Brumbaugh Returning to PSU

He visited Penn State in August. But in the midst of a hot start to his junior campaign, the South Fayette (McDonald, Pa.) quarterback will be back at University Park this fall.

South Fayette would eventually steamroll Seton La Salle 45-3 last Friday night at South Fayette Stadium in McDonald, Pa. But there was no certainty that would be the case when the then 4-0 Lions took to the turf for their second offensive play of the night.

A 5-yard scamper from running back J.J. Walker set up by an interception had the host up 7-0 in a hurry, and not long after, junior quarterback Brett Brumbaugh was back in the huddle, wondering how to top his team's first offensive play.

The answer was simple -- make it the highlight of the year for the now 5-0 Lions.

The play was simple in hindsight: with Brumbaugh in the shotgun, Walker in the side car, and four receivers split between both sides of the field, receiver Justin Watson blew past the cornerback, safety and everyone else on the field side on a go route, hauling in his quarterback's pass 30-yards from the line of scrimmage and romping the other 50-yards for the second Lions' score of the night and a 14-3 lead.

Plays like that have summed up Brumbaugh's season to date, one that has helped him draw interest from Penn State, Temple, West Virginia and Pittsburgh. He already has tossed for 986 yards and 12 scores while completing 60 of 92 passes.

He'd like to see his team reach the WPIAL championship game. But for now, he's taking this season on a week-by-week basis, much like he's taking the recruiting process that he hopes one day blooms into more interest and offers.

"The first couple of weeks, I struggled passing-wise, but I got back on track the last couple of games," Brumbaugh said. "I think we're a little more balanced offensively this year. When the passing game and running game is clicking at the right moment, you can't focus on one or the other.

"And our defense, they don't let anything in. The first-team defense has given up just three points all year, which is a pretty big deal."

Akron and Temple have already extended verbal scholarship offers to the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Class of 2015 signal caller, and he keeps up with Penn State weekly through Lions' running backs coach Charles London or quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher.

A visit to Pittsburgh last Saturday for the Panthers' 14-3 victory over Virginia marked his first unofficial visit of the season, and another will come Oct. 12, when he treks to University Park to see Penn State grapple with fellow Big Ten foe Michigan.

"I wanted to make it up for a Penn State game, and I knew that'd be the best game on the home schedule," Brumbaugh said. "The white-out atmosphere will be ridiculous. I took an unofficial there (in the) summer, so I got to see it a little bit there.

"I'm excited to see a game and that kind of atmosphere, and see how the players play and everyone comes together for the game."

Asked how for a reaction to the news last week that Penn State would receive scholarships back from the NCAA, he said he thought it was "really good."

That also summed up his interactions with the two assistant coaches who are recruiting him for the Lions.

"I have a really good relationship with Coach London and Coach Fisher. All the hard work has paid off, and people are interested," Brumbaugh said. "When the NCAA sanctions first came out, I thought it was a little too harsh on the players. It's not their fault or responsibility; it's the people that were in charge at the time.

"[Penn State head coach Bill] O'Brien came in and did what he had to do, and so did the players and incoming recruits. It just kind of hurt players, who didn't play any part in the Jerry Sandusky stuff."

Brumbaugh says he will continue to keep up with all the coaches he speaks with weekly, adding most of that contact comes via Facebook. That includes Pitt quarterbacks coach Brooks Bollinger, who starred at Wisconsin before journeying around the NFL for eight seasons.

The recent visit to Heinz Field in Pittsburgh went exactly as he expected it to for a program he's seen plenty of, considering his home's proximity to Pitt and the Panthers' Oakland campus.

"It was nice to see them play an AAC opponent," Brumbaugh said. "They looked really good, and [head coach Paul] Chryst has turned around the program well."

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