It’s hard to believe that signing day for the 2012 recruiting class was nearly four months ago. As those young men close out their high school careers and prepare for the next level, we’re going to check back in with them.
Malik Golden was recruited as an athlete but was expected to play wide receiver at the time of his commitment. Some things have changed since then and I think he has an excellent defensive back skillset. It’s likely that he’ll see some action all over the field in the early stages of Summer camp.
You originally committed to Penn State in August, did you have second thoughts in November or December?
“Yeah I had a lot of second thoughts. I was very high on Iowa, then I had other schools like Duke, Wisconsin and Vanderbilt started calling. I started second-guessing, took some visits…took a Penn State visit and just thought ‘this is it-there’s no point in seeing anymore’ and I just re-committed on the spot.”
You have a relationship with fellow class of 2012 member Jake Kiley that began on the field, as opponents. What happened in that game?
“We played eachother, and I knew he was a junior who was probably going to get some looks. We met at a Boston College Junior Day and started talking, then met up at another event and then finally met at a Penn State camp. We were together all day because they were recruiting us. We just hit it off, started talking, laughing and just enjoyed eachother’s company.”
(Malik’s team won that original matchup, but he chose to take the high road and not mention that.)
You were considered an “athlete” coming out of high school. Do you know what position you’ll be playing in college?
“I’m starting off at wide receiver. I heard Curtis Drake is no longer on the team, which is unfortunate, so I know we’re thin at defensive back. If something happens and we need more depth at DB, I’m willing and able to play. When Summer camp starts, we’ll have a definite answer.”
In high school, did you prefer offense or defense?
“I did love offense, but I especially liked it when the other team had a very good receiver and I had to play corner against him. So, if I had to play defense it would be corner. A shut-down, take away half the field type of player.”
I think most athletes have a defined spot coming out but I honestly think you could play either way and with the defensive back depth chart the way it is, somebody is going to get looks as a freshman. Do you specifically want to play corner on the defensive side?
“I feel comfortable at corner but if they need a safety, I also have the ability- if I work on my tackling a little bit- then I think I could be a great safety, too.”
What was your initial impression of Coach O’Brien?
“My coach knew Coach O’Brien from Duke and they had a past relationship. My coach was a little skeptical about me going to Penn State at first but when he found out Coach O’Brien was the coach, he said ‘you can’t be in any better hands.’ From that, I knew I was going to be in good hands and I think he’s a great guy.”
What was your proudest high school moment, athletically?
“Athletically…wow… Maybe this year, going 9-0 and winning the New England Prep Championship. Two bowl wins, back-to-back. I won the National Championship in 7th grade for Pop Warner, too. That was a good one.”
What number will you be wearing at Penn State?
“I heard #2 might be available, so that might work. I don’t really get caught up in the number thing. Wherever I’ve been, I’ve always had a different number so it really doesn’t phase me.”
What are your goals as a freshman at Penn State?
“First, I’d like to make the Dean’s List and on the football field, hopefully get some snaps, make Freshman All-American, if that’s possible, win a Big Ten Championship and just be as successful as we can, as a team.”
Big thanks to Malik for taking my call fresh off of having his wisdom teeth extracted earlier this week!
Re-introducing Penn State’s 2012 Recruiting Class:
DE Evan Schwan
CB Jake Kiley
QB Steven Bench
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