‘Giving this program something that they can be proud of’
Twenty-one Penn State seniors will be honored Saturday in their final career home game at Beaver Stadium.
All came in when the Nittany Lions were coming off an unflattering 7-6 season, but they helped build the program up into a squad that’s on the verge of its third straight 10-win campaign. So we spent this week asking the seniors how they want this class to be remembered.
We’ll get into what they said shortly. But, first, here are the names of the players who’ll be honored during Saturday’s pre-game ceremony for the seniors: Mark Allen, Joe Arcangelo, Torrence Brown, Ryan Buchholz, Jake Cooper, Frank Di Leo, Donnell Dix, Koa Farmer, Sterling Jenkins, Trace McSorley, Amani Oruwariye, Nick Scott, Tyler Shoop, Charlie Shuman, Zach Simpson, Jonathan Thomas, DeAndre Thompkins, Kyle Vasey, Jason Vranic, Christopher Welde, Chasz Wright.
QB Trace McSorley
“I hope our legacy as a senior class is a lot of guys that came in to Penn State at a time when it wasn’t necessarily the brightest. It still had the tradition and everything like that, but things were still a little bit bleak at the time.
“I think we just want to be remembered as a bunch of guys that didn’t necessarily come in with all the hype as far as the recruiting and all that, and you know, we didn’t have all the high expectations of everything that some people do now. But guys that were able to come, work hard, be able to bring Penn State success and then, kind of, bring Penn State back into the national spotlight, competing for championship-level games, whether it’s Big Ten, National Championship, we want to be putting ourselves into that conversation every single year and giving this program something that they can be proud of: a group of guys that came and worked hard and didn’t really care what anybody else said about them or what everyone else expected them to do.
“We’ve bonded together and just worked hard to be able to bring this program back to where we thought it should have been in the time we got here.”
CB Amani Oruwariye
“Just be remembered as guys who kind of changed the program, guys who — even when the program was down — believed and competed and changed the culture to a winning culture. And I think that’s what we’ll be remembered as, as seniors.”
S Nick Scott
“Just based off my experience and all the things I’ve seen in this program, I’d say one of the biggest things I’d like to the senior class to be remembered as is, a group of guys who are extremely hard-working, you know, took care of their business on the field as well as off the field and also were a huge part of this growing process, this rebuilding process of putting Penn State back as a top contender or in the conversation each year.”
LB Koa Farmer
“A class that went through adversity and persevered through that adversity and got Penn State back on top.”
(And how will you remember your career, specifically?)
“I was a guy that played a new position every year that I’ve been here, a guy that was unselfish, did whatever needed to be done to help this team win and I think I was a guy who obviously stuck through some adversity, persevered through that adversity. Looking back to it a year from now I won’t change anything because I met my best friends here, I fulfilled a childhood dream of playing in the Rose Bowl, I played in the Fiesta Bowl, I played in the Big Ten championship, you know, pretty much every game that hasn’t been the national championship. Looking back at it I had a great career here and I wouldn’t change it for the world. As I said the most important thing is I built relationships with my best friends here and that’s what I’m going to really miss and keeping those relationships as I move forward through my life.”
HC James Franklin
“Senior Day is obviously a special moment that we get to recognize these guys as their last time playing in Beaver Stadium. Obviously these guys, whether they have been here four years or five years, been through a lot, came in here at a challenging time in Penn State’s history and put the program on their back and just went to work with so many other people, coaches and people in this community, and lettermen and people that work on campus and in the athletic department.
“To think about what these guys have been able to accomplish in their time here and again, I think when you look specifically to the Big Ten era, I think it’s pretty impressive what these guys have been able to do. You look at the data, just the raw numbers and they are impressive, but also how these guys have conducted themselves.
“I’m really proud of how our guys have done in the classroom, how our guys have been in the community, all of it, academic All-Americans, academic all-region. Guys that got drafted in the NFL, guys that didn’t get drafted in the NFL, free agent made the practice squad and had to earn their way around, guys that are working in corporate America.
“There’s a lot of stories; 21 stories are going to walk through that gate on Saturday for the last time, that’s one of the things I mentioned after the game, I’m hoping, I know we’ve got some parking issues — and I don’t want to get into that because trust me, I’ve gotten a lot of messages about it. I don’t want to get into the parking thing.
“But I think these seniors deserve that stadium to be sold out and rocking to pay respect to them, and we’re going to need it, as well. We’re going to need it to go 1-0 and get another win this week.”