Editor's Note: This is the 11th in a series of stories that will profile each of the players in Penn State's Class of 2012.
Wendy Laurent said Penn State had long been a 'dream school' for him.
All the way up through his final week of high school, Wendy Laurent would be in the weight room at the Hun School in Princeton, N.J., a little before 6 a.m., getting in the first workout of the day.
"He's a grinder," said Hun head football coach Dave Dudeck. "He's always had work ethic, determination and the drive to get better."
Laurent, who will join Penn State's offensive line this fall, didn't have to look far to find examples of that work ethic.
In 2010, Hun fielded an offensive line that included five future Division I players -- A.J. Dillione and A.J. Zuttah (Dartmouth), Zach Hundertmark (New Hampshire), Anthony Alosi, who went to Penn State, and Laurent.
"Every year he had one two or three Division I linemen that he would practice with every day," Dudeck said. "He got to learn first-hand what it took to play at that level."
Dillione, Zuttah, Hundertmark and Alosi were all post-graduates who had come to Hun after successful careers at other high schools. Laurent was home-grown, a four-year starter for Dudeck and long-time friend of his son, David, who will play at Boston College this fall.
Alosi who, like Laurent, was a terror on both sides of the line, took special care to help Laurent blossom.
"I was kind of the younger one on the line," Laurent said. "He was a great help. He helped me to improve my skills and we build a friendship. He'd come back for our games. When I told him I got the offer (from Penn State), he told me to come out for a visit. He told me all the ins and outs of Penn State."
When the Nittany Lions offered Laurent a scholarship in mid-January, his most notable offers had been from Buffalo, Elon and Richmond. He had begun to receive feelers from Rutgers and UConn and had planned to visit both schools but that desire ended once Penn State came calling.
"I just kind of grew up a Penn State fan," he said. "It's always been a dream school for me."
Laurent was born in Haiti and came to the United States with his family -- parents Millery and Mada and older brother Mikron -- when he was just nine months old.
"My dad had made a couple trips over to America and just saw the opportunities it presented," Laurent said. "He thought it would be a better upbringing for us."
Laurent's early football career hit a snag when he couldn't make the weight limit for two years on his youth league teams.
"We kept on saying, 'Wendy, be patient, good things will happen to you,'" Dudeck said.
When he got to high school, Laurent still had a big body. But it was a strong one, too. He bench-presses 350 pounds and squats 465, partially the result of all of those early-morning weight room sessions.
"The legs came easy, came naturally to me," he said. "Benching wise, my arms are a little longer. That didn't come as easy."
Laurent played every position on both sides of the line during his time at Hun. Penn State's coaches have talked to him about playing center, though he could also see time at guard. Dudeck believes it's only a matter of how Laurent's body continues to develop. He's over 280 pounds already.
"He's growing every day in a positive way," Dudeck said. "Wherever Coach decides to use him, I'm sure he'll learn that position and do that well for you. He really doesn't care where he plays."