Gaithersburg (Md.) Quince Orchard linebacker Bani Gbadyu committed to LSU and Les Miles back in July with the feeling that the Tigers were the best fit for him when it came to atmosphere, playing time and everything. Following his official visit to LSU on Oct. 14, he came home with the same feeling. However, after a few weeks of reflection, the 6-foot-1, 205-pounder decided to take a few more official visits. One of those visits led to a change of heart.
"Bani came home from his LSU visit and just loved it," said Quince Orchard head coach Dave Mencarini. "He said the atmosphere was great and he was very excited. But, and this is a credit to the maturity that Bani can show, he said it was his first college football game ever and he wanted to have something to compare it to. He wanted to see if there were other places as good or better.
"Bani told coach Miles his plan and was up front with them all the way and they were understanding. Then he took his official visit to Penn State and he was beyond blown away. That was pretty much it, he just thought it was even better than LSU in his mind. He took another official to Georgia, but he was enamored with Penn State following that visit.
"He spoke to coaches at all three schools and wanted to make sure he was making the right choice. But it was clear it was Penn State and we were formulating a plan to tell the coaches so they wouldn't read about it and he could tell them up front."
That's when a glitch in the plan occurred.
"We were at our banquet this past weekend and Bani was up in front of 250 of his close friends, family and coaches," said Mencarini. "And then he said he was going to Penn State and I was a bit stunned. It wasn't part of the plan, but Bani got caught up in the moment and felt this was the best place to tell all of those close to him. I got a few calls after that."
LSU and Georgia heard of the announcement and called. Coach Mencarini told them the situation and that Bani had made up his mind.
"We had hoped to tell them first before they heard it elsewhere, but they were okay," he said. "Coach Richt still wanted to come in and do a home visit and I felt that was fair since Bani's father wasn't able to go to Georgia with him on his trip and I felt coach Richt should be able to talk to him in person. Coach Miles said he wanted to come in as well but I explained to him that Bani was sure of his decision and I didn't want him to waste a trip. He said if he was that sure, he wouldn't come."
So now Gbadyu will be a Nittany Lion.
"Coach Larry Johnson, to me, is one of the best recruiters out there if not the best," said Mencarini. "There's something about him, he makes players and parents feel comfortable and he's as professional as they come. Bani and his father felt very comfortable with him and the atmosphere at Penn State, the players, the whole package was perfect for him."
The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder had a stellar senior season and is excited about staying closer to home to play college football.
"There's gonna be a bus coming from Maryland to Penn State," Gbadyu said. "We're all coming and it's going to be great."