Dakota Royer usually makes a big splash whenever he takes the football field.
Back in May, though, Royer did it quite literally not by diving into a pool, but jumping out of one: A video of him leaping straight out of the water from a squat position and landing on the edge - a la recent NFL Draft pick Jarron Gilbert - has gotten more than 79,000 hits on YouTube.
"We were just messing around one day and I did it for fun,'' an amused Royer said. "I got close, so we turned on the video camera, and I got it.''
Until that becomes a sport, Royer will have to settle for football. In a long-expected move, Manheim Central's all-state pass-rushing specialist and Under Armour All-American announced at a press conference on Thursday afternoon before approximately 90 people that he was committing to Penn State.
"It was pretty cool, with all my family, friends, teammates and media there. To have [recruiting] done with takes a lot of tension off my chest,'' Royer said.
Royer, who some see as a defensive end and others view as an outside linebacker, had narrowed a list of 25 scholarship offers down to three, eventually picking the Nittany Lions over Notre Dame and Pitt. He said he intends to enroll in January.
"I knew I wanted to go here. I really decided a couple of weeks ago when I went to Arts Fest and was hanging out with some of the other players,'' Royer said. "A lot of it had to do with academics, too. If somehow football happened to be taken away, I felt I could still be happy at Penn State.''
If everything goes according to plan, though, he'll be a play-maker for the Nittany Lions who can be a disruptive force because of his explosiveness and high motor. As a junior, Royer collected 13 sacks, 32 tackles for loss and a blocked kick on his way to being named first-team all-state. That brought his two-year totals to 193 tackles, 24 sacks, 63 tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries.
"Penn State fans are going to see speed from the edge with him,'' Manheim Central coach Mike Williams said. "We're going to a three-man front this season so we can move him around. He has the ability to drop into coverage. I see him in college as having the ability to blitz.
"As a sophomore, he was a kid that made plays and would track guys down. The thing that might have caught the eye of a lot of the colleges, though, was his play on offense. They could see he was a pretty good athlete.''
Last season, Royer, who said he'll major in business because "I'm just a big numbers guy,'' caught 56 passes for 1,099 yards and rushed the ball 50 times for 275 yards. Wisconsin thought enough of the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Royer to recruit him as a tight end.
The biggest question about Royer is where exactly he fits in. Rivals.com ranks him as the No. 20 weakside defensive end in the country, while Scout.com has him the 20th-best outside linebacker. Williams thinks Royer has the frame to put on at least 30 pounds.
Penn State has told Royer it plans on using him much the same way it did Aaron Maybin. Maybin, too, came to University Park as an undersized defensive end with the ability to rush the passer - as a redshirt junior starting for the first time in 2008, Maybin had 12 sacks and 20 tackles for loss, which catapulted him to becoming an All-American and the first-round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills.
"I'll move back and forth. I really like that,'' Royer said.
Scout.com gave Royer high marks for his on-field intelligence. Royer began rushing the passer about 10 years ago when he passed on a little extra literature.
"My dad said I either play football or I read a book every week,'' Royer said. "I picked football.''
Royer already has a couple of friends at Penn State, including receiver Graham Zug - a Manheim Central product - and fellow recruits Silas Redd and Paul Jones, who he said were in his ear about joining them with the Lions. Now that he's in the fold, Royer said he would be trying to get players like Connecticut linebacker Khairi Fortt and Philadelphia defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd to come on board as well.
"I'm working on anyone I can get,'' Royer said.
The Lions have 15 commitments for a class expected to eventually number around 18. South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore, ranked by some as the No. 1 running back in the country, is scheduled to visit Penn State this weekend with high school teammate Nick Jones, a receiver/defensive back. Meanwhile, it is being reported by several recruiting sites that California's Kenny Stills, Scout.com's No. 6 receiver prospect, has set up an official visit for the Lions' home game with Ohio State.
Penn State might have an extra scholarship available for this class. BlueWhite Illustrated reported on its web site Thursday that blue-chip defensive back Darrell Givens, who signed a letter-of-intent in February, has decided not to attend Penn State after being unable to meet the academic requirements to enroll. Givens is weighing his options and seeking another college where he could enroll this fall.