|Bench Press:||380 pounds|
|School:||Shenandoah, Pa. (Shenandoah Valley HS)|
When Greg Harrison first committed to Penn State on April 26th, the day of the Blue-White Game, Nittany Lions fans were excited to get an early verbal from one of the best offensive linemen in the country. Little did any know back then that Greg would be one of Penn State's hardest working recruiters, burning up the phone lines with other potential Nittany Lions. Why has Greg dedicated himself so hard to help the Nittany Lion staff bring in their top targets?
"Once I sat down and decided I was going to come aboard (to the Penn State program), I just dedicated myself to getting the best class around me, surround myself with the best athletes to get up there. My goal for after high school is to win a championship. You need to put the best players around you to get to that goal," explained Greg. "I want the best kids around me. I guess that's how I am. So I took it to the forefront and started calling some kids and talking some kids to see what their interest was. Just become friends with them."
Greg has talked or talks to the other Penn State commitments on a regular basis. Today (June 18th), he plans to head up to State College.
"Yeah I'll be up there. I'll be in the neighborhood. We have something going on tomorrow, so I'm just going to go up to camp and see my teammate (Frank Carduff). He'll be up at camp there for the last day," said Greg. "I want to see how he's doing, see what's going on with him. Talk to the coaches. I have a couple other friends going up."
Greg's other friends include Cumberland Valley's Wyatt Bowman, along with Moon's A.Q. Shipley, Butler's Tyrell Sales, McKeesport's Dontey Brown, and possibly Beaver's Rory Nicol. Although it has been rumored that A.Q. Shipley has committed to Penn State, Greg did not know if it was complete fact last night, but he does know Shipley could be a tremendous addition to Penn State.
"I went up against him at Michigan State (camp). He got me," laughed Greg. "He's so quick and just the build on him, I can't imagine. He's going to be tearing through kids if he works hard. He was lighting kids up up there, left and right. I'm the one that gave him the best shot and I would have had him if I took just one more drop step, a quick one. He's just a great player. He really is."
"He's one of my best friends. We're talking to each other almost every other day. The class that we have now is so close and kids like that are so close that we're just friends besides the recruiting thing. We don't really talk about it, we just talk about going to a place to hang out," admitted Greg.
"People have to realize that sometimes you just don't want to talk about the football stuff and recruiting stuff and I realize that. I just become friends. Like with Chad (Henne), my brother just got a job at the Blue Mountain school district and he wants to move down to the West Lawn area, so we were talking to Chad about the good areas to go to and things like that. He has an awesome school though, it's a real nice school."
LionNews' Steve Curry broke the story that Greg Harrison attended the Chad Henne Press Conference. Has he been friends with Pennsylvania's top player for long?
"I've been talking to him for awhile. The first time I met him was at the Blue-White Game or when Tom Lemming came up to see me and him up in Allentown. I started calling him and talking to him then and then I went down to his press conference. We hung out a little bit before and then he showed me his school afterwards. He hung out for about an hour," explained Greg. "I'm just friends with him. I try recruiting him a little bit, but I know how difficult it got for me."
"He's a quiet kid and he's just getting phone calls off the hook. I think (the press conference) was just his way of saying, 'hey coach, I want to enjoy my summer', so his coach came up with a way to do that."
Even though Greg has committed to Penn State, he still deals with some of the same pressure that Chad has to endure.
"People come up to me and say, 'hey, did you know you where on Espn?' I guess I was ranked the sixth tackle in the country by that Tom Lemming guy," said Greg. "My sister was at a birthday party recently and someone introduced her to a Penn State die-hard. The next thing you know that Penn State die-hard was on (another site's) board and was like, 'I talked to Harrison's sister last night, blah, blah, blah." It's just amazing. My brother and I were eating wings, I think it was all you can eat wings at this one bar. So as we were leaving they were like that's the Harrison kid, what's he doing with a Miami shirt on. So it's weird."
A frequent visitor to different Penn State and Internet recruiting sites, Greg feels that the Internet does have some affect on the way a prospect may view a certain school.
"There's some that is and there is some that's ridiculous. It's funny when someone says I have an inside source with an inside look and when I see some of the things I laugh because I ask 'how do they know this stuff,' but sometimes I look and say 'they have no clue what they're talking about,'" laughed Greg. "I know a lot of schools that do look at these recruiting sites to see how a player feels about their university or their visit and stuff like that."
"I don't know how much Penn State uses it though. I'm actually going to ask them that. I ask them some questions on how they do their evaluating and stuff like that. I know a lot of their graduate assistants do a lot of the work on the internet. They have some graduate assistants up there that I couldn't believe," explained Greg. "One guy, Chris Achuff, I absolutely love the guy. I even asked him, 'are you going to be here if I come here?' His was almost the speech that closed the deal. He gave me one that just put the icing on the cake. So they have a good supporting cast all around."
Greg cannot wait until his senior season, especially now that the Shenandoah Valley School District hired former Blue Devil coach, Joe Ruth, a successful coach with a great coaching staff that Greg lobbied hard for this winter in front of the school board.
Does the fact that Greg will probably have an above average amount of Penn State fans and detractors from other schools bother him?
"It's a plus to have the fans there, but it's not a plus to have the target on you at all times. If you mess up on a play, it's like the end of the world," said Greg, hoping that Penn State fans also don't put to much pressure and emphasis on the recruitment of Chad Henne.
"I think fans put to much into it sometimes. One kid is not the end of the world. Just look at a kid like Zack Mills. Everyone complained about we lost Smoker, but we got a great kid with Mills," stated Greg. "Plus you never know what Penn State has planned or what Chad has told Penn State. I don't think Chad's a dishonest guy. If he wasn't truly interested, he would tell them and they would go off into other things. Even if they said that he really doesn't like Penn State, he's just listing them to keep the fans at bay. I think he would have told Penn State, 'hey, I'm not interested.' They would have went out and found other guys, because I don't think they would drag him along. Maybe he would say that to other people but you'd notice from other offers that Penn State would give out.
"I think he has a good interest in Psu. He's going to let them know. He isn't going to let it drag out once he figures out where he wants to be. If he wants to be there, he's going to tell them. And if he doesn't, he's going to tell them, so they can find another QB."
Greg admitted that he believes Chad has a great future no matter which school he picks, whether it be Penn State, Michigan, Tennessee, Georgia, or Miami, Fl.
"Even I was excited when Miami called my coach and told him they were coming up to see me and offer me around the first week of May. He was coming in the second day of the May Evaluation period. I committed two days after he talked to my coach, so he didn't come in. We estimated forty schools coming in, but I just didn't want to put up with it. I could have drug it out like everyone else and have forty some or fifty some offers, but I found the right place for me," said Greg.
"Even schools like UNLV were asking if I had an interest even though they were across the world. They said they'll come in and talk to me and have an offer on the table. And schools still stopped in to see if they still had a shot," explained Greg, who put together a highlight video with the help of Shenendoah's audio/visual director. " "I sent over 60 tapes out to colleges. Ohio State and Maryland, never got a piece of mail from them, sent a tape and the next day I had a scholarship letter here from them."
How does Greg feel the current class of prospects is shaping up?
"The recruiting scene is going very well. There are some kids that are close to committing that you've never heard about or might not hear about until (they commit). There are some kids that you do hear about that really like Psu. The class is shaping up real well," admitted Greg enthusiastically. "And Wyatt's done a good job too. He's been talking to everyone and calling me and seeing if I talked to them."
"He was going to come down to the Henne press conference, but at the last second he said he couldn't come down. There's a lot of top talent that really like Psu this year. I think we can pull in a top class."
Today won't be Greg's only visit to Penn State this month.
"Next week, me and Wyatt and Matt Hahn's going to come down. I went to camp with him in Maryland and I remember Alex Fletcher from there, but I don't remember Matt. I know there was a kid with Alex, but I can't remember what he looked like. But we've been talking through the internet, that is the first opportunity he can get down, so we're going to go down and there are a couple other recruits coming down too," said Greg.
When everything is said and done with Harrison's career at Penn State, if the NFL doesn't work out for him, he certainly has a bright future as a recruiter/offensive line coach. This kid is one of the reasons Penn State fans cheer so vigorously for the Nittany Lions.
(Interview by Steve Curry)