Coatesville High junior Daquan Worley, a quick-footed running back and defensive back, orally committed Friday morning to play for Penn State.
The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder, who helped lead the Red Raiders to the PIAA Class AAAA state championship game last season, is projected to play cornerback for the Nittany Lions. He is the seventh player - and first defensive back - to commit for the Class of 2014.
"Deep down, he just really felt like he wanted to be part of the Penn State community," Coatesville head coach Matt Ortega said. "He liked the campus, the athletic part of it, and the academic piece."
Rutgers was the runner-up for the speedster's services. Scarlet Knights defensive coordinator Dave Cohen and defensive backs coach Darrell Wilson visited Coatesville on Thursday. "They made one last push," Ortega said. "It was close."
Of Penn State and Rutgers, Ortega said, "Both schools did a heck of a job recruiting him. Both made him feel like he was a priority. But at the end of the day, he was very clear in his gut about where he wanted to go."
Worley, an Inquirer first-team all-Southeastern Pennsylvania selection on defense last season, also had scholarship offers from Georgia Tech, Massachusetts, Old Dominion, and Pittsburgh. Georgia Tech, with its triple-option attack, considered him as a running back.
Worley took an unofficial visit to Penn State during spring practice. Nittany Lions linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden was at Coatesville earlier this week. "He did a very thorough job," Ortega said of Vanderlinden.
In the recruitment of Worley, Vanderlinden had help from Penn State strength and conditioning coach Craig Fitzgerald and defensive backs coach John Butler. Both starred at La Salle High.
"Daquan is an absolute beast when it comes to working out," Ortega said. "He really gets after it. I think it will be a good relationship between him and Craig Fitzgerald."
Due to the child sex-abuse scandal, Penn State, by NCAA sanction, has to be at 65 scholarships or fewer by the start of the 2014 season. It cannot compete in any bowl games until 2016.
"Even with the sanctions, Daquan wanted to be at Penn State," Ortega said. "He wants to be part of what [coach] Bill O'Brien is building in State College."
With only 15 scholarships to offer because of the sanctions, O'Brien is actively seeking players who can compete at more than one position or can contribute on special teams.
At running back last season, Worley, who competes in sprints and the 4x100 relay in track and field, carried 228 times for 1,777 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Coatesville went 13-3 and reached the state final before losing to District 7's North Allegheny, 63-28, in Hershey.