And both said that will still happen.
The two New Jersey standouts said they are honoring their commitments to Penn State, making their declarations simultaneous at the end of a long day in which the Penn State football program was heavily sanctioned by the NCAA.
"It was harsh news coming from the NCAA," said Mahon, a 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive lineman from Randolph (N.J.) High. "I was like, ‘Step back, take a breather. Let the day go on.' I did that and today I got probably 50 Facebook messages from coaches all over the country and I kind of stepped back. I know coach (Bill) O'Brien would do anything for me, and I figured in return I have to do the same for him."
Sickels, a four-star defensive end from Red Bank Regional High (Little Silver, N.J.), said via text he was remaining committed in the wake of the NCAA giving the school on a four-year postseason ban, significant scholarship reductions, a $60 million fine and placing the program on five years probation.
"Coach O'Brien is a great coach," Mahon said. "Everything about him is why I committed to Penn State, and his staff is why I committed to Penn State. Those guys aren't leaving. (Offensive line) coach (Mac) McWhorter and coach O'Brien both have the tools to make me a great football player. In turn, with being a great football player and getting a great education, with those tools after college I can either go play in the NFL with all they taught me that respect, or the education I get from Penn State, I can have a great career in any other field."
Mahon said he hasn't talked to many other of the committed players yet, but he wants to keep the 12-member class intact.
"I'm just trying to hold everyone together," he said. "With adversity, honestly, what doesn't kill you does make you stronger.
"You might not be playing for a bowl, but that should give you more reason to play for yourself, and play for your teammates and the ones next to you and show everyone that Penn State, even with everything terrible that happened, and what bad things happened to those children, we're still here and we're still doing great things.
"Garrett and I are close friends and we're close to Christian (Hackenber) and Adam (Breneman). I figured I would give people time to think it over because I needed my own time to do it. I hope that people will also follow in my steps and realize this is a great program and we can keep it great if we stay intact."