Wideout DaeSean Hamilton (Stafford, Va./Mountain View) didn't expect to become Penn State's 17th commitment on Dec. 9 -- but he also didn't expect the school to outshine the others so much either.
NittanyNation recently spoke with Hamilton at length about his plans for next season, what separated Penn State and why he decided to become a Nittany Lion.
NittanyNation: Penn State made your initial top 5 or top 7. What was it about them to begin with that put them toward the top of your list? Why'd you consider them so much at the start?
DaeSean Hamilton: I just realized how hard they were on me and how hard they tried to recruit me. Coach [Stan] Hixon and Coach [Charles] London were pushing, sending me as much mail as they could, coming to the school as much as they could, coming down to a game. So it was just because they were one of the first teams to come, and I realized they really wanted me. So I kept them in consideration.
They're about four hours away, and they wrote me as much as they could every day. And their efforts were just as big as the in-state schools.
NN: You didn't expect to commit on the weekend of Dec. 7. So what convinced you PSU was the right place and caused you to commit then?
DH: It's been a long time coming. I've been to many places and I considered every place. Penn State, just going up there on a regular visit, I really wasn't expecting to commit. But I enjoyed everything I saw and all the coaches, and I loved the campus and everything -- and the program especially, that caused me to commit.
NN: That's a little general. What do you mean by the 'program'?
DH: The program means I love what Coach [Bill] O'Brien's doing with the school, and I love how they're moving forward and not trying to move backward from anything -- and how everyone on the campus is handling it. Everyone still loves their football team, and I could tell that everybody loves the team, and I just love the program. It's great how much attention it gets and how everyone's hyped it.
NN: You're definitely right about what this team means to the community. But you've never been to a game before -- so how did you come to that realization?
DH: Just hanging out with my host, Allen Robinson. I talked with him and how everyone followed him and how he did this past season, and you can see everyone follows football at Penn State.
He was a laid-back kid. He wasn't really a loud person; he's more like me -- kind of quiet, but once you get to be friends and stuff, you come out. He showed me things Penn State had to offer and told me about Coach Hixon and Coach O'Brien and how they did their offense and how they enjoyed everything.
NN: Honestly, I thought you were more of a lean toward Virginia or one of the in-state schools. Did PSU surprise you with what it had to offer; did it have something those schools couldn't offer?
DH: Well, I tried to tell everybody that I had no favorites and no No.1 school and that everybody was open. But, at Virginia, they had coaching changes and they fired the wide receivers coach. And Penn State did have everything Virginia had -- but they had all that and more. And I just realized that Penn State would've probably been the best fit. [Virginia] will probably have to start from scratch with O-linemen and stuff, so I didn't really have a favorite until I went to Penn State.
NN: What do you think are your strengths and weaknesses as a wide receiver?
DH: I think what's not good with me too much is my size because I'm undersized as a wideout, but what's good is my route-running. I'm really precise, and I know how to get open. And I think my strength in my route-running so I can get over a smaller DB, and I like to go over and get the ball and I use my hands well. But I need to work on speed, of course, and getting a bit stronger -- and, really, all things.
I'm 6-foot, and Allen is 6-3 or 6-4. I would say we're similiar; I can definitely see some similarities with him.
NN: Would you prefer to redshirt this season and maybe see an extra bowl? Or would you like to play immediately?
DH: I haven't thought about it too much. If I get a chance to play early, then I will. I'm not looking to redshirt. That's not my mind-set I want to go in with. I want to get early playing time if I possibly can. It's not a big deal to me, not necessarily. If I did have to redshirt, I'd live with it.