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Hopewell Junior High Football

Hopewell’s James Armstrong Recaps Visit to Penn State



College football programs across the country are conducting spring practices in preparation for the upcoming season.

During this two-month period, coaches are able to work with and get on the practice field for the first time and evaluate the players, especially the young ones, on their roster.

The other big part of spring practices is that teams invite all sorts of high school recruits to come to their facility and watch their team practice and learn more about their environment. During these unofficial visits, recruits check out the facilities, interact with members of the team and be there for a live practice, which is a lot different than what they’re used to in high school.

Getting an invite to a college teams practice is no guarantee that the player will be receiving a scholarship offer in the future. However, it is a sign that you’re someone that team is aware of and that they’ll be keeping an eye on your progress over the upcoming months/years.

Hopewell 8th grade quarterback James Armstrong was fortunate enough to receive a spring invite and it came from James Franklin and the Penn State Nittany Lions. Yesterday, Armstrong traveled to State College to attend the Nittany Lions afternoon practice.

This was the first spring invite that Armstrong has received and with it coming from Penn State, that’s a pretty big deal for a kid that hasn’t even taken a high school snap.

“I received the invite from Coach Terry Smith, and he wanted me to come out and be there for a spring practice,” said Armstrong. “Being able to make my first visit was important. I see (on Twitter) everyone else receiving invites and attending practices and I thought that it would be cool to experience and that it would be fun.”

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So, Armstrong did just that and took Penn State up on their invitation. James left Hopewell yesterday morning with his father and made the 3+ hour drive to State College and upon arrival, had a busy afternoon.

“When we got there, we went to Beaver Stadium and got to see the locker room and then got to go on the field and walk around,” said Armstrong.  “After that, we got bused over to the practice facility and met with the Penn State coaches, who took his height and weight, hand size and wingspan. Then, Armstrong and other recruits got the opportunity to sit in the Nittany Lions meeting room with the players and coaches as they had a pre-practice meeting. Following that, he got to the tour the training facility and went to the field to watch the players practice.”

“It was cool to be able to see and meet some of the other recruits that were there. When I scroll around on Twitter, I see a lot of them, it was cool to be there with them and be in a group with them.”

As far as watching his first college practice, Armstrong said, “it was great, the atmosphere was amazing. The practice was very organized, they did everything for a certain amount of time. The players were crazy good.”

Armstrong tells me that he didn’t focus on one certain thing during practice and tried to watch everything in order to take everything in.

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