Penn State Digs Charity Work

The Nittany Lions took the occasion of an in-season off day to pitch in with the United Way’s Day of Caring.

With Penn State having a bye this weekend, Thursday was supposed to be the first of three off days for the Nittany Lions. Coach James Franklin and his staff are on the road recruiting, so there is no practice slated for Thursday, Friday or Saturday.

But 50 or so PSU players volunteered to do some hard work for a good cause Thursday. Working in three shifts -- from 9 a.m. through about 5 p.m. -- they assisted in outdoor cleanup work at the historic Centre Furnace Mansion next to campus.

It was part of the local United Way Day of Caring.

“The community always has support of us in everything we do,” starting offensive tackle Andrew Nelson said while shoveling mulch. “So when we have an opportunity to give back to the community, as a team and a program we jump on it. It's great to be able to come out and show support to the community that has showed support for us.”

Added freshman running back Johnathan Thomas, “It's great to give back to the community. When we're at home, we usually don't get to do stuff like this. So it's a great experience to be out here with our teammates. It kind of builds some team chemistry and we get to help the community.”

The worked included clearing brush, raking leaves, and moving and spreading mulch. Some Nittany Lions seemed a bit more adept at such chores than others. At one point, freshman offensive tackle Chasz Wright found himself entangled in a burr bush, and teammates and other volunteers had to pull the sticky plants off of him.

“Some people, it doesn’t look like they’ve done much of this in their life.”

“Some people, it doesn't look like they've done much of this in their life,” Nelson said with a smile.

The players also had fun while working. At one point, Wright jokingly challenged fellow rookie tackle Chance Sorrell to wrestle a hog that was keeping a close eye on the work from a nearby pen.

“How do we know who wins?” Sorrell said.

The obvious winner Thursday was the Centre Furnace Mansion. But the Nittany Lions felt they came out on top, too.

“When we get an opportunity to come out on an off day and give back and help out, it's really awesome,” freshman tackle Charlie Shuman said.

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