Collin De Boef had a choice to make. And all things considered, it was a relatively easy one.
De Boef is joining Penn State as a preferred walk-on, the State College offensive lineman announced Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s just surreal. It really is,” De Boef told the Centre Daily Times. “This has been a dream of mine to play there.”
Added State College coach Matt Lintal: “He’s an easy sell because he’s a high character kid who’s doing everything right in every sense. So we’re really proud of him and really excited for his future.”
De Boef is following in the footsteps of his brother, Adam, who walked on at Penn State in 2014. The 6-foot-6, 280-pound blocker is also joining State College teammate and fellow walk-on Brandon Clark in the 2018 class.
De Boef — who had walk-on offers from Toledo, Fordham, Holy Cross and St. Francis — chose Penn State for several reasons.
First and foremost, he grew up a stone’s throw from Beaver Stadium. And as a kid going from junior high to State High, he witnessed his brother go through the process of being a walk-on with the Nittany Lions.
“Ever since then, I’ve had an interest in going there,” De Boef said. “Well, really, ever since I was a little kid I’ve wanted to go there and play. But growing up and being able to see that unfold the way it did, it was really cool.”
Just a few months ago, Penn State started showing interest. De Boef went to the Nittany Lions’ 45-14 win over Indiana as a recruit.
“They asked me if I was interested, and I said yes,” De Boef added. “About a month later, they had me talk to them, everything got said and done, and I’m here where I am today — and I’m very happy about that.”
The Nittany Lions ought to be happy, too.
De Boef helped pave the way for an offense that averaged 228.1 rushing yards per game in 2017. The Little Lions averaged 6.9 yards per carry and found the end zone 41 times via the ground game.
Lintal credited De Boef in helping guide that success.
“He’s one of the smartest football players, especially up front, that I’ve had the opportunity to work with,” the coach said. “He’s known every offensive line position the last three years. With the ability to play center, guard or tackle in a given moment, that versatility combined with his work ethic and athleticism is just a tremendous asset.”
Lintal also mentioned that De Boef is a teaching assistant for a chemistry class at State College. The lineman, who was accepted by the university in the division of undergraduate studies, plans to study in the field of science.
But in the meantime, De Boef is enjoying the moment.
“In some sense, it was a no-brainer. It’s just a great school both academically and athletically,” De Boef said. “To finally have that dream become reality, part of me is thinking what I should do next. Really, I just have to keep my mind straight, put the work in and see what comes next.”