With Alex Kenney, it always seemed to be more a question of when he would commit to Penn State, not if.
When came Tuesday afternoon.
State College's second-team all-state slotback finally stopped putting off the apparently inevitable and pulled the trigger, committing to the Nittany Lions during a meeting with his parents and Penn State recruiting coordinator Mike McQueary.
It was just a formality. Although Kenney said he had never committed to a Penn State coach until yesterday, previous Lion recruits like P.J. Jones and Adrian Coxson already had been referring to the 6-foot, 194-pound Little Lion speedster as being among their ranks for months.
"I guess it always seemed like that,'' Kenney said.
Kenney said he had around 25 scholarship offers. The rest of his top four included Michigan State, North Carolina and Virginia.
"Penn State has almost [filled] its entire class. I didn't want to be that last guy,'' said Kenney, the 13th player and third receiver to verbally commit for a 2010 Lion class expected to end up around 18 signees. "Toward the end of the school year, myself and Coach McQueary built a good relationship. I knew, unless something out of the ordinary happened, I was going to wind up at Penn State.''
Kenney said that his reasons for choosing Penn State were its closeness to home, the coaches telling him that he had a chance to get on the field "relatively early'' and the overall quality of the football program and academics. Kenney's father, Larry, is a kinesiology professor at Penn State, but Alex is looking at majoring in communications.
Kenney's family are Penn State season-ticket holders. Kenney's friend and former State College classmate, Levi Norwood, committed to the Lions a couple of weeks ago.
"It's definitely hard to turn down a school like Penn State. I know a lot of people, they see me around town and say they want me to do well at Penn State,'' Kenney said. "It's an easy adjustment for me to go to college there.''
Kenney brings big-play potential to the Lions' receiving corps and return game. As a junior for the 12-1 Little Lions, Kenney averaged almost 13 yards per carry with runs of 80, 78, 67 and 59 yards, had kickoff returns of 73, 64 and 60 yards and an 85-yard punt return.
He scored 13 touchdowns and was selected Class AAAA second team all-state by The Associated Press. Although primarily used as a rusher, he also caught 16 passes for 240 yards and four TDs.
Kenney is also one of the most accomplished sprinters in the state. At this spring's District 6 Class AAA track meet, he tied A.J. Alexander's record in the 100 meters with a time of 10.64 seconds, and his personal record is 10.59. In the last two years at the state championships, he has finished with silver, bronze, fourth and fifth-place medals in the 100 and 200,
"Division I is all about speed. He definitely has that,'' said State College coach Al Wolski, who brought Kenney up to the varsity as a freshman. "Watching him from his freshman year through his junior year and now going into his senior year, he's gotten better every year as a football player.
"He's gotten more physical, more definitive as a football player, like when he does up for the ball. He realizes now that he can make people miss. He's got really nice hands. We don't throw a lot, but we've been working on some things in seven-on-sevens. And he can do something after he catches it, which is nice.''
Recent Lion quarterback recruit Rob Bolden had a chance to work with Kenney at Penn State's senior camp last month. He said he tried to get into his rotation to throw to him.
"He got around a lot of guys and made it easy for me,'' Bolden said. [His speed] was evident. He had a lot of guys looking like they weren't even there. It was like I was playing catch with him.''
Kenney is only in his fifth year of playing football - he was a soccer player until eighth grade. He took up the sport to follow in his older brother Matt's footsteps.
"I like being on the field, especially at our high school. Running onto the field is the best feeling,'' Kenney said. "I can only imagine what it will be like running onto the field at Penn State.''
In another few months, he won't have to imagine anymore.