Virginia offensive lineman recruit stays true to choice


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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- He was packing this morning, preparing to leave Friday from his home in Virginia to State College and an unresolved coaching situation neither he nor anyone else can figure out at this point.

"That is a big mystery," Chasz Wright said.

Every one of Penn State's recruits will have an important decision to make once the Penn State coaching search ends and a future leader is announced. But Wright, a 6-foot-7, 300-pound offensive lineman, has already made his.

He has chosen to enroll at Penn State for the spring semester after committing to the university just three days before Bill O'Brien left for the NFL. His first day of class is Monday. Without knowledge of the man who will be leading him during his college career, he remains confident Penn State is the right school for him.

Wright's recruitment has followed a path unlike any of the other 19 commitments in Penn State's tenuous recruiting class. Penn State had no idea Wright was available until a month ago. In fact, the Nittany Lions thought he was playing football for Connecticut.

He originally had planned on attending there after he graduated high school in 2013 but instead chose to spend a semester at Milford Academy in upstate New York, working on his grades and test scores and football.

Wright said a Penn State recruiter was visiting Milford to see other recruits in December when Wright walked into the office of his coach, Bill Chaplick, and Penn State realized Wright was actually still available. Communication between Penn State assistant Larry Johnson and Wright began immediately.

From the moment he filled out a generic questionnaire sent to him by the school his sophomore year of high school, Wright had dreamed of playing for Penn State. Joe Paterno was the coach back then. He attended a junior day camp the next year, when O'Brien was in charge. Wright met him. He started liking Penn State even more.

When Wright committed Dec. 28 to play for Penn State, after originally being committed to Temple, it seemed he would get to spend even more time under O'Brien's tutelage. Of course, that wouldn't last.

Three days after his commitment, news broke that O'Brien had accepted the head coaching position for the Houston Texans. The move didn't shock Wright. O'Brien had partially warned him before he committed.

"I think we both knew," Wright said. "When he talked to me he said, 'make sure you and your parents know you're coming to Penn State for Penn State. You're not coming to Penn State just to be coached under me.'

"I get what he was saying because Penn State is going to always be Penn State."

In Wright, Chaplick says Penn State will be getting a talented kid with a good family and good personality who could be a significant contributor for three years.

In Penn State, Wright has no idea what he will be getting as far as a head coach. The promise of the experience he has desired for years, however, is enough for him.

"Penn State," Wright said, "has always been number one in my heart."

More on the search

CBS' Bruce Feldman reported Wednesday that Penn State had interviewed San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman earlier this week. Roman has been the offensive coordinator for the 49ers under coach Jim Harbaugh since 2011. Before that he was Harbaugh's offensive coordinator at Stanford.

Mark Dent:, 412-439-3791 and Twitter @mdent05.

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