Beaver bliss

The Baltimore Sun

Last Saturday, my family and I went to Penn State for its spring game, and I had a great time.

I went with my mother, Cathy, my cousin Aaron, my uncle Charles Green and my grandmother Louann Green. They call their spring game, "The Blue/White Game," and the weather and atmosphere were amazing.

I was up there with about 50 other recruits. I've seen a few of their faces before, but I didn't really recognize many of them. I didn't get to talk to any of them, but I'm more concerned with meeting and talking to some of the current players. I want to know how it really is playing for their school.

When I got there, we went into Beaver Stadium and I love it already. It's huge and holds like 100,000 people (Editor's note: Beaver Stadium has a capacity of 107,282, making it the largest football stadium in the country), and it gets pretty loud in there. The fans were all screaming and it seems like a great place to play.

They took me and the other recruits through the tunnel that the players run through before games, and I have to be honest, I had some butterflies. It almost felt like I was playing.

The entire atmosphere of the weekend was great, too. People were tailgating everywhere, and I was shocked to see how much the students and fans care about their school.

The coaching staff talked to me and introduced themselves to my mother. I talked to coach Joe Paterno, and he always shows me love when I go there. He talks about grades and stresses that I keep them up. They also said that no spots on the team are guaranteed, so if I show up to practice and perform well, I could play early.

Who I really like is (assistant coach-defensive line coach) Larry Johnson Sr. He really talks to my mother and lets me and her know how I fit in. He says that they have effective ways to utilize the way I move and my speed, and he really makes Penn State feel like a home already.

My mother liked the school, too, but she likes it more for the academics. She's much more concerned with a school's academics than its football program.

The big play of the game was when redshirt freshman running back Stephfon Green had a 57-yard touchdown run. It was a good run; he really broke it open and he's really fast. There was some good blocking up front, but he broke a tackle, so I thought that was good. He's smaller too, but he's still a little bit bigger than me (Editor's note: Green is listed at 5 feet 10, 189 pounds; Austin is 5-9, 160).

We left in the third quarter, but the fans showed me love even when I was leaving. A few people even asked for my autograph. It really made me feel like I was "big-time" already.

Oh, and Penn State even has an ice cream named after JoePa, named "Peachy Paterno." Unfortunately, I didn't get to have any on this trip.


This is the second in a series of occasional articles in which Dunbar football standout Tavon Austin takes readers through the recruiting process in his own words, as told to Sun reporter Stefen Lovelace. Austin, a junior running back-defensive back and two-time Sun Offensive Player of the Year, is being recruited heavily by a number of major Division I programs. For the series, Lovelace also consulted with Austin's mother, Cathy Green; his football coach, Lawrence Smith; and his cousin, Aaron Thompson.

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