As he was waiting to be honored, Trevin Pendleton was surrounded by kids who wanted nothing more than to have a few memorable moments with a star football player they had routinely seen on TV.
The former West and Michigan State star — and guest of honor — wanted nothing more than to fulfill those kids expectations. Pendleton signed gloves, shirts, hats and even a forehead; every request was granted until the last kid was satisfied.
“At Michigan State, we always talked about never forgetting where you came from,” Pendleton said. “It’s important to comeback and interact, even if it can help one kid or brighten one kid’s day, or 100 kid’s day. It’s just as important to me to do it. I don’t think they realize how happy it makes me to see them being happy. It means a lot to also.”
On a night when Pendleton was having his No. 8 high-school jersey retired by West, Pendleton was more than willing to greet every fan who wanted to chat or take a picture of the college football star.
“He’s a genuine nice guy,” former Senators head coach Merrill Triplett said. “He’s got a super strong family. He’s always had such a great support system and Trevin is a genuine nice guy. He’s a good person.”
Once the festivities began, a gymnasium full of fans — there to watch a varsity boys basketball game between the Minford Falcons and the West Senators — gave Pendleton a standing ovation as he made his way to center court.
For a guy who has won two Big Ten Championships, a Rose Bowl and as played in the college football playoffs, Pendleton still hasn’t processed all of the success and accolades he has received in his career.
“It’s all just kind of coming full circle right now, a lot of emotions. I’m very humbled,” Pendleton said. “I feel very honored to be here and to be receiving this honor. I’m excited. It’s a chance to comeback and see a lot of people I haven’t gotten to see in a while and being in an environment I haven’t been in in quite a while. It’s a very exciting time, a very humbling time. It’s a great experience. I hope to be able to come back and see other people get their stuff retired soon.
“A lot of these things probably still haven’t sank it. It’s a surreal feeling. A lot of it doesn’t feel real. It’s an unbelievable feeling. I’ve been blessed to be a part of a lot of good things and hopefully a lot of good things to come.”
While Pendleton has been receiving praise for his collegiate career, the MSU star has made himself available for the NFL draft. Early indications show Pendleton being selected anywhere from the fourth round to UDFA (Undrafted Free Agent). However, before the draft, there are still chances for Pendleton to improve his draft status.
“It just depends on who you talk too,” Pendleton said. “Obviously just falling in with the right situation at the right time with the way the draft goes. Pro day and everything will have a bearing on it, just how well you run and how well you move. You’ll have the chance to show some things you weren’t able to showcase in college because of the scheme of things. So, going back and being able to showcase some things I think will help me a lot.”
Triplett doesn’t have any doubt Pendleton has the talent and drive to succeed in the NFL.
“From day one, it was obvious he had what it took,” Triplett said. “He was a big kid that had exceptional speed and strength, quickness. And even more dangerous than all of those was his knowledge of the game. He eats, sleeps and drinks football … “
Pendleton believes he’ll be successful because he believes in work ethic, which is something he has displayed during his entire career.
“I feel like if you want it bad enough, you can do it,” Pendleton said. “If it was easy, anyone could do it. If you want it bad enough, you’ve got to go work at it. I feel like that’s something I’ve always taken pride in. I definitely don’t want anything handed to me or given to me because even if you landed on a team, talent isn’t going to keep you there you’re going to have to work hard.”
While he is still following his dreams, Pendleton wants to see the continued growth of Scioto County and hopes the high-school athletes in the area will be able to achieve so much more.
“I want everyone to know it’s possible,” Pendleton said. “Honestly, I want kids around here to go above and beyond what I did. I want everyone to know it’s possible and that there are better things to strive for than what I’ve done.”
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.