Versatile defensive back Trent Gordon is the latest to join Penn State’s superb 2018 recruiting class — and his coach wasn’t surprised at all.
Gordon, a four-star safety according to Rivals with cornerback potential, verbally committed to the Nittany Lions early Wednesday morning, adding another member to Penn State’s No. 2-ranked 2018 class.
Gordon chose Penn State over Michigan, Oklahoma, LSU, Florida and five other schools in his top 10.
Kirk Martin, Gordon’s head coach at Manvel High School outside Houston, said the defensive back felt at home in Happy Valley.
“When he came back from there, he just raved about it and what a first class operation it was,” Martin said of Gordon, who visited Penn State in mid-March. “The thing in recruiting is the good kids can tell when they’re being fed a line, and I think he appreciated the honesty of the coaches at Penn State. No one promised him anything, just to come in and compete and get after it.”
Martin isn’t totally sure where Gordon, the first player listed as a cornerback to be added this cycle by Penn State, projects at the college level.
The 5-foot-11, 172-pounder starred at safety in his junior season, recording the second-most tackles on the team (81) with a pair of interceptions. Manvel has a recent history of producing blue-chip safeties, too, as Deontay Anderson and Derrick Tucker have committed to Ole Miss and Texas A&M, respectively, the past two seasons.
But if Gordon doesn’t grow a couple inches, cornerback could be where he lands, and that would be just fine, according to Martin. He uses Gordon at safety, but said he’s “suited for corner.”
“He’s long and can really run, but we needed a safety,” the coach added. “… The best thing about him is he’s unselfish. He’ll play wherever he’s needed. That’s what you want.”
From the perspective of James Franklin and his staff, what’s also desired is a guy who won’t flip a commitment. Franklin has made his approach to recruiting clear in the past: if a guy isn’t ready to commit for the long haul, then don’t commit just yet.
Martin preaches the same message to his players, which is why he believes Gordon’s commitment will hold up until next year’s National Signing Day.
“We use the marriage analogy, and look you’re engaged now, and you don’t date other people when you’re engaged,” Martin said. “I feel strongly it’ll hold up, unless something catastrophic happened.”