Run-On QB Sees More in Penn State

Indianapolis standout passed on scholarship offers from lower division schools for the opportunity to play for Bill O'Brien and the Nittany Lions.

Park Tudor High (Indianapolis) didn't come away victorious in Jack Seymour's first varsity action. Tied in the closing seconds of the first half against archrival Heritage Christian, the then freshman entered for the final few snaps heading into the break after the Panthers' senior quarterback suffered a concussion.

A few snaps turned into a whole second half of play, but the game, more importantly, represented the boons associated with patience.

It was that experience that helped him be diligent in the recruiting process, one that ended Thursday when Seymour accepted a run-on offer from Penn State over scholarship offers from Ball State, Western Michigan and Southern Illinois.

“I heard Penn State was interested around December, and it is definitely the biggest school I've come into contact with,” Seymour said in between classes Thursday. “It's very exciting, and these last couple of hours have almost been overwhelming, but in a good way.”

The December contact spurred from a conversation between Seymour's quarterback coach Will Hewlett, who runs the Quarterback Academy out of California, and Nittany Lion quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher. Once Fisher received Seymour's film, the conversations came more rapidly between Fisher, Hewlett, Park Tudor head coach Orlando Lowry and Seymour's parents. Those talks led to an unofficial visit to University Park last weekend, which represented the final affirmation the senior quarterback needed to pull the trigger.

“We had about 10, 15 minutes to talk to Coach O'Brien in his office, and it was a great conversation. I'm very fortunate to have the opportunity to be taught and coached by him,” Seymour said.

“I know now that I have the opportunity to compete like everybody else, and I like the feeling that they preach about everybody being a part of the team regardless of whether they are a scholarship player or a run-on. I felt they really valued and wanted me, and liked everything I could bring to the table to help the team out.”

The team he hopes to help out is one that has suddenly become stocked under center, with early enrollees Austin Whipple (Salisbury, Conn), D.J. Crook (Worchester, Mass.) and Tyler Ferguson (Bakersfield, Calif.) already in the fold, and Class of 2013 verbal commitment Christian Hackenberg of Fork Military Academy (Fork Union, Va.) joining Seymour on campus in June. They all join sophomore-to-be Steven Bench, giving O'Brien plenty of options to replace senior leader Matt McGloin.

Seymour is well aware of that. Regardless, he's looking forward to whatever role he has to fill come June. He feels he will eventually emerge as a leader, just as he did in high school.

“I think when I first started my sophomore year, that kind of sealed the deal on my leadership role on the team,” Seymour said. “A couple of friends and I would always be the ones to host events or go out and find kids to join our team, because we only had 28 or 30 players on the roster this season. I'd lead the winter workouts in the gym and at practice, and we had a great group of senior leaders on this year's team, too.”

On the field, his 1,200 passing yards in 2012 came mostly on the move, a facet of the game the senior believes helped him improve as a quarterback overall.

“Coming from such a small school, I had to improvise on thinking quick and work on extending the play. I think throwing on the run and my arm strength benefitted from that,” Seymour said. “Of course, I owe a lot of it to Coach Hewlett and Coach Lowry. Coach Hewlett taught me so many different things; everything I've accomplished is thanks to him.”

But now, Seymour knows it's time to learn from a new coach, and he believes O'Brien and Fisher are the right men to fit that bill.

“Coach Fisher is one of the best quarterback coaches out there, and what Penn State did this past year is admirable and remarkable,” Seymour said. “I love everything about Penn State.

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