The Legacy Continues…

The Legacy Continues…

It was January 1, 1983, in the New Orleans Superdome. Penn State vs. Georgia, 4th quarter with the Nittany Lions holding a slim lead. All-American stud QB Todd Blackledge dropped back and slung a bullet down the left sideline. Walk-on receiver, Gregg Garrity, stretched out and made a diving catch in the corner of the end-zone. Just 25 years after his father Jim Garrity began the lineage of legacies, Gregg Garrity found himself an unlikely star on Penn State’s biggest stage to date. His touchdown became fondly known as “The Catch” long before Allen Robinson made “The Catch” popular in 2013. That week’s Sports Illustrated immortalized his celebration on its cover.

Nearly thirty years after Gregg Garrity’s catch and Penn State’s first National Championship, his son Gregg Jr. (Pook to his friends and teammates), answered the call when Penn State needed it the most. He enrolled at the request of then head coach, Bill O’Brien, becoming one of the most well-known run-ons in Penn State history. Undersized but lightning quick like his dad, he provided much needed depth his first few years and filled in admirably in the latter stages of 2015 for a punt return unit that had trouble holding on to the ball. This week’s update begins with the news that Gregg Garrity Jr. earned himself a scholarship as he heads into his senior season as a Nittany Lion. I, for one, have a major affinity and appreciation for Bill O’Brien’s run-ons and how crucial they were to the vitality of this program. I have an even stronger appreciation for a kid whose father holds a special place in all of our hearts. Yes folks, the Legacy of Nittany Lions continues and is alive and well.

The week began with another smashing success. THON 2016 saw the Nittany Lion Football team win this year’s Pep Rally competition; Matt Zanelatto finally got his chance to dance FTK; James Franklin lead the loudest WE ARE chant of the weekend; and everybody’s inspiration, Leah Still (along with her daddy Devon), made an appearance at the party. With THON wrapped up until next year, all eyes are turned to the Nittany Lion Five as they take on the competition in Indianapolis at this year’s NFL Combine. Former QB Christian Hackenberg already finds himself in the spotlight once again and has been labeled as the wild card of this year’s draft. The speculation has been hot and heavy this week of a reuniting between Hack and the man who brought him to Happy Valley, the aforementioned Bill O’Brien. As for the rest of his comrades, Anthony Zettel, Austin Johnson, Jordan Lucas, and the ultimate underdog Carl Nassib, all look to solidify or upgrade their draft stock this weekend. Speaking of the infamous “Tree Tackler,” Zettel has combined with Uplifting Athletes for a “Reps for Rare Diseases” campaign to raise money for rare-disease research.

Back home in State College, Franklin and staff are busy getting ready for the first Junior Day of the 2017 recruiting cycle this weekend. With QB Sean Clifford of Ohio and Dylan Rivers, a linebacker out of Virginia already on board and committed, the staff look to sway a few more of the highly-regarded prospects that will make their way to campus this weekend; most for the first time. Meanwhile, the current Nittany Lions, fresh off their pep rally victory at THON, remain knee deep in their winter workouts with their sights set on a fresh start. More likely than not, Gregg Garrity Jr. will run across some of those prospects taking in the sights of their Junior Day weekend and more likely than not those prospects will catch a glimpse or two of his dad celebrating that Penn State victory long ago. Yes, my friends, times have changed and new faces walk the halls, but the legacy that built Penn State continues.