Tanner Hartman (Lynchburg, Va./Liberty Christian Academy) called Penn State's coaches Tuesday night to commit -- and soon thereafter called Maryland to break the bad news of his decommitment there.
The two-star offensive guard recently spoke to NittanyNation at length about how Penn State entered the picture, what separated the Nittany Lions from the Terrapins and whether he's redshirting.
NittanyNation: A lot of your family hails from Hershey, Pa., but you grew up in Virginia. So were you still a PSU fan growing up?
Tanner Hartman: Oh yeah. My grandpa was always a big Penn State guy, and a lot of his buddies were. My dad played for Virginia Tech, but I kind of grew up in a Penn State type of background, and a lot of my family up there is big on Penn State. I'd make frequent visits up there.
I mean, I grew up a Virginia Tech fan, but I always kind of rooted for Penn State and I used to watch the games with my grandpa.
NN: Did you go up to PSU often, and when did Penn State start showing interest in you anyway?
TH: Well, this summer was the first time I was ever at State College. I was up at their camp, and Coach [Larry] Johnson said I had a good camp and said he'd keep in touch. He mentioned Coach Mac [Mac McWhorter] likes me as well, and they were keeping some contact -- not much -- so I didn't think a scholarship would be a possibility.
I was committed to Maryland and, about a month ago, Coach Johnson reached out and was just kind of like, 'We understand. But if you're interested, we would like you to consider us.'
NN: So when did the offer come, and when did you know you were going to Happy Valley?
TH: About a week and a half or two weeks ago. When I got that letter, the official offer letter, I was just like, 'Wow.' It happened. I knew right there. It was like a dream. I just wanted to sit on it first and let it sink in and not let my emotions get the best of me.
I talked to my dad and my coach, but I knew it was the right place. I just had to get everything straightened out and pray to God and make sure it was the right decision.
NN: When did Penn State first feel like the right place to you?
TH: I knew when I was camping, it was a special place. I knew if they'd offer, it was the place for me. I was a little premature in thinking I made the choice in Maryland. But, at that time, their spots were filling up and I was worried my commitment could have come too late.
I gave my word to Maryland, but I got to do what's best for me. It doesn't bother me, but at the same time, I just wish I would've been a little more patient in the recruiting process because other doors do open throughout the process and I kind of jumped the gun early. Maryland's a good place, but it's just the feeling I had at Penn State there. It was a feeling I felt at no other school I camped at over the summer.
NN: What specifically do you like about Penn State?
TH: I mean, the facilities they have -- and the university. State College is just an awesome place. Penn State pride is everywhere. And not to talk bad about Maryland or anything, but there's other schools around there and they have the influence of pro sports teams, so it's kind of a different thing.
NN: So, since you have yet to actually see a PSU game up close, when will you finally be on the sideline?
TH: My first game will be the Northwestern game [on Oct. 2]. And, yeah, I'm real excited. When I committed, I talked to Adam Breneman, and he's like, 'I'll be at the game.' And we were kind of talking about what a special thing it is to be in that stadium. And I talked to Christian Hackenberg on Facebook. It'll be good. I just can't wait.
NN: Have you spoken the coaching staff about redshirting?
TH: Yeah, it sounds like I'll redshirt, which I don't have a problem with. Getting that year to develop is fine. The one thing that kind of stood out to me up there was that we got to talk to the strength coach, and he's real passionate about what's going on up there. So it'll be a good thing.