think, at the end of the day, there’s guys that came through here, and everyone has their own story. The thing about LBU is you can come from anywhere. It’s just when you go on the field, supporting each other and making plays.”
Penn State hired former All-American linebacker Dan Conner as an analyst over the winter, and Elsdon said he’s spent time talking with him, as well as watching YouTube clips of other Penn State greats such as Paul Posluszny, Sean Lee and LaVar Arrington.
The desire to join the lineage of great Penn State linebackers, as well as to play for everybody in Schuylkill County who is cheering him on, motivates Elsdon.
“It really drives me,” Elsdon said. “It drives me to be a perfectionist, even though perfection is not a thing. It makes me want to be damn close.”