Rivals250 OL Drew Shelton: 'It was like nothing I've ever seen before'
Penn State was given the opportunity to host the highest-ranked player in its class Tuesday in offensive lineman Drew Shelton.
A Rivals250 prospect from Downingtown, Pa., Shelton committed to the Nittany Lions back in Sept. 2020, then transferred to IMG Academy this past winter. Like so many in the Class of 2022, he did it without ever taking a true unofficial visit to meet with James Franklin and the Penn State football staff. That made this a trip he won’t forget any time soon.
"It was like nothing I've ever seen before,” Shelton said. “I got to walk through Beaver Stadium, and that was insane. I've never been inside. Just looking at it from the ground up is just insane. The Lasch Building was top notch and they're still going to do 70 million dollars worth of more stuff. I don't know how much better it can get.
"I thought the locker room was super cool. I got to sit in Allen Robinson's locker today. We also got to talk to a couple of important people [Sandy Barbour and Eric Barron]. That was pretty cool. But man, just being with Coach Franklin and Coach [Phil] Trautwein, that was a good time. They're the same that they are on the phone, which makes it easy."
Shelton’s relationship with Penn State was kickstarted by then graduate assistant Ty Howle last summer, but in the months leading up to his commitment, Trautwein, who coaches the offensive line, became his lead recruiter. After dozens of FaceTimes, Zooms and even a few Fortnite battles, Shelton said that the time he spent with his future position coach was one of the major highlights of the trip.
"I got out of the car, met him at Beaver Stadium and I don't think he left my side until I left at 5:45,” Shelton said. “We went over X's and O's, we went over his coaching philosophy, we went over practice tape, my game tape, all of that. I just spent so much time with him and Coach Franklin. We got to go to lunch and pretty much the entire offensive staff was there, which was really cool to me. Those guys really made me feel like I was a priority. Coach Trautwein is just real genuine. I had a good time with him. That was a big part of the visit for me.”
In regards to Franklin, Shelton went on to add, “man, he's great. He's the same guy that he puts out there for everyone to see. There's nothing fake with him. We have a real good bond and I know it became tighter [Tuesday]. It was definitely good to spend a lot of time with him."
Although Shelton is committed, he hasn’t completely shut down his recruitment. Last week, he admitted that he’s still in contact with Dan Mullen and the staff at Florida. Notre Dame and Georgia are also interested in hosting him for an official visit this summer. Currently, his plans are still up in the air.
“We didn’t really talk about it much,” Shelton said. “They’ve always done a great job not putting pressure on me, which I really appreciate it. This trip was about building on our relationships and we definitely did that. I’m looking forward to coming up there for my official in a couple weeks.”
Shelton will return to Penn State for his official visit June 18-20.