QB Steven Bench flipped his commitment from Rice to Penn State on Tuesday.
Penn State got involved very late with the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder from Cairo High School who committed to Rice about a month ago. Penn State invited Bench for an official visit last weekend and offered a football scholarship before he left campus on Sunday.
After a couple of sleepless nights, Bench committed to Penn State.
“It was a really tough decision, but I felt like Penn State was the right choice for me,” Bench said. “The school was amazing, the facilities were amazing, and the thing that really stood out there during my visit was the school pride. Everybody loves it there. It’s hard to find a place where 44,000 people like the school they go to.”
Penn State has been in the news for months for months because of the alleged child sex scandal involving former assistant Jerry Sandusky and the firing of the late Joe Paterno. Bench said he considered those issues before committing to Penn State.
“I’ve done my homework on stuff like that,” Bench said. “I’d be shocked if there were some NCAA sanctions. I know the NCAA is investigating. I know they are. But I’d be shocked if there are any sanctions.
“But all of that has nothing to do with the current football program. There’s absolutely nothing that anyone on that staff or team can do about it. It’s unfortunate that it happened and it’s unfortunate that the consequences led to getting rid of Joe Paterno. It was just a bad situation. At the same time, it’s over. Everybody knows you can’t make up for it or do anything about it now. All you can do is move forward and work hard.”
Bench said Penn State’s coaches addressed the Sandusky scandal during his visit.
“It was something that I thought about and people said things to me about, but it didn’t play much of a part into my decision after the visit there,” Bench said. “Everybody there realizes that it was an unfortunate incident that occurred. There’s nothing any of the current coaches can do about it. They basically addressed it as an unfortunate incident that occurred, and said there was nothing we can do about it but move forward.”
Bench said a couple of people at his school made Penn State jokes after he committed on Tuesday but “everybody is congratulating me and they are generally excited for what my future holds at such a great school.”
Bench got a call from Mississippi State on Tuesday morning to gauge his interest but says his recruiting is over.
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