Penn State Football: State College Native Jack Haffner Ready to Contribute
Chances are if you've ever watched State College native and 5-foot-10, 211 pound running back Jack Haffner play football you've seen him run into someone. In most cases the results weren't all that favorable for the one receiving the hit.
The State College Area High School alum is looking to add his name to a growing list of players who were raised in Happy Valley and eventually took the field for Penn State. Jordan Norwood, Nate Stupar and Larry Johnson Jr. are some of the most notable names as of late to make the transition from Little Lion to Nittany Lion.
Four Little Lion alumni are playing for Penn State this season. Receiver Alex Kenney is the most likely to have an impact this year but linebacker Matthew Baney and offensive lineman Evan Galimberti are waiting in the wings as well.
That isn't to say Haffner is expecting greatness from Day 1, but being a walk-on --or as head coach Bill O'Brien calls them "Run-Ons"-- won't be holding Haffner back any.
"A few games into my senior year I got a letter," Haffner said. "It said I could come to one of the games as a recruit and that's when it became a realization that I could play here. There has definitely been a long line of people who have succeeded and have not been on scholarship so I'm hoping to add to that."
And Haffner is right, from quarterback Matt McGloin to receiver Deon Butler, Penn State has quietly made some of the best players to ever wear the blue and white out of walk-ons and non scholarship players. If Haffner works hard and takes advantage of his opportunities there isn't any reason why he couldn't one day add his name to that list.
Matt Lehman, one of Penn State's many reliable tight ends was in a similar boat, only just earning his scholarship this past offseason. His advice to any player looking to turn heads, "Go out and hit somebody," Lehman said smiling. "[The coaches] are watching."
But for now, Haffner is enjoying the moment and it's hard to blame him.
"It has been a life long dream to play here, and now that I'm doing it that's pretty cool."