Even though Calvert Hall All-Metro football players Da'Quan Davis and Trevor Williams have been playing football together since they were 12, they never set out to go to Penn State together.
They started playing together at Roland Park Middle School, moved on to Calvert Hall and committed to West Virginia. A couple weeks ago, they decided separately to decommit from West Virginia. When other coaches came calling, Penn State appealed to both of them.
Davis and Williams made their official visits to Happy Valley over the weekend with their families and orally committed Sunday.
"It's like we can't get rid of each other," Davis said with a laugh. "We both got out of the West Virginia situation and it just so happened that Penn State was on both of us heavy. It was like fate."
Davis, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound cornerback, said he had a home visit with West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen two weeks ago, but he didn't like "the vibe." He declined to comment further, but that experience combined with the departure of much of West Virginia's defensive coaching staff made him reconsider.
"When you have a (coaching) change like that, any kid is going to consider their options," Davis said. "A bunch of schools jumped on me and basically I wanted to see what the best fit was."
For Williams, the issue was which side of the ball he would play on. All-Metro as a wide receiver who caught 99 passes for 1,180 yards and 15 touchdowns last fall, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Williams doubled as a free safety.
"I thought I was going to West Virginia to play offense," Williams said, "and I think something had changed around and there was some talk about free safety. I didn't trust the whole situation once some of the coaches left and then my receiver coach was switching to cornerback, so I reopened my recruitment."
Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson, Sr. recruited both players and, they said, impressed them. Davis said Johnson told him the Nittany Lions were in "dire need of defensive backs" and Williams was told he would play wide receiver, the position he wanted.
Neither had any qualms about the state of the program despite the Jerry Sandusky scandal that led to the firing of legendary coach Joe Paterno, who died Sunday. Davis said the program was "probably the most stable program in the country" before the scandal and that "Penn State will still be there" athletically and academically.
Both players also talked with former Cardinals teammate Adrian Amos, who saw action as a Nittany Lions freshman this fall.
"Adrian Amos was major factor," said Calvert Hall coach Donald Davis, "because they have a guy who is on the campus, a guy they can call and ask, 'What do you think about the academics? How do you think we'll do there? Do you think we can play there?' They're all kind of cut from the same cloth. It's like having an inside guy, a guy who can give them intel they couldn't get at any other school."
New Nittany Lions coach Bill O'Brien, the New England Patriots offensive coordinator who took over for Paterno, talked to Da'Quan Davis via Skype Sunday morning.
"He had a big game with the Ravens and he took time to talk to a lowly high school player," Davis said. "After that, I committed. I told him I wanted to be a Nittany Lion."
Williams did not speak with O'Brien, but said that was OK. Williams said he knew Penn State was the place for him when they visited Beaver Stadium.
"Beaver Stadium is probably the biggest stadium I've ever seen," Williams said. "They showed us game-day preparation. We went to the locker room, tried on a jersey. We couldn't walk out onto the field, because of the snow, but we went to the gate. I just felt like I can put on a helmet and a pair of cleats right now. I felt comfortable. I felt like I was at home."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun