Devenney headed to Penn State as a run-on Football
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
Tom Devenney acknowledged that he was a little biased.
Having grown up as a Penn State football fan and gone to a number of games at Beaver Stadium, the All-Star lineman was delighted to get interest from the Nittany Lions in the college recruiting process.
And when PSU eventually offered him the opportunity to join the team as a run-on, Devenney was on board. Last Friday, in a telephone call with Nittany Lions’ offensive line coach Mac McWhorter, he confirmed his status with the Lions and the rest is history.
Understandably, it was a big relief for Devenney.
"It’s huge getting that off my shoulders and now I just get to work toward that," he said.
The Section One Lineman of the Year as a junior and Offensive Lineman of the Year in his senior season, Devenney (6-foot-3, 278) had his final two choices narrowed down to PSU and Ivy League school Princeton. Although it had been reported in earlier days that Devenney was on his way to Happy Valley as a run-on, he wasn’t ready to call it a done deal until he talked to McWhorter after getting home from wrestling practice last Friday.
"I just wanted to check in to see where he was at and (coach McWhorter) said he wanted me to run on," Devenney said. "So I told him, ‘Absolutely, I’d be there if he wants me to.’"
Early on in the recruiting, Devenney, who ranks among the top students in the Class of 2013, admitted that Princeton had the edge. But the two-year First-Team All-Star lineman attended a Penn State camp last July, began communicating with their coaches and one thing led to another. The Lions continued to show interest over the next several months, and with Penn State having an excellent tradition in the engineering field, all roads led to University Park for Devenney.
"Penn State had a really good policy with keeping in touch with their recruits," Devenney said. "Princeton, not too much. I haven’t really hard from them since December. I just felt really comfortable with Penn State and the way they handled things … Academically-speaking, the engineering program that they have is huge. I just felt really comfortable with their coaches. They seem like really high character people, so I thought that was incredibly important and I think it’s going to be a great experience going up there and playing football."
Warwick coach Bob Locker added, "He had a lot of schools show interest in him last spring and some of them continued to show interest in him. He liked the (Penn State) coaches immensely. They kept in contact with him, they offered him an opportunity to come up for the run-on day, he took the invitation, liked what was going on there, and decided he thought it was a good place for him to be. The education aspect had a lot to do with it, I think."
Devenney will be redshirted as a freshman, as the Lions do with all their first-year linemen. Redshirt or not, though, he will again be a teammate of Deron Thompson, who graduated from Warwick in 2011 and is now playing for the Nittany Lions.
"I think it’s going to be awesome already knowing someone from home, having a little bit more to relate to. But I think over time when you get to know all the guys, it will be the same thing with them," Devenney said. "I think it’s huge that Deron set a great example of what Warwick kids are all about. He went up there and he’s working his butt off and I think it let (the PSU coaches) know what Warwick is all about."
The Penn State coaches are envisioning Devenney as a center in college, so he plans to prepare accordingly.
"I’ve never played center before, so I want to work on snapping, and besides that, as an offensive lineman, you can always improve your footwork, your speed and your strength," Devenney said.
"The educational aspect had a lot to do with (his decision) and I think it was important to go to an institution like Penn State. But him going there reflects the person he is, which is, I don’t think he has any fear," Locker remarked. "If he continues to work as hard as he has down here (at Warwick), I think he believes he can play there."
Does Locker believe Devenney can play there?
"Yes, I do," he said. "It’s not going to happen immediately, but I think with his dedication and strength and mindset, I absolutely believe he can play. They’ve been pretty up front with him and they’re going to take a look at him as a center. Considering how intelligent he is, I think center is a great fit for him. I don’t think he’ll have trouble adjusting to learning to make calls and reading defenses." More DEVENNEY, page B-3