Five-star cornerback Lamont Wade visited Penn State on Feb. 27, and as his recruiting cycle began to intensify, the message he received from Penn State coach James Franklin rang true.
“The whole moral of it was he’s not letting me go,” Wade said at the time. “He’s not letting me leave. He has to get me.”
Wade announced moments ago he is signing grant-in-aid papers with Penn State and enrolling in January. He chose the Nittany Lions ahead of West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Tennessee and UCLA.
Landing Wade, who plays at Clairton (Pa.) High, is a huge coup for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State began recruiting the 5' 10 1/2", 180-pound Wade during his first season at Clairton, and he made so many trips to campus he could not remember how many times he was there.
However, each time he arrived, he knew the Nittany Lions wanted him.
“Penn State treats me like home every time I come up,” he said in the summer. “It’s close to home, but it’s not home.
“They definitely make me feel like a priority. They always hit me up, and I’m always hitting them up, and any time I talk to one coach, I talk to the whole coaching staff.”
Terry Smith, who coaches the secondary at Penn State, actually started recruiting Wade as an assistant at Temple. Wade always remembered that, and he played a huge role in the decision.
The relationship was built long before Wade was a prospect. Smith, a former coach at Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway, is friends with Wade’s uncle, Wayne Wade, the coach at Clairton.
“I have a really good relationship with Coach Terry,” Wade said during his recruitment. “He was one of the first coaches to start recruiting me. I built a good relationship with Coach Terry.
“He always talks to me about a whole bunch of different things. He mainly tells me about their alumni (connections) and how I’ll be set for life after football with a degree from Penn State.”
Wade is the 18th member of Franklin’s Class of 2017 and the first five-star prospect to join the group. This marks the third straight year Penn State has landed the No. 1 recruit in the Keystone State.