Q&A: Vincent happy to be a Lion

Baltimore (Md.) Gilman cornerback Troy Vincent ended the suspense at the end of June by committing to Penn State while on campus for the Nittany Lions' 'Lasch Bash' barbecue.

Vincent committed to Penn State at the 'Lasch Bash' barbecue.

Since then, he has represented the Nittany Lions at The Opening in Oregon and hit it off with some future teammates.

Vincent sat down with Lions247 to talk about his decision and how he hopes to impact Penn State in a positive manner over the next few years. The following is another in our long-running series, Q&A with the Nittany Lions' Newest Commitment.

Lions247: You committed to Penn State at the end of June, can you talk about what led to that decision and why make it now?

Troy Vincent: First off, I was recruited by some really, really great schools and it would have been an honor to attend any of these universities. Penn State just stood out to me over time. It was one of those things where the more I was around it, the more time that went by, the more I fell in love with it and saw the opportunities that were presented to me. I really was just going down there for the cookout, to hang out with the guys and the coaches. But I was comfortable there, it was home, this was the right spot. I was joking with my mom the whole time, saying, 'You need to let me commit,' and said that I needed to wait. But then I got the blessing from both of my parents to commit and I did it.

Lions247: Can you talk about the actual commitment? How did everything go down?

Troy Vincent: We were going back home, we were at the Creamery and my dad texted me saying, 'Whenever you're ready to commit, let me know.' I sent him a text back saying, 'Right now.' So my mom took me back to the office, I called Coach Butler and he and Coach O'Brien went into the office with my mother and sister and I said that I wanted to give them my commitment. He said that no matter what was going to happen, I could attend Penn State and that offer was good for life. So they were pretty excited when I told them.

Lions247: How much selling of Penn State did you have to do to get your parents on board for the decision?

Troy Vincent: It really wasn't selling Penn State. At the end of the day, a university can only sell so much. I've been around football my whole life, so facilities don't impress me, weight rooms, stadiums… I grew up on that. Football was a non-factor, you have to take that out. It was what the people around me were going to be able to instill in me and the culture of the school. That was what had to be sold to my parents. They had to see examples of the people that come out of the university. People have come out of Penn State that we have been around make it a positive reflection on the school.

Lions247: You mentioned Penn State's culture. Obviously that's been a hot-button topic since last summer, so what does that mean to you?

Troy Vincent: Penn State's culture is student athletes who care about school as much as football, if not more. At the same time, however, football is the reason that their education is paid for. They realize there has to be a life after football, so you are going to be professional men. You wear that Nittany Lion tag, you wear it with pride. You don't let anyone bash the name, and you are respectful and professional.

Lions247: When did you know that Penn State was really it for you?

Troy Vincent: I kind of knew that they were the school about a week before the cookout. I was on a college tour with Prime Xample where we were going to different universities. Penn State was my favorite at the time, and I was kind of comparing these other universities to them. I just knew that Penn State was the place for me. I never got the home feel at any other school.

Lions247: Can you talk about their plans for you and how you think you can make an impact down the line?

Troy Vincent: I would like to play corner. Corner, nickel, it doesn't matter to me. I want to bring big-play ability, a smart athlete who can do everything to the best of my abilities to help Penn State. Wherever the coaches want me to play, I'm a football player. It doesn't matter to me. I understand the game, I understand concepts offensively and defensively. That will help me a lot. That's probably what I bring to the table the most.

Lions247: You were raised on the game, do you think you were bred to be a defensive back and how has that aided your progress?

Troy Vincent: Actually, I always wanted to be a wide receiver. That's what I wanted to play, I just loved going up and getting the ball. I think that my dad knew the best about what was transpiring. Schools need DBs, whether it's the MAC, the Big Ten, SEC - if you know how to play it, there's going to be a need for you. He's always been there helping me. He taught me to backpedal before I could even walk. It's in my blood.

Lions247: Your father played for a handful of teams during his career including many years in Philadelphia, do you consider yourself a Pennsylvania guy or anything like that?

Troy Vincent: I don't really claim any area that I've lived in. I never really followed Penn State growing up, I was actually a Miami guy. I loved the Hurricanes, they were my team growing up and they still are my favorite. It's not the school for me, though. I'm very happy with Penn State, I'm ready to be a Lion.

Lions247: What about Wisconsin? Why say no to your father's alma mater?

Troy Vincent: Wisconsin was just not the right fit for me. That's what it's all about, finding the right place for you. Wisconsin has a great coaching staff and it's a great university, it just wasn't for me. It was for Troy Vincent, Sr., not for Troy Vincent, Jr.

Lions247: You just got back from the Opening, what kind of experience was that for you?

Troy Vincent: Man, that was a nice experience. I got to see the level of competition and athleticism that I'll see when I get to college. You think, all of those kids out there are going to bigtime universities. It was a great experience, I went up against some great athletes, I got to challenge myself and I learned a little bit about myself. I just was able to go there and take some things away from it, what I did well, what I didn't do well and learn from that.

Lions247: We spoke with DeAndre Thompkins about the event a few days ago, can you talk about how you two hit it off and what that was like?

Troy Vincent: Oh yeah, that's my dude. I didn't know we were going to hit it off the way that we did, but we vibed so well together. That's what it's going to take to build Penn State back to what it's known for. You get everybody together, get everybody to sit down and laugh and joke and acknowledge each other, when you get onto the field the guys around you are going to know that and everyone will do what they need to do. I think we have a great relationship and I'm very happy about that. Me and him will get together pretty soon, he lives in North Carolina and we have a house in North Carolina, so I think we're going to link up down there.

Lions247: Have you been in touch with the other guys in your class?

Troy Vincent: As of right now, I haven't really, but I think that everybody is going to try to go down to the Arts Festival this weekend and hopefully we all hook up. I'm not worried about it, I'm sure that we'll all hit it off. Even when we were at the cookout, some of the other commits came over and talked to me and they were all cool guys. I'm not worried about that at all. I'm still waiting to see if I can make the trip, make sure that everything is OK to go, hopefully I can, but I'm not 100 percent.

Lions247: Can you talk about the Prime Xample factor and what kind of impact Stephon Morris had on your recruitment?

Troy Vincent: That's like my big brother right now. I look up to him, I respect him and I have faith in him. I believe everything that he tells me. He wasn't ever pushing Penn State, he never told me that I needed to go to Penn State or anything. He said to enjoy the process and go where I want to go. Even though it was a family decision, I was the one that had to live with the decision. He was cool throughout the process, he asked me what I liked and what I wanted in a school. I talked to him and I talked to Roman [Morris] about what made Penn State stand out. Steph was actually about to go to Tennessee before he went to Penn State, but he talked about what Penn State was able to offer that the other schools weren't and decided on Penn State. It was good to hear it from somebody that you know and that you trust.

Lions247: Why do you have the confidence to make this commitment even after what Penn State has been through in the last two years?

Troy Vincent: For me, I had to take away the coaching staff and look at it from that aspect. You never know what can happen, college football is a wild business. So first of all, could I see myself at the university away from football, and yes I could. Then you bring football back into it, I just believe that Coach O'Brien and his staff are going about it the right way. The things that they are doing for young men, turning them into men, is what I believe it. He's a straightforward guy, all the coaches are straightforward and care about you equal, from the first guy on the depth chart to the last. I just believe in the tradition and pride that is needed to be a Nittany Lion. I was at the spring game last year, most of them are not real, but when you see 70,000 people at the spring game, that tells you something. That tells you that they have a fanbase that is going to stand behind them no matter what. That really opened my eyes.

Lions247: You weren't a huge fan of the recruiting process, so how does it feel to be done with it and be a Nittany Lion?

Troy Vincent: It's just one less thing that I have to worry about. I can focus on Gilman football, finishing out my senior year strong and carrying that momentum over into being a Nittany Lion.

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