The only way to muddle through what feels like the end of the world is to know that there will be a bright future.
That’s something Pasadena’s Landon Tengwall has. The junior four-star offensive tackle, who plays for Good Counsel in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, revealed his commitment to Penn State on Thursday night.
Tengwall is the third player bound for the Nittany Lions from his class, following three-star offensive guard Nate Bruce (Harrisburg, Pa.) who sealed the deal with Penn State on Oct. 19 of last year, and three-star athlete Liam Clifford (Cincinnati, Ohio).
Flocks of Division I football kings courted Tengwall, from Alabama to Notre Dame to Michigan -- and, of course, Maryland, who was the first to offer Tengwall when he was in eighth grade.
Tengwall had visited Penn State upwards of 20 times. He likely knew the campus -- the glint of sunlight off Beaver Stadium, the curves of the sidewalks around buildings, the way the State College air smelled -- better than most football recruits would.
“I never had a dream school," Tengwall said, “but Penn State has become that dream for me.”
Tengwall’s decision to switch from wide receiver to offensive lineman at the end of middle school was just common sense. He and the men of his family were big, and maybe not the quickest land animals. He amped up his diet and his training, and began attending camps, such as Penn State’s Big Man camp in 2017.
It was then Penn State took root in Tengwall’s life. The Lions tight ends coach Tyler Bowen initiated contact with Tengwall before the Pasadena resident left middle school and while Bowen still served the Terps.
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As Tengwall bloomed into a serious Division I prospect, his family made the obvious choice before his sophomore season to move him from St. Vincent Pallotti to Good Counsel and the WCAC Conference -- the playground of future college football fixtures. There, Tengwall grew into his identity as a standout offensive tackle.
College football offers poured in, and as Tengwall progressed with Good Counsel, he weighed his choices seriously. He shaved his list down to two schools, Notre Dame and, of course, Penn State.
“Those were my top two for a reason. They were neck and neck," Tengwall said. “But Penn State, it just felt right. It felt better to me. It might be that I went to Penn State a lot more than Notre Dame. It might be that one’s a three-hour drive and the other is an hour flight along with a two-hour drive. In the end, they were both great schools but Penn State came out on top for me.”
In Tengwall, the Lions will receive the No. 45 prospect in the Class of 2021, No. 7 offensive tackle and No. 1 player from Maryland, as listed in the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
247Sports National Recruiting Analyst Brian Dohn detailed his observations of Tengwall.
“College-ready strength," wrote Dohn. "Fires off quickly and low at snap. Knee bender who sinks hips and wins leverage. Devastating initial punch. Hand placement is accurate. Clean footwork and adept at pulling. Has body control. Blocks at second level. Nasty, physical, plays with attitude. Finishes his blocks. Needs to refine kick-step to cover edge against speed. Continue to work on flexibility. Elite-level prospect who can play at elite school as a freshman.
“I’ve seen a lot of great players, guys that are in the league now, that still think about that. It’s four teams, they’re all top 25 in the nation, battling it out. I don’t think there’s anything much better than that," Tengwall said. "It’s great to get my recruitment off my chest. It’s an honor to commit to a high-level college like Penn State, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.”
Tengwall knows he’s far from a complete product, and that the Penn State coaching staff, particularly the Lions’ pickup from Boston College, offensive lineman coach Phil Trautwein, will improve his development. Five offensive linemen coached by Trautwein were First or Second team All-ACC, which impresses Tengwall. The two talk every day.
“I can’t wait to get coached up by him,” Tengwall said.
He also hopes to serve as an example to Maryland athletes bound for Division I schools after him.
“I was never really a guy that got super caught up in the recruiting process. I want to enjoy the process; it was never something that took away from my training or the actual football aspect," Tengwall said. "It wasn’t always super glamorous to me -- it was cool, entertaining, to have people interested in you. I don’t think much is going to change. I’m working out every day. I’m still the same old Landon.”