Every week, NittanyNation will pose five questions to a recruit, player, alum or coach about all things Penn State.
This week's subject is Tanner Hartman (Lynchburg, Va./Liberty Christian), a two-star offensive lineman who decommitted from Maryland in September to pledge his loyalty to Penn State.
NittanyNation: Tonight, you'll be squaring off against a future teammate of yours in Christian Hackenberg for the state championship. What are your feelings about that, and have you and Christian kind of stopped talking just this week?
Tanner Hartman: We talked to each other before we went into the playoffs, and we talked about who we'd be playing next. But since then, we haven't really said anything. I might send him a message, 'Good luck' before the game. But other than that, we both know what we're going to have to do.
It's definitely neat to play against another guy committed to the same school. We've played against each other before -- I think this will be our fifth time. And I guess this is a big one being the state championship. So it's more than beating Christian. I want to beat Fork Union and get a second consecutive state championship. We'll be teammates in the future but, [Friday] night, we're not teammates -- we're friends. That's the way I look at it.
NN: I know you have a big game coming up, but have you still been thinking a lot about playing for Penn State?
TH: Yeah, I mean, that's definitely a thought that goes through your head. It's definitely an exciting feeling, but I got to put that in the back of my mind and be focused for this game and finish the season strong because that's something that even the Penn State coaches stressed. Once the season's over, I'll start preparing myself for when I get up there.
NN: What kind of relationship do you have with offensive line coach Mac McWhorter, and what type of guy is he?
TH: He's a real cool guy, and I enjoy talking to him. I talk to Coach [Charles] London and Coach [Bill] O'Brien during the week, so it's one of those three who call me. He's a real nice guy, real easy to talk to. He likes the bond they all have up there, and he said he can't wait for me to be a part of it.
The first time we met, he came up to me and gave me a hug. He's just a friendly guy, and I know that he's a really good coach.
NN: How surprised have you been this year with Penn State's on-field success?
TH: You know, I knew Coach O'Brien was going to do a good job up there and it really didn't surprise me. But it's been an exciting year for him, too, because of all that's been going on -- and it's really great to see that the coaches are going to keep doing what they're doing. I know Coach O'Brien's a great coach, and he's going to do a good job with the program there.
NN: To date, what's been your favorite Penn State moment?
TH: That 'White Out,' definitely, just seeing 107,800 people in the stadium. It was just a sold-out crowd and that whole game, even with the loss, it just really stood out to me. The fan support that's up there, it's just a really good place to go.
Everybody knows Penn State's always had a strong fan base ... and you can tell it's a strong community. It creates a good atmosphere in the games, and I can't wait to be a football player up there.