Freshman Noah Beh's combination of size and athletic ability had Scranton Prep football coach Nick Donato thinking he could have a pretty good player on his team, providing he could keep Beh on his team.
"We didn't even know if he was going to stay with us for four years," Donato said.
"Before high school, I only played football for about three years," Beh said. "My uncle, he gave me the idea to play. I really wasn't sure about it, because I've always been a basketball player. I just decided to give it a try."
It turned out that the Beh liked the aggressive side and the team aspect of his new sport. He worked hard and came back to Donato the next year far exceeding his coach's expectations.
In fact, Beh, now 6-foot-6 and nearly 260 pounds, has become such a good prospect that several BCS-level colleges offered him scholarships. He announced on Saturday that he intended to attend Penn State.
Beh was recruited by the Nittany Lions as an offensive tackle, picking Penn State over Boston College. He's the 10th member of their 2014 recruiting class and probably will be the only offensive lineman in a class limited to 15 players.
Beh committed while on a visit to Penn State's Advanced Skills Camp with his father. It was his third visit to University Park.
"Coach O'Brien and Coach Mac [McWhorter] definitely are a big part of it," Beh said of his decision to pick Penn State, which was made before the trip. "I started great relationships with them. I started visiting, thinking more about it. Pretty much the whole thing really attracted me."
He said Syracuse probably was his third choice. Pitt, UConn, Maryland and Temple were his other biggest offers. Beh received his Penn State offer while at Penn State on Feb. 23 for a junior day.
"I really wasn't a big fan [growing up], but that was pretty special offer to get an offer, especially with their numbers cut short," Beh said. "I didn't go there expecting to get an offer, but I was lucky enough to get one."
Beh is a good enough athlete that he is rated a top-30 tackle by one scouting service and a top-30 defensive end by another; he said more colleges were recruiting him for defense than offense. He led the Class AAA Eastern Conference champion Cavaliers in sacks and helped them rush for more than 200 yards starting at guard - he's expected to play offensive tackle at Scranton Prep this fall.
As a junior, he was Scranton Times Tribune all-region and first team Lackawanna Football Conference on the defensive line.
"He's very athletic with a tremendous amount of flexibility," Donato said of Beh, who reportedly runs the 40-yard dash in 4.85 seconds. "I think, at the college level, his potential is that much bigger."
The big question surrounding Beh has been whether he can put on enough weight to be an effective lineman in the Big Ten. However, he's already put on 20 pounds since the beginning of his junior football season and said that, even though the coaches haven't pressed him about it, getting bigger is one of his primary focuses for before he enrolls in college.
Donato doesn't think it will be a problem for Beh. Beh's father is a 6-6, 290-pound former semi-pr o football player with the Scranton Eagles.
"Once he gets in a big-time program with the training table and a Division I weight training program, he has a lot of room to put weight on," Donato said.
Beh will turn 18 in November, but fans on the Internet have commented on how much older he appears in his photos. Beh laughed and said he gets that sometimes.
"I don't think that's the photos," Beh said. "I just think that's the way it is."
Still a youngster in respect to football, though, Beh continues to work hard on improving his game, working out, going to camps and watching pro players to try to be ready when he's a Nittany Lion.
"I'm going to work on everything, basically: putting on some size, learning more about the position, just trying to be the best I can," Beh said. "Being a lineman's a lot harder than people think, but it's great. Football is such a team sport, and there's not much better than winning a football game. I love the kids I play with. I love the coaches. I've just had a great experience. It's been teaching me a lot."