The No. 1 football prospect in the state of Pennsylvania won't be playing for Penn State.
In fact, he'll be playing against the Nittany Lions in the next few years.
Noah Spence, the 6-foot-3, 240-pound five-star defensive end from Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt, committed to Ohio State and new Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer during his official visit to Columbus over the weekend. Spence originally declared he would announce his choice at the Under Armour All-American Game in Florida early next month.
"It was all beginning to be too much. I'm more happy than relieved. I found what I was looking for at Ohio State," Spence told the Patriot-News in Harrisburg.
Penn State, Maryland, LSU, Notre Dame, USC and Florida were among the other schools high on Spence's list before he committed. The Gatorade player of the year in Pennsylvania and generally regarded as the top defensive end prospect in the class, Spence was considered to be the prize target in the Class of 2012 for the Lions, and, according to those who follow its recruiting the closest, Penn State seemed to be in a good position earlier this fall.
"I think that any school right now would want to be in Penn State's shoes,'' Ryan Snyder of BlueWhite Illustrated said in an interview with the Mirror in early August. "I can't stress enough how [Lion assistant coach] Larry Johnson, his personality and what he stands for as far as not only being a great player but having the academics and being a great character and being a good person stands out to the Spence family. That's where Penn State has its biggest advantage.''
However, the Lions lost their footing with Spence when news broke of the child sex abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky - Spence sent a message on Twitter that indicated he was rethinking his interest in the school.
Spence is the second elite defensive line recruit Penn State has lost to Ohio State in the last couple of weeks. Illinois defensive tackle Tommy Schutt recently switched his commitment from the Lions to Buckeyes after Ohio State hired Meyer. Ohio State also is recruiting current Lion pledge Camren Williams and Colorado offensive lineman Joey O'Connor, who backed off from his verbal commitment to Penn State after the firing of coach Joe Paterno.