Feasterville (Pa.) Neshaminy defensive tackle Tom McEowen has been a Penn State fan since the day he was born. He grew up watching Penn State stars like LaVar Arrington and Kerry Collins and dreamed of playing for the Nittany Lions someday. That day has come as McEowen committed to Penn State on Monday evening.
"I just felt it in my heart," said the 6-foot-4, 279-pounder. "Once I feel something, it sticks. I've always been a big Penn State fan and knowing I had an opportunity to play there was too much to pass up."
Despite his interest, McEowen first reached the Penn State campus in April.
"It was amazing, everything I thought it would be," he said. "It was a good visit, but I still had so many options I wanted to look around. My dad (Paul) really helped with that. He was always asking me questions about things to make sure that I was liking Penn State for the right reasons and not just because I grew up on them."
It was the second visit to State College that really turned the tide for PSU.
"That was in May I think," he said. "It was me and a few of my teammates and we spoke at length with coach Larry Johnson that day. I believed everything he had to say, he was just a straight shooter and I felt comfortable with him. Then we met the players."
McEowen and fellow Pennsylvania stars Jeremiha Hunter, Jason Kates and Jared Odrick all went into the defensive meeting room.
"Then a bunch of players showed up," he said. "Derrick Williams was there, AQ Shipley and some others. They all told us why they picked Penn State and how things were turning around. They believed in their heart that Penn State would be a winner again now. The four of us spoke together and we all agreed if all four of us committed to Penn State, our defense would be sick.
"I'm the first one on board and I'll be calling the others. Talk is talk but now that I've committed, I can tell them to join me."
McEowen chose Penn State over Florida in the end. He was also interested in North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia and Boston College.
"I was supposed to take a visit down to Florida and I had every intention of doing so," he said. "But then I thought it would be a waste of time and money because I was 100-percent sure. I was going to commit this weekend when I went back to PSU, but I decided to just do it now."
McEowen is ranked as the No. 9 player in a very deep year in Pennsylvania and is part of our new Rivals250. He has been compared to Georgia defensive end David Pollack because of his non-stop motor.
"I've heard that before and it's awesome," he said of the comparison. "I pride myself on hard work and never giving up on a play. I'll play inside or outside at Penn State, whatever they want. I can't wait to play."