Noah Spence, No. 4 in the ESPNU 150, will not make any hasty decisions regarding Penn State and will let the situation play out before re-positioning Penn State on his list of schools, according to Jeff Weachter, Spence’s coach at Harrisburg (Pa.) Bishop McDevitt.
“His dad is in the same boat as mine, and that was before we even knew they were going to let Joe go,” Weachter said. “You have to wait and see what happens and let it play out. Penn State is still a good university.
“He’s just looking to see how it plays out.”
Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson is Spence’s main recruiter, and Spence and his father, Greg, have a great relationship with Johnson. Whether Johnson is retained by the new coach could be one of the defining factors of Spence’s recruitment with only two months left before his planned decision date of Jan. 5.
Johnson was even at McDevitt’s game last weekend.
“He’ll have to sit back and see who the next coach is and who will be on staff,” Weachter said.
On Monday, Spence caused a stir when he tweeted about the situation at Penn State. Spence initially wrote, “Um psu might be a no no for me ewwww.” When asked to explain why by a Penn State fan, Spence tweeted, “i kind of just dnt want to be apart of that.”
Weachter said people shouldn’t look too much into Spence’s statements on Twitter. Weachter said he and Spence’s father spoke with him about all the eyes watching him and that every word has the possibility of becoming national attention. Weachter said that Spence hasn’t written off Penn State.
For Weachter, whose McDevitt program churns out some of the state’s best prospects every year, the entire situation at Penn State is “tragic but shocking” to him. Weachter knew Jerry Sandusky from helping out with a few clinics Sandusky ran at Penn State. Sandusky has been charged with 40 counts of sexually abusing eight children over a 15-year period.
“I cliniced with Tom Bradley and Jerry for three days, watched practice and spent the day with them," he said. "I met Jerry a few times and thought he was a real good guy, a very good defensive coach. He’s really the first kind of coach where he really didn’t just give me clinic talk. He told me what they do.
“Our defense at McDevitt, we call the front ‘State’ for Penn State. That’s where I learned it from.”
Weachter has also had a number of face-to-face discussions with Paterno over the years. He didn’t find out about Paterno’s firing until early this morning, but Weachter said it was a “shame” Paterno’s career ended this way, especially with a phone call.
“I don’t know all the details, but I would say Joe Paterno is a good man,” Weachter said. “It’s a shame he had to go out this way – 46 years and so much for the university. A face-to-face meeting would have been the least you could expect. I don’t think a phone call is really the right way to do it.
“In my dealings with Joe, he’s a good man and a good role model.”