Steven Gonzalez committed to the Nittany Lions back on March 29th following a visit to campus. His commitment came as somewhat of a surprise, after he had named Ohio State his leader multiple times. However, James Franklin and Herb Hand clearly made quite an impression on Steven during his visit. He was most recently back on campus for this past weekend's Blue/White festivities. I could go on, but I'll let Steven tell you the rest...
How was the visit when you committed?
During the visit I took a tour around the campus. I went with ten other recruits and we were getting to know Coach Hand and stuff. After that we took a tour around the facilities, but before all that we watched practice, we ate, and I mean it was just a really great time.
Did you go into the visit knowing you were going to commit?
No I did not.
So what happened that made you pull the trigger?
I mean, once I got into the practice facilities I was kind of feeling it, I was liking the way that Coach Franklin was handling the practice. And I was like, "You know, I could see myself in this." And then after I met Coach Hand I was like yup. I loved everything about Penn State before the visit, because I had been up before. But after I met Coach Hand I knew it was the place for me.
You had named Ohio State as your favorite previously, but you are completely shutting your recruitment down now. What happened that led you to decide to not even go back there? What are you general feelings on Ohio State?
It's a great program, and I thank them for the opportunity they gave me, but I just thought Penn State was the best overall. Some may say, "He didn't even visit Ohio State", but I felt like during my visit to Penn State that this is the place for me. This is what feels right in my heart, I feel at home here. Also it's closer to home, which also helps. So why wait? Why wait to commit when I can just get it over with now and get this weight off my shoulders and do it with a great school? That's what really weighed on my mind. There wasn't anything wrong with Ohio State, I just liked Penn State more after my visit.
Are you getting together with the other top guys from New Jersey like Juwan Johnson to try and recruit for Penn State?
That's the plan, that's what we're trying to do. I'm recruiting Brandon Wimbush, and I'm recruiting Minkah [Fitzpatrick] as well. And then Irvin Charles I'm also recruiting. That's what we're trying to do, we're trying to get the best players to go to the best college closest to home, and that's Penn State. I'm also talking to Sterling Jenkins right now and he has Penn State pretty high.
How are you feeling about those Jersey guys in regards to their feelings on Penn State?
Irvin Charles I'm starting to get close to him and talk to him more, I heard he was trying to reschedule his visit. Brandon and Minkah, they live near my school so I talk to them a lot. I think Brandon right now is a lean, he just said he needs some time, he said he definitely has Penn State at the top. Then Minkah also said he needs more time, but he said he has Penn State near the top as well. That's really it with those two.
Has the staff told you much about their plans for you? Are there things they want you to work on? Are they planning on having you redshirt?
They haven't really, they've just told me they want me to shed a few pounds and get to 310. I think they want me at guard, and that's really it for now. Coach Hand said the next time I visit we'll sit down one on one and look at some film and see what he wants me to start doing.
How much pride do you take in being a part of such a highly ranked recruiting class (When this interview was conducted, Penn State was ranked #2 by 247Sports)?
I actually got very happy when Coach Franklin showed me we moved to number two after my commitment. We jumped Alabama, LSU, Florida State. It was just a great feeling just to know that I'm a part of that. And it's only just starting right now, it's still building up. It's a great feeling.
Any opinions on names on the jerseys?
I feel like the no names was part of the old tradition. I get where Bill O'Brien was coming from, he wanted to start a new tradition at Penn State. I kind of like the names on the back, it showed the names of the people were who stayed at Penn State during the dark times at State College. It's kind of like a tribute to the players for showing the courage to stay during the rough times.
What is your favorite part of playing on the line?
Driving people off the ball and run blocking. Finishing them and pancakes, that's my favorite part.
I'm excited to be part of the family. I'm going to come in two years from now and contribute.
You can follow Steven on twitter at @StevenG511. Thanks for taking the time to talk, Steven!