Penn State Football: State College Native Jack Haffner to Join Penn State as Walk-on
State College native running back Jack Haffner will be joining Bill O'Brien and the rest of the Penn State football team next season as a preferred walk-on.
As a senior, Haffner rushed for 2,143 yards for the Little Lions, the second-highest single-season total in Centre County history, the highest being that of former NFL running back Larry Johnson. While Haffner visited Holy Cross and Lafayette, getting the chance to play at Penn State even as a walk-on was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
"As a State College native, it just seems natural to play at Penn State," Haffner told StateCollege.com Thursday night. "I grew up watching games with my family so the opportunity to play at Penn State, in my hometown, means a lot."
While Haffner hasn't gotten to meet O'Brien, he's still excited about what O'Brien brings to the table.
"I haven't had the opportunity to meet Coach O'Brien yet, but I am supposed to meet him in a couple weeks," Haffner said. "Everything that I have seen and heard about him is real positive. He seems like a strong leader."
At 6 feet and 215 pounds, Haffner has made his name with a physical style of play that allows him to bounce off of tacklers and has made him almost impossible to bring down when he has a full head of steam. Even as a walk-on, Haffner isn't afraid to tackle the challenges of making the roster this summer.
"My best attribute is my toughness." Haffner said.
"I have had the chance to play against some of the best in Pa. in high school and also competed against a few so-called 'blue-chip' guys in summer camps and held my own," he said. "I believe I have what it takes to compete in the Big Ten and I am happy to have the opportunity to prove it."
Haffner played both sides of the ball while at State High but has been recruited by Penn State for the running-back position. His offensive highlights can be seen below starting at the four-minute mark.