Three defensive backs from Baltimore finished practice this spring on Penn State’s two-deep. Heading into the 2014 season, there will be another local player on the Nittany Lions’ secondary depth chart.
Troy Vincent Jr., a rising senior cornerback from Gilman, committed to the Nittany Lions last night. He’ll join three Calvert Hall grads – starting safety Adrian Amos, starting cornerback Trevor Williams and backup cornerback Da’Quan Davis – in Penn State’s secondary.
“I think his family and himself, I think they all just were comfortable with [Penn State] coach [Bill] O’Brien,” Gilman assistant Henry Russell said Thursday. “They had a real close family friend who played there recently. He had a great experience with Coach O’Brien. Troy has been around the program a bunch. I think he just felt comfortable there. His mom saw it and approved. So they were ready to make the decision. I think Penn State was always kind of the leader in his recruitment.”
Vincent, the son of the longtime former NFL defensive back of the same name, is ranked a four-star prospect, the No. 8 player in Maryland the No. 22 cornerback nationally by Rivals.com. The 5-foot-10, 181-pound player picked Penn State over offers from Arizona State, Cal, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin – his father’s alma mater.
Vincent transferred to Gilman from Georgetown Prep before his junior season. The Greyhounds had lost their starting cornerbacks – Cyrus Jones (Alabama) and Malcolm Powers (Monmouth) – to graduation.
“We had Troy step in and he did a great job for us,” Russell said. “He’s very technique savvy and technique strong. He’s got unbelievable footwork. He can do a lot of things. He plays real physical as a corner. He understands zone concepts. He’s been around football his whole life. He has a good feel for what the offense is trying to go, and he combats that on defense. This offseason he’s worked really hard. He looks really good right now. I’m excited to see how he’s going to produce his senior year.”
Russell said the Gilman staff had a sense for “a month or two” that Penn State was Vincent’s favorite school. Once his mother saw State College and approved of her son’s choice, the decision was official.
Vincent will be the sixth Baltimore-area player on Penn State’s 2014 roster, joining the three previously mentioned Calvert Hall alums, offensive lineman Donovan Smith (Owings Mills) and defensive tackle Brian Gaia (Gilman).
“I don’t think [the Penn State coaches] have any plans for him yet,” Russell said. “They want to get him up there and take a real good look at him, see where he fits best and what his strengths are. They’re excited to get a really good football player and a really good fit from a great family.”