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Spot on Penn State roster a ‘dream come true’ for QB Grayson Kline
One day after thousands of high school seniors sealed their college football future on National Signing Day, quarterback Grayson Kline determined his. The Warwick (Lititz, Pa.) High School senior announced Thursday afternoon he will join the Penn State football program as a preferred walk-on player.
Kline, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound prospect, collected 1,140 passing yards, 200 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns in 4 games as a senior. His final prep campaign was cut short in September when he sustained a serious left-knee injury: a torn patellar tendon, meniscus and ACL.
“I’m progressing well and expect to be 100 percent before the  season,” Kline told Land of 10.
Considering his hot start to the 2017 season, this setback ultimately might have cost him scholarship opportunities.
“It has not been an easy road, but it made me the person I am, and I would not change that for the world,” Kline wrote on Twitter upon his announcement.
Penn State coach James Franklin opened the door for a roster spot in mid-December. Kline had conversations with former Nittany Lions offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead prior to his departure, then continued chatting with new play-caller Ricky Rahne and other staff members.
“They all said that I will have to compete, compete, and compete some more, which I am more than willing to do,” Kline said. “Coach Franklin also mentioned possible special teams time.”
Prior to picking Penn State, Kline discussed the possibility of a walk-on spot with coaches at Akron, Michigan State, Missouri State and Virginia Tech.
“After talking to my family about all the possible outcomes, we just felt as if Penn State was the best fit for all of us,” he said. “The coaching staff is phenomenal both on the field and turning their players into outstanding people over the course of their careers at PSU. Also it is my hometown team. … Being offered a spot at Penn State is a dream come true for every kid here.”
His physical stature is clearly an asset, and could lend itself toward other roles on the field. Kline said he is confident he has the tools to be a successful quarterback.
“I would say my strengths are my arm strength and being able to hit every spot I need to on the field, my decision-making while reading a pre-snap and post-snap defense, and I have worked very hard to increase my footwork and foot speed in the pocket,” he said.
He will join fellow incoming freshman Will Levis on campus next fall. Levis, a scholarship recruit, committed to Penn State over programs such as Florida State, Iowa, Ole Miss and Syracuse, then signed with the Nittany Lions on Dec. 20.
Kline said he is hopeful they’ll be able to push each other in a positive way on the practice field.
“I have not had the chance to talk to Will yet. I’ve seen his film a ton and think he is a great quarterback with a great set of skills,” he said. “I couldn’t be more excited to get to work with him in the near future.”
Watch Kline’s senior-season highlights here:
New Nittany Lions coaches excited to work with 2018 signees
Members of the 2018 Penn State recruiting class aren’t the only newcomers who will spend this year transitioning to new surroundings. An offseason Nittany Lions staff shuffle resulted in a few notable changes on the offensive side.
Receivers coach David Corley and running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider joined Franklin’s collection of assistants in January. There has been an emphasis on recruiting throughout their limited tenures, as efforts are well underway establishing relationships with Penn State targets and signees.
Seider, who spent last season with Florida after four years at West Virginia, is considered an ace recruiter in South Florida. His impact is already evident, as Penn State offered more than 10 high school standouts in the Sunshine State just last week.
“Ja’Juan is a guy that I knew more about his reputation, and then there were some guys on our staff that he had a relationship with,” Franklin said Wednesday. “We went through the interview process and guys had done a good job, but Ja’Juan kind of blew us away.”
Corley most recently coached for Army and Connecticut. History with Franklin helped lead him to Happy Valley.
“David is a guy I identified about five years ago, I think it was,” Franklin said. “He interviewed for the receivers job at Vanderbilt. The same [opening] was the interview with [previous Penn State wide receivers coach] Josh Gattis. We ended up going with Josh Gattis, and I’ve stayed in touch with David ever since, tracking his career.”
Corley and Seider inherit impressive groups at their positions even after the departure of record-setting Penn State players Saquon Barkley and DaeSean Hamilton. They’re both in store for an influx of talent this summer when 2018 signees enroll.
The Nittany Lions landed a trio blue-chip receivers: Jahan Dotson, Daniel George and Justin Shorter. All three are considered top-50 prospects at the position, and Shorter is the 247Sports composite No. 1 receiver recruit in America.
“These guys are a phenomenal group of players,” Corley said. “Their film is excellent. I have talked with all of these guys and I’ve actually met all of them, and their families. I’m really looking forward to bringing them into the fold and working with those guys next season. They’re all exceptional players — Justin, Jahan and Daniel.”
Seider also welcomes a 5-star talent to his position room. Penn State signed running back Ricky Slade, who earned Virginia’s Gatorade Player of the Year honor in 2017.
Slade never wavered in his Nittany Lions commitment, even when former running backs coach Charles Huff left to join Moorhead at Mississippi State. He signed in December, providing Penn State with another impressive building block for its post-Barkley backfield.
Slade totaled 2,700 all-purpose yards and 40 touchdowns as a senior. His scintillating skill set attracted attention from Seider at a previous stop.
“I recruited Ricky when I was at West Virginia a year ago,” Seider said. “We had a little bit of a relationship. He was actually coming down to see me at West Virginia on a junior day, and then he came for a junior day [at Penn State] and committed. The rest of that story is history. But I recruited him for a little while, knew he was talented, and [Penn State] did a great job keeping the kid.”
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