Penn State's Punishment Proves To Be Window Of Opportunity

By Jack Jorgensen
Evan Habeeb-USA Today Sports

When the heavy sanctions were levied against Penn State University last year, everyone focused on the worst. Whether it was the heinous actions of former Defensive Coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, or the fact that the future of the once storied football program had been damaged beyond repair, it seemed that there could not possibly be a good story to come of all of this. Well, that’s not the case as I learned in my hometown this week. One young man from Old Forge, Pennsylvania is setting out to prove that to the nation.

Brian Tomasetti, a senior from Old Forge High School, committed this week to walk-on to the football team in Happy Valley. I realize that this doesn’t sound like something that’s newsworthy, seeing that young men walk-on to major programs every year, but in reality it is. The reduction of scholarships that hit the university’s football program may have opened a door that normally would not be there for such a talented young man.

Tomasetti was a 6’2′” RB/DB for the Blue Devils who excelled on both sides of the ball. As a rusher, he amassed over 1,800 yards last season with 31 touchdowns to accompany that. Having personally viewed a few of his games last season, it’s easy to tell that Brian is the toughest player on the field, no matter who the competition is. He’s the personification of what a traditional Big Ten football player is. His grit and determination are easy to interpret as soon as he hits the field. It’s someone like Brian, who can help give Penn State its good name back

Normally, this opportunity wouldn’t be around here for someone like him. Coming from a high school that barely graduates 100 kids in its graduating classes anymore, it’s tough to get noticed up her. Brian is setting out to make the nation notice him. We are taught in this area, that be it football or life, nothing is given to you, you have to take it. Tomasetti could have easily picked a smaller state university in our area to take his skills to, but instead he’s reaching as high as he possibly can.

With the scholarship reductions taking a huge toll on the depth chart in Happy Valley, someone like Tomasetti could prove to be the missing piece of the puzzle, that is putting a football team together at Penn State. The toughness that he brings to a football field could fit in nicely in a spot that would normally be filled by another 18 year old young man that you can read about on ESPN.

Can you look up Brian’s story on ESPN? No, you can’t. Will Brian hold a press conference to formally announce this decision to the nation surrounded by his friends and family? The answer, again, is no. But does all of that really matter other than to fulfill our own enjoyment as well as feed the egos of some of these players?

For this piece, I was going to set up a sit down interview with Brian, but I decided against it. I could have met up with Brian so we could talk about “what could be”. I, however, decided against that. Where’s the fun in talking about that? I would much rather have a sit down with him a year from now, where we discuss how his first season as a Nittany Lion went. Best of luck, Brian.


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