Penn State Football: Meet the Quarterbacks
The start of preseason camp is just around the corner, and a new quarterback will be under center when the Lions finally put the pads on for real Sept. 4.
There’s been a lot of talk about who that will be that quarterback -- Matt McGloin, Kevin Newsome, Paul Jones, Robert Bolden or Shane McGregor -- but most fans still don’t know much about the guys in the red practice jerseys.
So last week I sat down with each potential starter to get to know them a little better. You won’t find any in-depth analysis or a breakdown of strengths and weaknesses here — you’ve already read about that here and here; this is all about getting to know who the QBs are off the practice field.
Year: redshirt sophomore
Hometown: Scranton, Pa.
High School: West Scranton High School
Major: broadcast journalism
What he did in high school: I played baseball and basketball as a freshman…then I played all three sports (football, baseball, basketball). I started at quarterback my sophomore year. We won the district title my junior and senior years, but then we got beat in the state playoffs both times.
My junior year, there was...a minute left in the district final. We drove 80 yards, and I threw a touchdown pass with two seconds left to win it. That was awesome…driving as time ran out.
Why he chose Penn State: I was in the honors society in high school, but I couldn’t get my SAT scores up high enough. If that [had been] the case, I’d be at Princeton right now. I definitely would have gone to Ivy League schools.
I got looked at by Pitt, Boston College, Virginia, Maryland, a couple of schools like that…nothing too much. I was just never able to pull an offer. Then [offensive line coach] Dick Anderson called and asked if I wanted to walk on at Penn State. I took a visit down here and loved everything about the place. I just decided to come and take a chance.
Pre-game ritual: It really doesn’t bother me before a game; I really don’t get nervous. Even in high school, you’d have the guys pacing around…but I would just sit there in my locker. I wouldn’t even get fazed. Once you get out there, it really hits you, of course, but it really doesn’t get me like it does some people. I really don’t have any superstitions before a game.
Hobbies & interests: I’m a big movie guy…I probably have close to 300 DVDs. I always watch movies. [My friends and I] actually made a couple of movies, and I’d kill myself off early so I could direct the rest of it. I try to steal off other directors.
Career aspirations: Hopefully, if I get a shot to play here, I’d like to go into broadcasting for the Big Ten Network. But if I can’t, I would like to do writing for sports or something like that. Whatever it is, I want to get involved in sports.
Favorite food: Fries with gravy. Phenomenal
Favorite movie: Fight Club. Edward Norton’s my favorite actor.
Favorite music: It depends on what I’m into at the moment. I’ll listen to random stuff. I can go from rap one minute to ‘80s songs the next…just one thing to another. Death Cab for Cutie and Dave Matthews are two of my favorite bands.
Favorite class in high school: Math. Probably my junior year math class…there were a lot of my buddies in that class.
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be? Peyton Manning’s gotta be there…Ed Norton’s gotta be there.
Random fact: I finished third in the history of my high school in points scored for basketball.
Year: true sophomore
Hometown: Portsmouth, Va.
High School: Western Branch High School, Hargrave Military Academy
What he did in high school: We were good, man. We went to the playoffs every year. I played under Coach Lew Johnston at Western Branch High. My favorite moment was watching him after we beat a school called Deep Creek High School for the district championship. He was just really excited.
Why he chose Penn State: I was blessed to have offers from a lot of schools. It pretty much came down to Virginia Tech and Penn State. But I chose Penn State because of the high academic standards here and the football.
Pre-game ritual: Just get focused, you know? Just pray and get focused.
Hobbies & interests: I like to play the piano and talk to my momma. I like to make music.
Career aspirations: I just want to be an inspiration, man.
Favorite food: Cheesecake made by Momma Newsome
Favorite movie: The Goofy Movie
Favorite book: The Guinness Book of World Records
Favorite class in high school: English
Favorite music: Anything. Just good music.
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be? Michael Jackson — that’s easy.
Random fact: My favorite game was when we played Michigan in the Big House. That was a really big win.
Year: true freshman
Hometown: McKees Rocks, Pa.
High School: Sto-Rox High School
What he did in high school: I had a good three years with football. I threw about 50 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. I made all-conference every year and won conference MVP my junior year. We also went to the playoffs my junior and senior years.
Why he chose Penn State: I liked Penn State a lot the whole time. I grew up a Penn State fan. It was close to home, but still far enough away. I came from a small town, so I wanted to go to a big school. Plus, you can’t go wrong with the education here.
Pre-game ritual: Just pray, that’s about it.
Hobbies & interests: I like to Skype with my family, and I like going to the movies a lot. Watch TV. Just take a break from football stuff.
Career aspirations: The NFL, and if that doesn’t work, I’ll probably try baseball.
Favorite food: My mom’s spaghetti
Favorite movie: ATL, and Love & Basketball
Favorite book: The Outsiders
Favorite class in high school: Math and history
Favorite music: I listen to anything. I listen to hip-hop more, though.
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be? Daryll Clark, Tim Tebow, and Drew Brees
Random fact: I’m a typical family guy.
Year: true freshman
Hometown: Detroit, Mich.
High School: St. Mary’s Preparatory High School
What he did in high school: We went to the state championship twice in football—both times we played East Grand Rapids. One we lost in five overtimes, the other we lost at the end (of regulation]. I ran track all four years and won the hurdles. I played basketball my freshman, sophomore and junior years; I dropped it my senior year just to stay in shape. I didn’t really like basketball that much.
Why he chose Penn State: I just really felt comfortable here with the players, the coaches and in general. As far as football, the quarterback situation was wide open, so that was it for me. If I wasn’t here, I would have gone to Michigan State, Northwestern or Oregon.
Pre-game ritual: Before the game, I usually just have my headphones in. I always listen to Young Jeezy before games. I’m quiet, at my locker, just focusing in. But you can’t listen to music in the locker room here [before a game], so I’ll have to figure something out.
Hobbies & interests: Actually, I play drums. That’s one thing I like to do. I like going out to movies, bowling…just simple stuff like that.
Career aspirations: Of course the NFL, but for a backup, I want to do something in business.
Favorite food: mac & cheese and yams
Favorite movie: Inception
Favorite book: I think the best book I’ve ever read is Fist Stick Knife Gun.
Favorite class in high school: My forensics science class was pretty fun…I liked that class.
Favorite music: I listen to hip-hop, R & B, rap…that’s about it.
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be? I gotta put Jesus in there. I’m going from Jesus, to sports, to a girl, so…Jesus, Michael Vick and Stacey Dash.
Random fact: I try to sing, but…I can’t sing.
Year: redshirt sophomore
Hometown: Ebensburg, Pa.
High School: Central Cambria High School
What he did in high school: I played football, basketball, and baseball. I was a two-and-a-half-year starter at quarterback. My senior year, we made it to the district championship. It was cold—very cold. We were the fifth seed playing the No. 1 seed. We shouldn’t have been there at all, but we upset somebody.
We were driving to win the game, and a fade pass was just off the fingertips of my receiver. That could have won the game, but it went to overtime. The other team—Bishop McCort High School—scored a touchdown, and we had to answer. It was fourth down on the 5-yard line. We called a slant pass; it got knocked down by a defensive back just as it got to the receiver. It was heartbreaking, losing like that.
I was also involved in forensics and mock trial.
Why he chose Penn State: I’ve been a Penn State fan since I was little, growing up, coming to games. I’ve been to some big ones, and then I always knew they had a great journalism program. That’s something I wanted to do—I want to write, and have the chance to play a Division 1 sport, and be a journalism student in the atmosphere of a big Division 1 institution. That’s been my dream for a while, and so I had to come when I got the chance.
Pre-game ritual: I just say a prayer and ask God for protection and for him to watch over me and my team.
Hobbies & interests: I like to write a lot about sports, because I have a lot of experiences from the three sports in high school. I try to get in extra work after practice, throw as much as I can. I like to do things that take my mind off football, like read or write, because we put so much time into it.
I’m working on a book about the retelling of the story of Jesus in modern times, and he plays basketball. I also have some other ideas.
Career aspirations: Ideally, I’d like to be an author for a career. I have some ideas, but I can’t work on those until I get my first book done. I also like ESPN the Magazine a lot...that would be cool to work for or write for.
Favorite food: I like blueberries and yogurt. Cereal’s good too.
Favorite movie: Finding Forrester
Favorite book: The Alchemist
Favorite class in high school: Expository writing. I got to write all kinds of stuff in that class.
Favorite music: Billy Joel, Linkin Park, Earth Wind & Fire, Kanye West, but pre-2006.
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be? I’ll go with Jesus Christ.
Random fact: I will graduate in three years…I transferred a bunch of credits from high school.