Happy (Valley) times

By on December 20, 2017
Warwick senior quarterback Grayson Kline (third from left) is shown with Penn State University head football coach James Franklin (second from left), defensive line coach Sean Spencer (far left), and associate head coach/defensive coordinator Brent Pry (far right) after receiving a preferred walk-on offer from the Nittany Lions last Thursday.

Warwick senior quarterback Grayson Kline (third from left) is shown with Penn State University head football coach James Franklin (second from left), defensive line coach Sean Spencer (far left), and associate head coach/defensive coordinator Brent Pry (far right) after receiving a preferred walk-on offer from the Nittany Lions last Thursday.

Kline, a long-time PSU fan, gets walk-on offer from the Nittany Lions

In just over a week, the No. 9-ranked Penn State football team will be battling Washington in the Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix, Ariz.

But last Thursday, Nittany Lions’ coach James Franklin took a break from preparations to visit Warwick High School with associate head coach/defensive coordinator Brent Pry and defensive line coach Sean Spencer.

While there, Franklin presented Warwick senior QB Grayson Kline with a preferred walk-on offer to continue his career in Happy Valley.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Kline, after transferring from Wilson this past summer, went 68-of-122 for 1,134 yards and 10 TDs in just four games this season prior to suffering a season-ending knee injury in a week four loss to the Bulldogs. Kline also rushed 33 times for 173 yards and a TD.

Lititz Record sports editor Bruce Morgan chatted with Kline about the offer from Penn State, the recruiting journey his transfer from Wilson, and the status of his rehabilitation:

Bruce Morgan: Describe your emotions last Wednesday after receiving the offer from Penn State.

Grayson Kline: It was insane. I really did not expect it at all. I thought they were going to offer (junior tight end) Hayden (Rucci) and it turned out to be the complete opposite. I thought they were just going to kinda say hello, shake my hand and be on my way. It’s insane. I cried.

BM: How did everything unfold? Where did you actually meet with coach Franklin?

GS: We met with him in the LGI room at the high school. (Warwick Athletic Director Ryan Landis) told me Wednesday that they were coming in, they wanted me to be there, and they were coming in at 8 o’clock. I don’t get to school every day until 9 because I have the late arrival. So I was like, ‘Alright, well, should I go, should I not go?’ They were texting Hayden telling him to be sure to be there. The only way I knew about it was because Mr. Landis told me. So I woke up early, got there at 8, drove through snow and it was awesome from there.

BM: Was it just small talk that coach Franklin made with you? Did he say anything to you that you remember?

GK: He asked all about my leg. Obviously, that’s a big point. He asked about the leg, he told me he watched my film a bunch and said the whole staff was talking about me. And he told me he wanted to keep hometown talent home. And that was awesome to me. I grew up watching Penn State football, I knew everybody (playing) Penn State football. One of my best friends, Justin Weller from Wilson, is playing at Penn State (as a freshman wide receiver).

BM: Obviously, Penn State doesn’t have concerns about your rehab then and you getting back to full strength if they’re making this offer to you, right?

GK: Nope, they’re treating it like a sprained ankle.They don’t look at it any different. I mean, they’re a big-time program, they see this type of stuff every day, which is awesome.

BM: How many other offers do you have right now?

GK: Just Penn State and Missouri State for now. Hopefully, a bunch see it and maybe I’ll get their attention, maybe not. Who knows?

BM: I know you’ve visited Michigan State too. Where else have you visited?

GK: I visited Michigan State, I went down to Virginia Tech over the summer, and a bunch of (Division-One) Double-A schools also have contacted me. So I’ve been to a bunch of them, mostly in the NEC, the Northeastern Conference.

BM: Were you at Rutgers as well?

GK: Yeah, we were at Rutgers, they were talking to me about a defensive position actually. Defensive end.

BM: Have you ever played defensive end?

GK: Not since seventh or eighth grade.

BM: So you’d be learning a new position, basically?

GK: Yeah, they like the frame, so they would want me to get there and probably put on close to 60 pounds. It’d be different.

BM: Are you leaning toward Penn State or any other school right now, or is it still too early?

GK: Penn State obviously has the lead right now. They’re one of the only (offers) that I have and I’ve loved that program since I was a kid. I remember me and my dad waking up on Saturdays, getting ready for the game and watching Penn State football, and we’ve always been excited about Penn State football. So I mean, obviously, that holds a big piece just because it feels like family. But I’m not going to commit until after Dec. 20. I was thinking around the 25th, 26th, 27th even.

BM: That’s not a lot of time.

GK: Yeah, we’re thinking about early enrollment.

BM: Is the offer from Missouri State a partial offer, full offer, or walk-on offer?

GK: That’s also a walk-on. They were talking about maybe the possibility of it being a gray shirt. So they really want to track my knee’s process and see how I’m doing before they make big decisions.

BM: What’s a gray shirt?

GK: You pay the first year and then they pay the rest.

BM: As a preferred walk-on, what benefits do you get out of that?

GK: It’s a for-sure spot on the team. So they told me pretty much there’s a roster spot for me. If I want it, I can come take it.

BM: Describe what these last couple months have been like, from the time you hurt your knee. Were you afraid at that point that the offers might dry up, and obviously they haven’t, but to get to this point now where you’re getting the offer from Penn State, what have these last couple months been like?

GK: They’ve been insane. When I got hurt, I was terrified. I’ve never had surgery until my first knee surgery, but I wasn’t scared about surgery — I was scared, really, on college opportunities because I’ve worked hard to get to where I’m at, and then I just felt it slip away a little bit. And thank God, we got a grasp back on it, but it was crazy. And then after that, it’s been a lot of fun. It’s part of my story now and I wouldn’t rewrite it any other way.

BM: I know your injury was more than the ACL. What all did it involve?

GK: It was the patellar tendon, which was the major one. That’s one of the toughest tendons in your body, and mine was shredded. It was not a good situation, at all. But we got through it. So that and my meniscus was torn up pretty bad. It was tough. We’re getting after it, though. We’re not treating this lightly.

BM: Have you had multiple surgeries on it?

GK: I’ve only had my patellar tendon and meniscus repaired. I have to get my ACL injury hopefully by the end of this month.

BM: Did I see a quote from you that they have to wait for the swelling to go down before you do the ACL surgery?

GK: It was range of motion. I have to have 120 degree and right now, I’m at, like, the 103 range. So I’m hoping when I get to 110, we’re going to schedule the next surgery and then 120 will be the true tell-all to when we can really just get back in there.

BM: Do you expect to be ready to go by this summer?

GK: Not by the summer. They said before next football season, I’ll be 90, 95, if not 100 percent. So I’m going to take a redshirt my first year of college and really take the time physically and mentally to make sure it’s where I want it at.

BM: How is the rehab going so far?

GK: We’re killing it. It’s going well. We’re moving, we’re walking, and doing everything I should be doing at this point. I’m a little bit ahead of schedule. It’s been fun. It stinks, don’t get me wrong. It hurts. But it’s a challenge. It’s pretty much a competition and I love to compete. So I’m competing with my own body right now.

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