A week before Heisman Trophy candidate Trace McSorley and the star-studded Nittany Lions kick off their 2018 campaign, a reserve offensive lineman owned the day at Beaver Stadium.
Charlie Shuman was awarded a scholarship following Saturday afternoon’s practice, an emotional moment for the lineman and his family and friends.
Shuman, a fifth-year senior, has played in one game for the Nittany Lions, making a fourth-quarter appearance in last year’s 56-0 drubbing of Georgia State. But the New York native has made a name for himself off the field. Shuman — an Academic All-Big Ten honoree and two-time Penn State Public Service Award recipient — has danced in Thon twice, served on the Nittany Lions’ Uplifting Athletes executive committee and even started a charity.
In 2014, Shuman started a fundraising effort for Maiya Colon, a young girl from upstate New York born with a genetic abnormality. The charity, Big Helping Little, raises money to help alleviate the financial burden on Colon’s family that comes with surgeries and treatment.
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According to a video posted on Penn State football’s official Twitter page, head coach James Franklin announced at a team meeting in the Lasch Building that Colon and her family would be guests at Saturday’s practice. But before walking out on the Beaver Stadium grass, Franklin talked to the Colons privately.
“We’ve got a surprise for Charlie that I want you guys to be a part of,” Franklin said.
Before breaking down the team post-practice, Colon and her family — as well as Shuman’s parents — were there when Franklin let the lineman in on the surprise.
Shuman, overcome with emotion, could do nothing but smile as his teammates jumped up and down around him.