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Penn State Football Recruiting

Exclusive: Maryland Native Jeff Exinor Jr. Explains Why he Picked Penn State Over the Terps

Jeff Exinor
Courtesy Jeff Exinor

One of Penn State football’s biggest goals in recruiting is to reel in the best in-state high school talent.

“The best in PA stay in PA,” as the saying goes.

Other schools, such as the University of Maryland, wish to accomplish the same thing.

Unfortunately for coach Mike Locksley and company, it’s not unusual for Penn State to get the best players in Maryland, too.

Dani Dennis-Sutton (McDonough School) was the No. 1 player in the state from the 2022 recruiting class.

He signed with Penn State.

Chop Robinson (Gaithersburg) started his career at Maryland and then transferred to Penn State after a season, where he went onto become a first-round pick in this year’s draft.

In the most recent example, four-star Class of 2025 receiver Jeff Exinor Jr.— who, like Dennis-Sutton, comes from the McDonough School— picked Penn State over Maryland.

Exinor told NSN’s Karl Ludwig that he was “really torn” between Maryland and Penn State.

“I went to Maryland last week, and I took a couple of days to really think about it and ultimately Penn State was the choice,” Exinor told NSN.

So why was Penn State the choice?

“Both are good schools,” he said. “Either way I’d be able to show my talents on the big stage, their schemes are pretty similar, but I felt like Penn State was just a better fit for me than Maryland was.”

Penn State was the first school to offer Exinor, doing when he was still in the eighth grade.

But it was during his official visit— which he took the weekend of June 9– that he learned about new OC Andy Kotelnicki’s scheme.

“Coach K emphasized how he’s fond of a big receiver such as myself,” Exinor said. “I can really play in space, I can take the top off a defense when needed, make plays, I can be used in screens. I can be used in the run game, can block. He emphasized that I have a variety of talents that can be used and that his offense allows me to showcase. Some plays I’d be inside, some plays I’d be outside, some plays I’d be in the slot.

“So, he showed me me film of him doing it at Kansas against big teams and kids that that may not be as talented as the kids at Penn State, so against like Texas and Oklahoma, and that kind of opened my eyes a little hit because if he’s doing that with Kansas against those big teams, imagine what he can do with the talent at Penn State.”

Overall, Exinor feels Kotelnicki’s scheme fits him best.

“Over the past couple of years, they were my first offer,” he said, “so I just kind of built a relationship with them and going on an official visit, I really got to see how they run their offense — really dive deep into their scheme. Me and Coach K, we really kicked it off, me and coach Hagans, he’s a guy who can really develop me. I really felt like out of all the schools that developed me, I felt the best in their scheme.”

Exinor lived a dream Saturday, and what it meant wasn’t lost on him.

“It’s big,” he said. “It’s a moment I dreamed of since I started playing. It’s one step closer to my goal of being one of the greatest.”

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