It was Penn State's rout of Nebraska on Sept. 14 that did the trick for Dan Mazan.
The 6-foot-4, 295 pound offensive guard from Carteret, N.J. wasn't too sure about Penn State when he began narrowing down his college options at the beginning of the fall. Then he made an unofficial visit to Penn State for the Lions' 40-7 win.
"That was a turning point. I wasn't really sure about them but then I got there for the Nebraska game and it was just unbelievable," Mazan said. "I was talking about it for a week after. People around here go to Giants games and they're exciting but I told them it's nothing like a Penn State game. You just don't know what it can be like until you go to a Penn State game."
Mazan became Penn State's fifth verbal commitment for its upcoming recruiting class on Dec. 3. He informed Penn State assistant head coach Fran Ganter when Ganter made a visit to Carteret that day.
"I just couldn't turn down Coach Ganter when he visited my school," Mazan said. "I just had a great vibe about the school. I love the way they play smash-mouth football."
Mazan had 41 scholarship offers and he was considering visits to Nebraska, Boston College, Ohio State, Florida and Florida State. He will still make an official visit to PSU on Dec. 13.
"He was just very impressed with the entire package," Carteret coach Bob Mollarz said. "Penn State is a school with tradition and fine academics. He's going to be an offensive lineman and Penn State is known for having produced some pretty good offensive linemen."
Mazan helped lead Carteret to a 7-3 record in 2002 and a division championship. Mollarz said he and his staff have not yet compiled the final stats for this season, but as a junior Mazan had 78 pancake blocks. Mollarz said Mazan may have doubled that total as a senior. He also played at defensive tackle.
"He's the most complete offensive lineman I have ever coached," Mollarz said. "He's got good speed and he's strong. He plays intelligently and he plays with a mean streak."
He may play with a mean streak, but Mazan's also a community-minded student-athlete. He was recently ordained a Ukrainian Orthodox deacon at his church, St. Demetrius.
"Ever since I was about seven or eight I was an altar server and I read from the Bible in church," Mazan said. "About a month and a half ago, my priest told me this was something I could do. As part of the ceremony, they have to cut your hair, which was pretty tough, because I shave my head bald."
Mazan was selected a G&W Recruiting Report All-Northeast offensive lineman and is ranked a four-star, top 15 offensive guard nationally by Rivals.com. He has 4.9 40-yard speed, benches 380 pounds and squats 550 pounds.
He is also a good student with a 3.5 GPA and he is planning a criminal justice major at Penn State.
"He's very civic-minded. He does a lot of things in the community," Mollarz said. "He's also very intelligent, a good student."