Harvey Levine/FOS

Penn State TE Mike Gesicki Doubles Down On Respect Comments

The Nittany Lion senior believes his team has earned its place back among the elite programs in college football.

Well, this ought to be fun.

Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki has always been one to speak his mind. And now that he's a senior and considered one of the best at his position in the nation, he finds himself on a bigger stage and with a wider audience.

Take Monday, when Gesicki was quoted in USA Today as saying the reason Nittany Lion running back Saquon Barkley isn't getting more national attention “has a lot to do with the lack of respect Penn State gets as a program.”

Then he said this: “If he’s at Ohio State, people are blowing up; if he’s at Alabama, people are blowing up. But he’s at Penn State.”

On a conference call with Penn State beat writers Tuesday morning, Gesicki stood by the comments.

"I think we made positive strides to get the respect we deserve,” Gesicki said. "But there were moments through (last) season — I mean, we knock off Ohio State and there were still people who were not favoring us the following week against Purdue. … That's just a prime example of something like that. … You watch all the shows on TV (on game days), you sit in the hotel all day and listen to people knocking you on TV.”

It is easy to see why the Nittany Lions may be operating with a bit of a chip on their collective shoulder. Despite winning the Big Ten championship and advancing to the Rose Bowl last season, only one PSU position player — Barkley — earned first-team All-Conference honors. The league coaches tabbed Wisconsin's Paul Chryst at Coach of the Year, over Penn State's James Franklin.

As for Gesicki, despite setting PSU single-season records for catches (48) and receiving yards (679) by a tight end, the Big Ten coaches didn't even given him third-tram All-Conference notice. He had more catches and yards than the three men who were honored, as well as a significantly higher per-catch average (14.1).

"It's a bunch of stuff we can't control," Gesicki said. "At the end of the day, I don't think it affects us. But I do think we deserved more respect toward the end of the season and were starting to get it — and rightfully so."

Of course, there is one way to pretty much guarantee Penn State gets more respect this season.

"I mean, I think the only thing bigger that we could have done last year was go to the playoffs,” Gesicki said.

To do that this year, Gesicki knows the Lions must "do what we do week in and week out.” If there is a difference with the team heading into the 2017 season, it is that it has already proven it knows how to win a Big Ten title.

"Just the confidence,” Gesicki said. "And not like the fake confidence where you hear people talk about, yeah, we're gonna win this. But the actual real confidence because of your track record.”


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Well, this ought to be fun.

Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki has always been one to speak his mind. And now that he's a senior and considered one of the best at his position in the nation, he finds himself on a bigger stage and with a wider audience.

Take Monday, when Gesicki was quoted in USA Today as saying the reason Nittany Lion running back Saquon Barkley isn't getting more national attention “has a lot to do with the lack of respect Penn State gets as a program.”

Then he said this: “If he’s at Ohio State, people are blowing up; if he’s at Alabama, people are blowing up. But he’s at Penn State.”

On a conference call with Penn State beat writers Tuesday morning, Gesicki stood by the comments.

\"I think we made positive strides to get the respect we deserve,” Gesicki said. \"But there were moments through (last) season — I mean, we knock off Ohio State and there were still people who were not favoring us the following week against Purdue. … That's just a prime example of something like that. … You watch all the shows on TV (on game days), you sit in the hotel all day and listen to people knocking you on TV.”

It is easy to see why the Nittany Lions may be operating with a bit of a chip on their collective shoulder. Despite winning the Big Ten championship and advancing to the Rose Bowl last season, only one PSU position player — Barkley — earned first-team All-Conference honors. The league coaches tabbed Wisconsin's Paul Chryst at Coach of the Year, over Penn State's James Franklin.

As for Gesicki, despite setting PSU single-season records for catches (48) and receiving yards (679) by a tight end, the Big Ten coaches didn't even given him third-tram All-Conference notice. He had more catches and yards than the three men who were honored, as well as a significantly higher per-catch average (14.1).

\"It's a bunch of stuff we can't control,\" Gesicki said. \"At the end of the day, I don't think it affects us. But I do think we deserved more respect toward the end of the season and were starting to get it — and rightfully so.\"

Of course, there is one way to pretty much guarantee Penn State gets more respect this season.

\"I mean, I think the only thing bigger that we could have done last year was go to the playoffs,” Gesicki said.

To do that this year, Gesicki knows the Lions must \"do what we do week in and week out.” If there is a difference with the team heading into the 2017 season, it is that it has already proven it knows how to win a Big Ten title.

\"Just the confidence,” Gesicki said. \"And not like the fake confidence where you hear people talk about, yeah, we're gonna win this. But the actual real confidence because of your track record.”

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