So when the FOX Sports NEXT three-star interior 'backer phoned Nittany Lions' linebacker coach Ron Vanderlinden, who quickly shuffled the phone off to head man Bill O'Brien, there was no doubt in his or his family's mind that Penn State was where the Class of 2014 standout wanted to commit after making an unofficial visit to University Park Saturday.
“You know, I felt good about it. I had a great, great trip this weekend, and saw and heard everything I needed to be 100 percent confident,” Reeder explained Tuesday night, fresh off a lengthy workout session. “So why wait any longer? I had a free period, and I went down to [Salesianum head coach William DiNardo's] office with one of the assistant coaches, and made it happen.”
As the family returned to the First State from the Keystone State over the weekend, there was never once chatter about committing, even though the 6-foot-3, 232-pound Reeder admits he was considering it heading into Saturday. Rather, the conversation with his mother, father and brother centered around how great the visit was. It wasn't until Sunday or Monday that there was a consensus to take action.
“We kept talking about how it was the perfect place, and then, eventually, we kind of all at the same time were like, 'You know what, this Is the perfect place,' ” Reeder said. “I don't think I'm going to find a better for me, and they don't think they could ever imagine it a place that would be a better fit.
“That was all kind of neat,” he added. “It wasn't me coming to them, or them coming and pushing it on me. We all, at the same time, decided that after everything that we gathered, especially after this weekend, that it was the time, and that it didn't make sense to prolong it any longer, because I and we are 100 percent confident.”
The junior recounted the phone call with his future coaches as a joyful one, recalling Vanderlinden and O'Brien being as excited as he was about his decision to commit, and with good reason. The veteran position coach had early on established a relationship with the Nittany Lions' top inside linebacker target, one that only grew as Reeder continue to visit the University Park campus.
Things only got better when Vanderlinden, and eventually O'Brien, made the three-hour-and-change trek south to visit DiNardo.
“They put a lot of time in me, and me with them. I've been up there three times, and they've been down here a lot, even though I can't see them,” the junior said. “They've been really good to me over the past year, and I've had a great time getting to know Coach Vanderlinden. It's a relationship that is going to be great for me in college, and to have him as my position coach and mentor; he's a great guy.
“And as for Coach O'Brien, I'm not sure there is a better leader that I would like to play for. I saw that from him all season, and saw that from him at the Junior Day this past weekend, and every time I've met him.”
The most important meeting may have been Saturday, though. The Reeder family met with Vanderlinden and O'Brien, along with checking out all the facilities and academic support that the program has to offer. And make no mistake about it: without Saturday's visit, Reeder would likely not have committed in the dying days of February.
“Spending time with the coaches was very important,” he said. “They're great guys, and I know that I can build a great relationship with them, and my family will be extremely happy that I can play for them for the next four or five years. And that goes for the entire staff. But, you know, it was more than just sitting down with them and talking to them. It was the whole package, everything I saw -- the facilities and the business school, and was able to talk to one of the business professors for about an hour. That was great. And getting to see campus in full swing was great timing, too. If it was an ordinary visit, then I would have to say I probably would have delayed the decision a few months.”
Reeder plans to pursue a degree in the Smeal College of Business one day, but before that, and before he even can suit up for summer drills, he'll follow in the footsteps of the early commits that came before him, acting as a messenger to other recruits about what the Penn State program is all about.
“That's one of the reasons I wanted to commit as soon as I did if I knew it was the right spot and time for me to commit to the program,” Reeder said. “One of the things I said to Coach O'Brien was, 'Use me as a resource.' I want to be a part of it, and call kids I'll be playing with and help recruit them from a commit standpoint. I want to be able to tell them from that point of view what a great place it is, and what they have going on and everything about Penn State. I know what somebody going through the same thing is going through and thinking, and I want to help get the right people into Penn State to help us in the next few years be extremely successful. And help my class and the class after that, and beyond that.”
O'Brien gave Reeder his word that he would be the only interior linebacker to be offered in this cycle, or “the man” as the junior said his future head coach put it. He also believes the Nittany Lions may recruit an outside linebacker to potentially join his Class of 2014, which already includes DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) running back Mark Allen, and fellow recent commitment Nicholas Scott of Fairfax High (Va.).
Reeder will attempt to reach out to both and build a relationship in the coming weeks, at the same time preparing for his upcoming lacrosse season. All with the goal of helping to build the Nittany Lion program.