|School:||State College, Pa. (State College HS)|
When your great grandfather, grandfather, father, and uncles are all carpenters, there's a pretty good chance that you'll turn out to be a carpenter too. The family tradition is hard to shake--it's in your blood. Penn State's latest commitment will also be continuing the family business--enrolling in Penn State to be a part of the Nittany Lion football tradition. Kevin Suhey, State College HS's 6'2'', 195 quarterback/safety, will be the latest member of the Suhey family to wear the blue and white, verbally committing to Penn State last week.
Growing up in State College, it's not difficult to imagine yourself playing under the lights of Beaver Stadium against Michigan or Ohio State. What reasons led Kevin to ultimately choosing Penn State?
"Many reasons. The coaching staff--I know they've been criticized lately but I think they're great guys and very knowledgeable. They have a great future ahead of them with the coaching staff. Also, I just got accepted to the school of engineering, which is one of the top schools in the nation for engineers. So I'm hoping to do something good with that," Kevin quipped. "Plus I've just grown with Penn State as part of my family. I've been a big Penn State fan since I was little, so it's always been a dream to play up there. I can see the stadium from outside of my bedroom window. I go to bed every night looking at it."
When did the Penn State coaching staff make Kevin aware that he would be able to fulfill his dream of playing at Penn State by offering him a scholarship?
"Well they never really came out and gave me a formal scholarship offer, like we're going to offer you a scholarship to Penn State. It was more or less that we talked about it last spring--my dad, Coach (Joe) Paterno, and myself. Coach Paterno and my dad are pretty good friends and Coach Paterno is a friend of the family, so we just had a conversation last spring and he talked about probably being able to make things work out at Penn State, but for now we'll just wait and see how things go for the season and we'll talk later this fall," explained Kevin. "So then probably early September range, my dad talked to Coach Paterno and that's when we came to the understanding that they were going to offer me a scholarship and I expressed my interest in Penn State too. I told them that's the only place I want to go. From there we decided to keep things cool and see how the rest of the season went before we said anything."
Did Joe Paterno or Penn State ask Kevin to keep his commitment silent or was it a family decision?
"It was a family decision. We never really talked to Coach Paterno about when to say I want to go to Penn State," explained Kevin, who despite being a lifelong Penn Stater, decided on a less high profile recruitment--a course of action that he explained to JoePa. "I said I'm real interested in Penn State--they're my number one choice right now. I basically wouldn't want to go anywhere else, but for now I'd rather play the season and keep the pressure off of me for a while until the seasons over."
Once State College lost to Pittsburgh Central Catholic in the Western PIAA semi-finals, Kevin felt it was the right time to make his commitment public knowledge. When did he make his decision known?
"Wednesday (12/3). We talked to Ron Bracken, the sports editor for the CDT (Centre Daily Times), he goes way back with State College sports. My dad emailed him and told him about my commitment," Kevin said.
When did he let the Penn State staff know that they would be gaining their nineteenth commitment?
"I talked with Jay Paterno on Tuesday. Then today (Thursday 12/4) he was also came in my school and I talked with him for awhile over my lunch period. My dad spoke with Joe Paterno on Monday and that's when we decided to release it," explained Kevin. "(The Penn State coaching staff) knew pretty much that Penn State's where I wanted to go. But we just wanted to wait until the season was over."
How did Jay react to the news that a fellow State High quarterback would now be a Penn State Nittany Lion?
"He said it's good to have you, you made the right choice, and we look to next year," said Kevin proudly.
Despite his fine senior season, leading State College HS deep into the playoffs, Kevin didn't receive much, if any, contact from colleges. Penn State should not take this as a bad sign though--Kevin, for intensive purposes, ended his recruitment last spring.
"Ever since talking to Coach Paterno in the spring, I haven't been to hasty replying to other schools, sending all my information back, or contacting their coaches. So not to many schools down the last stretch have come in contact with me to much," stated Kevin, who had been receiving mail from Duke, Stanford, and all of the Big Ten schools during his junior year.
Kevin will spend this winter wrestling for the Little Lions. A very versatile athlete, Kevin can also project as a safety, despite only playing there half the season after an injury to his non throwing shoulder. For now though, his future appears to be at quarterback.
"When I spoke with Jay and Joe, even back in April, they both said they planned on bringing in two quarterbacks this year because they have a lack of scholarship quarterbacks right now," said Kevin.
Kevin has not yet decided when he will make his official visit to Penn State. He hopes to schedule a date that would also be conducive for his good friend Marcus Millen, son of former Nittany Lion Matt Millen and Easton HS linebacker. Although Penn State has not offered Marcus, Kevin hopes to talk him into to potentially walking-on, so that the two could room together during their freshman season.
With all the other commitments visiting Penn State this weekend, does Kevin expect to drive over to Penn State to meet some of his future teammates?
"Chances are I'll end up there a little bit because Jason Ganter, Fran Ganter's son, is a real good friend of mine. I think they're having Dan Lawlor this weekend--Jason's roommate is hosting him. So I'll be hanging out with Jason."
Kevin will get the opportunity to hang out more with Jason next year as he hopes to enroll into Penn State to get a jump start on his classes. Could he be the quarterback that engineers a turn around for Penn State? Time will tell.
(Interview by Steve Curry)