With Penn State apparently trailing Notre Dame and Wisconsin already and battling Michigan just for a spot in the top three, it didn't appear a one-day unofficial visit with his dad could to a whole lot to change the Nittany Lions' fortunes recruiting J.J. Denman.
"I got up there and I wasn't expecting to commit anytime soon,'' Denman said. "I thought I'd make a decision in June.''
Instead, the third visit to University Park turned out to be the charm for the mauling, 6-foot-6, 310-pound big-time right tackle prospect from Pennsbury High School right outside Philadelphia. He slept on it a few nights and committed to the Lions last Wednesday, becoming the eighth member of Penn State's 2012 recruiting class.
"When I'd been up there before, I didn't get to see everything,'' said Denman, whose May 14 visit included a tour of the campus and meetings with position coach Bill Kenney and Lion head coach Joe Paterno. "Being around the coaches again and just knowing I was wanted probably is what made the difference.''
Ranked in the top 250 prospects in the country by all four major recruiting services, the road-grading lineman who started playing football in third grade in Arkansas before his father took a job that moved the family to the northeast about six years ago also had been on the campuses of Boston College, Rutgers and UConn in addition to his top four schools.
Denman, who began drawing attention as a sophomore, said there were still colleges trying to stay involved with him.
"I'm pretty set on Penn State,'' Denman said. "Certain people might want me to take a trip to visit [their school]. We'll see. I may take a couple. I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up at Penn State, though.''
Denman said he likes to pattern his game after Jake Long and Jon Runyan. According to his coach, he does a good job emulating those NFL Pro Bowlers.
"He's big, he's athletic, he's strong and he's tough,'' Pennsbury coach Galen Snyder said. "I've known him from junior high. He's always been good. Some big guys develop late, but he's always been good.
"He has very good feet. We're mostly a running team, but I think he should be able to make the transition to pass protection. He plays with a nasty streak.''
Denman played varsity as a freshman before becoming the Falcons' starting center in 2009 and sliding over to tackle last season. Pennsbury is 23-10 in his three seasons.
"He's pretty much dominant every game. There are plays where he'll drive guys 10 yards downfield,'' Snyder said.
Denman, who bench presses 355 pounds, counts working out among his favorite pastimes along with playing basketball, watching movies and spending time with his friends.
"Getting on people, staying on them and finishing my blocks is my favorite thing,'' Denman said.
Denman, whose initials stand for "John Jr.,'' said he hasn't really gotten to know any of the current Nittany Lions yet, but he's already trying to add to his list of future teammates.
"I'm working on somebody - Chris Muller from Boyertown,'' Denman said, referring to the offensive lineman who has been picked to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and already is believed to have Penn State high on his list. "I've gotten to know him through visits.''
Denman is considering enrolling early at Penn State.
"I'm not sure yet,'' Denman said. "I'm going to look into it. Enrolling early is appealing.''