2015 teammates 'big' on PSU after visit


Steven Gonzalez and Daiquan Kelly -- two 2015 teammates out of Union City (N.J.) High School -- couldn't get over their first-ever trip to Happy Valley.

The pair excitedly talked about their Friday visit on the four-hour drive back home and, at one point, an assistant coach turned to the smiling players and said, "I could see you two being good football players over there."

Gonzalez, an offensive tackle, and Kelly, a linebacker/safety, said they were both impressed by the sheer enormity of everything Penn State. They used words like "huge" and "big" to describe just about everything the Nittany Lions had to offer -- from the stadium and weight room to the academic staff and campus.

"Well, first, I thought Penn State wouldn't be all that," Kelly said. "But once I saw everything, I got into it; it's all just so big. My interest is high now. I think it's higher than Rutgers."

Kelly doesn't yet hold an offer, but he's hearing plenty from Rutgers, Georgia Tech and Florida State. His teammate, a 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive tackle, already boasts an offer from Rutgers and is also hearing from schools all along the East Coast.

Assistant coach John Strollo first reached out to the teammates a little more than a month ago, so the two are still feeling out PSU. But, for their first visits, the two said Penn State left a positive impression.

For Gonzalez, expectations didn't take long to rise. During a bus tour around the campus, he stared out the window, snapped some photos with his smartphone -- and said the Nittany Lions helped separate themselves right then.

"I had never been up there before, so I didn't know the campus would look like that," he said. "It amazed me. I really liked it. I think that was my favorite part of the trip.

"I mean, I knew it was going to look nice before I even got there. But, once I got there, I was just amazed by how it looked in person. I really was just amazed."

The Nittany Lions could find themselves on Gonzalez's short list in the future. One of his priorities is proximity to home, and PSU fits that bill. He also plans to visit UConn and Temple in the near future since they're relatively close.

Kelly, a 6-3, 205 pound athlete, isn't sure what other future car rides he might take to other campuses. But both players already knew they want to attend a one-day summer camp at PSU in June.

Kelly isn't sure where PSU might have him practice. He currently looks like a safety, but PSU's staff told him he could very well grow into the linebacker position. The linebacker/safety thought he was 10 pounds lighter until he stepped onto the Lions' scales.

He doesn't mind much where the staff wants him. The coaches left a positive impression on him, and now he's just hoping to impress them over the summer. Both players are.

"That's just the biggest school I've ever been to," Kelly said. "I want to get back up there."

Added Gonzalez: "It really was a great experience. I got goosebumps from looking at all the seats in the stadium, and the weight room was really big. It was all very nice."