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Penn State Football’s Maryland Natives Excited To Play In Front Of Hometown Crowd

James Franklin and Penn State football have done a great job recruiting the DMV in recent years. The players who have been plucked out of Maryland, in particular, will get a rare opportunity to play in their home state on Friday night.

Senior linebacker Cam Brown and junior cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields are two of 13 Nittany Lions who hail from Maryland. They’ll both be key parts of Penn State’s defense when it takes on Maryland at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium, but that wasn’t their only concern during the buildup to the game this week.

“Right now, I think I’m sitting at plus-nine or plus-10 [extra tickets],” Brown said. “I usually don’t ask for tickets. Sometimes it’s just stressful asking and trying to barter with teammates for tickets and things like that. This is my last year, so I’ve been trying hard to try to get as many tickets as I can. I probably will need plus-15 above my normal four.”

Although he didn’t have a number in mind, Castro-Fields will also have a sizable contingent of family members and friends on hand to watch the game Friday night. He said some family members are even making the trip from Canada to College Park for the team’s Big Ten opener.

Friday’s game will be particularly special for Castro-Fields. He was a true freshman who didn’t have the most significant role on defense during Penn State’s last trip to Maryland in 2017. He did, however, get to play quite a bit in the Nittany Lions’ 66-3 thrashing of the Terrapins that capped off a 10-2 regular season.

“[Playing at Maryland] means a whole lot,” Castro-Fields said. “I remember going back as a freshman when my role wasn’t that big and how much that meant to me. Now, being a starter and being out there with my brothers in a state where I grew up and I have the most family at means the world to me.”

Naturally, both players’ Maryland backgrounds lead to plenty of familiarity with some of the current band of Terrapins. It’s been a long time since Brown and Castro-Fields’ recruitment processes, but both will find plenty of familiar faces on the other team during the game.

Brown said he played high school football with Maryland running backs Anthony McFarland and Lorenzo Harrison along with wide receiver DJ Turner, and he was also recruited with Keandre Jones — a grad transfer who made the move to Maryland from Ohio State this offseason.

Meanwhile, Castro-Fields said he’s familiar with the Terps’ entire 2017 recruiting class. His recruitment was a bit of a whirlwind that came down to an eleventh-hour decision between Penn State, Alabama, and Maryland.

The cornerback specifically named Isaiah Hazel — a true freshman wideout who he knew “as a young pup.” Hazel called Castro-Fields this week, but he’s the only Maryland player that the junior corner has spoken to in the buildup to the game.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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