By Frank Lewis
December 5, 2013
PDT Staff Writer
Garrett and Shawna Pendleton have to look at Buckeyes carpeting in a 30 feet by 40 feet room on the back of their house this week, and will only get relief from that carpeting when they head to Indianapolis, Indiana where their son, Trevon Pendleton, starting fullback for the Michigan State Spartans, hopes to be a part of spoiling Ohio State’s bid for a BCS championship in the Big Ten Conference title game.
“We were huge Buckeye fans,” Shawna Pendleton said. “We’ve got an entire room that was nothing but Ohio State - bar stools, wall paintings. This past year when we incorporated Michigan State into it, we now have a divided room. We couldn’t completely take out the Ohio State items because we actually have Buckeye carpet.”
Trevon, a former walk-on, not only earned a starting roll in the last eight games of the 2012 season, his freshman year, but was awarded a scholarship. Coming out of the spring, there was no doubt in head coach Mark Dantonio’s mind who his starting fullback would be — 5-foot-11-inch, 248-pound Trevon Pendleton. Dantonio told a broadcast audience the week of the Nebraska game, which Trevon did with him, that Pendleton has a cerebral approach to the game and is probably one of the smartest football players on the team.
Pendleton suffered a debilitating injury, a broken leg, to end his high school career on Oct. 16, 2011. On Aug. 4, 2012, he reported to camp, choosing to turn down many scholarship offers, and instead, walk on at MSU. His family remembers he was limping when he got out of the car. As a walk-on, a player does not get the same treatment as the scholarship players. If you’re going to take it to the next level, earning a scholarship, it takes hard work and dedication. Trevon Pendleton rose to the challenge. To make matters worse for OSU fans, Trevon has a long memory.
“It’s has become personal for Trevon,” Jerrod Pendleton, Trevon’s older brother, said. “When Trevon was getting recruited out of (Portsmouth West) high school, he went to all of Ohio State’s camps. He grew up an Ohio State fan. Ohio State actually told him, basically that he wasn’t good enough to play there. So, ever since that day, Trevon said , ‘when I get my chance, I’m going to make them pay.’ He is definitely taking it personal. I can say this for him - he has probably waited on this moment his entire life. This game will probably mean more to him than any he has ever played in.”
“Coach Dantonio said the one thing that separates Trevon from everybody else is that he is a competitor,” Jerrod said. “He does not fail. He does not accept failure. He competes in everything he does.”
If you are a pure numbers person who collects statistics, here are some that might catch your attention. Trevon Pendleton caught all seven passes thrown to him this year, and he leads the team in yards per reception - 17.7. Up until last week, Pendleton had the longest play from scrimmage this year for MSU - against archrival Michigan.
Michigan State is one questionable call (see Notre Dame game) away from going into the big game with the same record as the Buckeyes. It may be the Buckeyes biggest match-up of the year and one Coach Urban Meyer has been quick to caution his team not to look beyond.
Garrett Pendleton said he is excited for his son going into the big game this week.
“He’s got the opportunity to do what he has always wanted to do,” Garrett Pendleton said. “He has worked hard to do what he has wanted to do his whole career. I always wanted him to go to college, but I never dreamed he could do what he’s done. It takes a special individual, especially to play a skilled position in the Big Ten.”
One of the words that gets thrown around when Trevon Pendleton’s name comes up is “humble.”
“He is very humble,” Shawna Pendleton said. “Every time you talk to him, he gives credit to everybody else. He never takes credit. It is either his coaches, his family, his high school coaches, the values that were instilled in him when he was a child. Everything is always someone else has made him what he is.”
Shawna Pendleton said the family hasn’t missed a game, and will be in Indianapolis this week.
“We’re leaving Friday,” Shawna Pendleton said. “They have all kinds of activities going on Friday evening. Game Day is going to be there Saturday, so we’ll be involved in all that.”
Focusing becomes a full time job the week of the biggest game of the year.
“We’re staying positive. We’re trying to keep Trevon motivated, keeping him out of all the social media,” Shawna Pendleton said. “Because it is obviously so close to home for us.”
Shawna said friends have been telling her they hope Trevon has the game of his life, but that the Buckeyes still win. She says that’s not good enough. As for Shawna, Garrett and Jerrod, they want to come home with a victory. If Ohio State is victorious, they will play for the national championship. Michigan State is obviously focusing on the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.
“It’s going to be a crazy atmosphere up there,” Jerrod said. “Ohio State has a big following. Michigan State has got a pretty good following as well.”
Make no mistake about it - “He’s ready though,” Garrett Pendleton said. “He has been ready for a long time. He knows a lot of those kids because we went to a lot of those camps across the country whenever he was in high school. I took him everywhere. So he knows a lot of other kids. So he’s read to play - but he’s ready every game.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.