Jonathan Walton (Daphne, Ala./Bayside Academy) became one of the newest members of Penn State's 2013 class during an official visit over the weekend, a time when three other recruits offered verbal commitments.
The 6-foot-1, 236-pound Walton said he'll likely play linebacker -- which linebacker position has yet to be determined -- and NittanyNation recently spoke with him at length about his recruitment and why he decided to become a member of the Blue and White.
NittanyNation: It's been a busy couple of days for you, but has your recruitment finally calmed down a little?
Jonathan Walton: Some schools came out to congratulate me, some let me know they still want me. But it calmed down a little bit. For some of the schools that contacted me, I tell them that I'm pretty solid on my commitment, and I tell them I believe I made the right choice. I've been waiting it out for a year now, and I just tell them that.
NN: Why did you decide to wait it out that long anyway?
JW: I was kind of holding it out because I was thinking of staying in the South. So Ole Miss and Mississippi State, they knew I wanted to stay in the South and they called me and said they still wanted to get me. But they haven't offered, and I don't think I'd do it anyway because they want me as a Plan B.
Penn State, Coach [Ted] Roof offered me before the camp. He offered when he came down [over the summer]. He knew when he saw me; he offered me on the spot. That showed Penn State really wanted me; it showed they really liked me. I had a really good time, and I felt like I waited it out long enough. ... Penn State, they were my first choice and my top school, so I went ahead and made my commitment.
NN: Nearly all of you uncommitted guys -- all but one, I think -- decided to commit over the weekend. What was so special about this weekend that persuaded you all? Did Penn State do something unique that really differentiated it from other official visits?
JW: I mean, nothing was really different. We all just felt a different connection. We connected with the people, we connected with all the players, the coaches and everybody. I guess we just felt a little more comfortable here. Nothing was done differently; I guess we just connected a bit more.
I know I connected really well with Zayd [Issah]. Me and Zayd got close. We were together most of the trip. Zayd's easy, I call him easy. He's relaxed. We could see playing together but, even if we ended up at different schools, we still would've stayed in contact.
NN: What was your favorite part of the official visit?
JW: Everything. I've been up there over the summer, but I got a better idea of everything about it. I fell in love over the summer, and I just got a little better feel for it this time.
Oh yeah, being at the stadium, we got to run out and they had some music -- and I could feel myself playing there. ... I wasn't planning to commit up there; I just got up there and it clicked.
NN: You weren't there with your parents. When did they find out then -- after your commitment?
JW: I called my mom on the phone during. [Bill O'Brien and me] were talking, and he was asking me how I feel about it and I was like, 'What do you think about me committing?' He's like, 'What does your mom think about that?' So I called my mom and coach on three-way.
He left the room, and when he came in, I told him I was a Nittany Lion. It lasted about two minutes. I talked to them, explained everything and told them I wanted to commit. My mom was like, 'You should,' and my coach was making sure I was sure. And I'm pretty sure about it.
NN: What are your goals for next season, and would you mind redshirting?
JW: I'm taking it day by day. I think I have the talent, physically and mentally, so if I go up there and work hard, I feel I can do whatever. I'm going to work hard no matter what. My goal is to be the best linebacker, if I play linebacker, when I'm here. And if I play running back, I want to be the best running back to get past there.
I wouldn't mind a redshirt to give a year off the sanctions and to get better. Either way it goes, I'm going to try to break records.