Devenney bound for Penn State
L-L All-Star lineman will 'run on' BY MIKE GROSS, Sports Columnist
Bill O'Brien's run-on program sounds like a great deal to Tom Devenney.
Devenney, an offensive lineman from Warwick, will attend Penn State this fall and play football as an invited walk-on.
Or run-on, in O'Brien-ese.
"I'm feeling pretty good,'' Devenney said Friday. "I agree with (Penn State's) philosophy, the way they preach academics, and their coaches are unbelievable.''
NCAA sanctions have limited Penn State's program to 15 scholarship players per year and a total of 65 scholarship players, through 2016.
That has placed renewed emphasis on bringing in players willing and able to pay to go to school. O'Brien said Wednesday he hoped to have 12-15 run-ons from the high school class of 2013 on the 2013 roster.
"We found with our run-on program there are many guys out there, mostly Pennsylvania guys, but even some other guys from other states, that have grown up dreaming about playing at Penn State,'' O'Brien said, "that have fantastic opportunities to go to other schools, fantastic schools, but they've chosen to come to Penn State because of Penn State.''
Devenney attended Penn State's "run-on day,'' in January, in which 33 prospects toured the facilities and met with O'Brien and their position coach.
"It was a great day,'' Devenney said. "I felt really welcome.''
Still, Devenney did not come away with what he considered an invitation. Coaches are only allowed one phone call to non-scholarship prospects, and that call had been used.
Devenney did appear on a list of 18 run-ons published by some media outlets Wednesday, but as recently as Friday morning, he wasn't sure where he stood with Penn State.
"It's a really difficult process,'' Devenney said.
The solution was a phone call Friday to Mac McWhorter, Penn State's offensive line coach.
"He told me, 'We're ready for you. What do you think?' '' Devenney said. "I told him I'd be there.''
Devenney didn't have football scholarship offers, but he did have options. He's been accepted to Penn State's engineering program. He has applied to, and has been on the football coaches' radar, at Princeton, Harvard, Colgate, Dartmouth, Bucknell and Lehigh.
Devenney is 6-2, 275. He was the Lancaster-Lebanon League Section One Offensive Lineman of the Year last fall, and made first-team all-Section One as an offensive and defensive lineman.
He played guard at Warwick, but said the Penn State coaches see him as a center, a position at which Penn State lacks apparent depth and loses an all-Big Ten player, Matt Stankiewitch.
"I've been working on it lately,'' Devenney said. "Snapping the ball isn't something I've done before, and you do need to have really quick feet.''