In a nationally-televised decision on ESPN2, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy running back Noah Cain committed to the Penn State Nittany Lions over the Texas Longhorns and others, confirming recent positive buzz coming from Happy Valley.
The 5’10, 208-pounder opted against returning to Texas to play his college football after taking an official visit to Penn State in November, a trip that clearly tipped the scales in Cain’s recruitment. However, Cain was admittedly torn on his decision to spurn Texas in favor of James Franklin’s program, and, in fact, he told BON’s Joe Hamilton following his decision that he was a Longhorns lean as of this morning.
“To be honest, I was a Texas lean this morning. I was telling my parents, Texas, Texas, Texas,” Cain said. “But I prayed, and it was a hard night just going back on Penn State or Texas. Those were the two final schools that were here with me until this day. They stayed with me consistently. Honestly it came down to where would I be the most focused at and not around distractions. Everybody knows Austin is a big city but I have to be focused through and out. I’m a business dude, I gotta handle my business. And just be different. It might not be the most popular decision, but it is the best decision for myself.”
The Longhorns had hosted Cain the weekend before and made him a key target throughout the recruiting cycle, but ultimately fell short, raising questions about whether position coach Stan Drayton will be able to pair another talented running back with Buford (Ga.) signee Derrian Brown.
The question that loomed largest for Cain, however, was how well he would be featured in Texas offense, and that was a question Cain felt Penn State has a better answer for.
“The biggest thing was that I just had to trust the offense that I’ll be playing in,” Cain told BON. “Penn State has already established their running culture. I love Coach Drayton and Coach Herman, but I just had to make that I’m going with a consistent offense that’s going to feature me in running the ball and that’s why I did it.”
IMG Academy teammate Trey Sanders is set to decide in several hours, but the Horns are less likely to land Sanders than they were to land Cain. Junior college target Rhamondre Stevenson signed with Oklahoma earlier this morning. And Texas wasn’t able to even sure a visit from late-rising Florida product DJ Williams.
In fact, the only uncommitted running back target out there is Katy’s Deondrick Glass, who wasn’t exactly high on the radar throughout most of the cycle.
So Drayton has his work cut out for himself in the coming weeks.