Another Royster at Penn State?

Originally Published: January 20, 2010
By Josh Moyer |

Every school day, Jersey City (N.J.) Saint Peter's coach Rich Hansen will pick up Savon Huggins and Sheldon Royster before driving to the high school.

Those 45-minute rides, Royster said, have been invaluable to the Penn State target -- at least when he's not sleeping.

"It helps a lot," the junior safety said. "My coach, he's kind of guiding me in a way because he's been through it all. It helps me and my family a lot because it breaks it down and gives me a chance to really focus on the college that's right for me."

Right now, he said, it's too early to list any favorites. But he's hearing from schools such as Penn State, Rutgers, South Florida, Florida, Miami (Fla.) and Notre Dame.

He doesn't see Penn State assistant Dick Anderson as often as his teammate, Huggins, but the Nittany Lions are a team he hopes to learn more about.

The 6-foot, 185-pound prospect has yet to see a Penn State game, but he passed the stadium on his way to a Nike Camp before. That experience itself left an impression.

"Their stadium, to me, is amazing. When I first saw it, I was really taken by it," he said. "I drove past it, and I looked up online and I saw how many seats there were. And I was like, 'Wow. I can't imagine playing in front of all those people.' "

At Saint Peter's, he said, they might play in front of 3,000 fans. "It's a whole different atmosphere when you get to a college game," he added.

During those carpools, Royster said they'll discuss different coaches and colleges. He and Huggins are good friends, he said, and he'd love to land at the same school -- but that's a bonus, not a priority.

As far as what is important to him, Royster stressed academics, playing time and national exposure. Still, he's trying to follow his coach's advice: Just be patient and don't rush into anything.

He's hoping to visit Penn State at some point, and there's already a few elements about Happy Valley he enjoys.

"I like their facilities. I haven't looked into their academics as much ... but I got to see a lot of their football stuff," he said, adding that was during the combine.

Coach Rich Hansen's take on Royster: "I think he has great range as a safety. He makes sure hits and has the range to play laterally make precise-timing jumps and breaks on balls. And if you can tackle as a safety and make plays on deep throws, you've got a future. He's got natural instinct and a high football IQ."

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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Josh Moyer | email

Penn State/Big Ten reporter