Mike Gesicki secured Penn State’s first touchdown against Pitt, walked underneath the north end zone goal posts, made a fist with his right hand and motioned like a train conductor pulling the horn to signal a departure.
It’s not the first time Gesicki has reveled in a touchdown that way, and it won’t be the last.
Gesicki’s go-to celebration has meaning. He purposefully introduced it after scoring in Penn State’s 2016 opener against Kent State.
“The story behind it is a lot of people were writing myself off going into that year, they were writing Penn State off. So everyone was hopping off the Penn State train; they were hopping off the Mike Gesicki train,” the tight end said on a Wednesday conference call. “And now when I do that, I’m telling everybody that the train has left. It’s gone and it’s too late to hop on now.”
The list of detractors was probably pretty long. Gesicki had five drops to just 13 catches as a sophomore in 2015, magnifying each and every mistake.
The New Jersey native was committed to rebounding, though, putting in extra work whenever he could in the 2016 offseason. Naturally, that’s when he came up with the celebration.
“It honestly just happened,” Gesicki said. “Me and Saeed (Blacknall), we’ve always caught on the side and one night we were catching JUGS and it was a deep ball and I said to him ‘You know what? If we’re going to practice catching the balls, we’re gonna practice the full thing. If this is gonna be a touchdown, I’m gonna practice my celebration along with it.’ And every time I caught the ball, I did it, I did it and I did it.”
Of course, he put it to use quite a bit last year. Gesicki — who was second on the team in receptions (48), receiving yards (679) and touchdowns (5) — made his celebration known in the opener, exhibited it again after a one-handed catch against Temple and kept it going.
The 2017 preseason first-team All-American has continued that fine form with four touchdowns through two games. He’s on pace to break Penn State’s single-season tight ends record for touchdowns in just three contests.
Gesicki’s primed to easily surpass that record — which means anyone who hopped off the train in 2015 wishes they had a ticket.