When scandal engulfed Penn State’s football program leading to the firing of legendary coach Joe Paterno, DeMatha tight end-defensive end Brent Wilkerson followed the advice of the longtime assistant coach who had recruited him to play for the Nittany Lions.
Larry “Johnson told me to pick a couple schools, talk to those schools and wait and see and go from there,” said Wilkerson, a second-team All-Met. “I was talking to several schools and it came down to them and Nebraska. I did commit to them [in March], not just for football.”
When he visited State College for his official visit earlier this month, Wilkerson was reassured that Penn State was the place for him.
“When I was on the visit, I wanted to see if Penn State felt like home, like it did in March,” Wilkerson said. “Meeting with Coach [Bill] O’Brien, it still felt that way. So I’m sticking with them.
“The way I thought about it, I want to be one of the people to bring back what Penn State football is all about. Start the healing process and turn things around.”
Said DeMatha Coach Elijah Brooks: “Penn State is a place he always wanted to go. Even with everything going on, he always loved the school. He was waiting to see who got the job. It was a big thing when they retained Coach Johnson because that is who recruited Brent.”
The decision to stay with Penn State did not surprise Raymond Wilkerson, though he left the choice to his son.
“When Brent was young, he always had Penn State as his dream school,” Raymond Wilkerson said. “It would be easy for a kid to opt out after everything that went on at Penn State. I always tell Brent, ‘You are going to school to play football, to do something you love. But at some point the air is going to go out of the ball. What are you going to do when the air goes out of the ball? Do you like the school, the education, the social atmosphere?’
“He looked at a lot of positive things that kept him there.”
Here’s a video from March 2011 in which Brent Wilkerson talks about committing to Penn State:
More coverage from AllMetSports.com
Database: Recruit Watch
March 2011: Wilkerson commits to Penn State
November 2011: Wilkerson in holding pattern
January 2011: Wilkerson to visit Nebraska
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