Astorino's Dream Comes True

Drew Astorino wanted to attend Penn State. But as the 2006-07 recruiting season was winding down, the Edinboro, Pa., native had yet to receive an offer from his home-state Nittany Lions. Earlier this week, that tender came, and the 5-foot-11, 185-pound defensive back wasted no time snapping it up.

On Tuesday, the Penn State staff told the General McLane star it was ready to present a scholarship. Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., Astorino called Joe Paterno and told the legendary coach he was going to become a Nittany Lion.

“I love Penn State,” Astorino said. “I like the program and I always wanted to play football with those guys. It's the place I wanted to go from the beginning. To get that offer and end up going to the place you really want to go to, it's a dream come true.”

Astorino knows a thing or two about dreams coming true, as his storybook career at General McLane had what could best be described as a fairytale ending. With Astorino playing quarterback, slot back and defensive back, the team won the 2006 PIAA AAA state championship.

Astorino, meanwhile, was named Pennsylvania AAA Player of the Year. He was later selected to the Keystone State squad that will play in the 2007 Big 33 Classic.

On the recruiting front, however, it looked as if he might not walk off into the sunset the way he always envisioned — namely, suiting up for the Nittany Lions. Astorino visited Happy Valley for the Penn State-Northwestern game in late September, and was immediately smitten.

“I really wanted to play for Coach Paterno,” he said. “I got to meet all of the coaches. The facilities were great.”

But the PSU staff did not offer him a scholarship after the visit. And when the end of November arrived and the Lions still had not offered, Astorino committed to Kent State.

“It was tough,” he said. “Obviously, I was talking to [Penn State] and really wanted a scholarship from them. But at the same time, I didn't want to be stuck in a position where I didn't have any scholarship.”

Fate would taunt him even further in mid-December. On General McLane's trip from Edinboro to Hershey to face Pottsville for the state title, the Lancers stopped off in Happy Valley for a workout on Penn State's outdoor practice field.

“It was just so impressive,” he said. “The facilities and everything were just amazing.”

It paid off with a 28-23 win in the championship tilt. Astorino capped a terrific senior season by rushing for 172 yards and two scores, and completing his only pass, a 42-yarder. On the year, he ran the option offense to perfection, finishing with more than 1,200 rushing yards and 24 scores.

In the middle of January, he was picked for the Big 33 team. He has been told he will play cornerback for Pennsylvania.

“It's one of the greatest honors you can get as a Pennsylvania athlete,” Astorino said. “I feel I worked extremely hard throughout my career to get where I am, so I deserve it.”

There was more good news later in the month, when Iowa offered him a scholarship. Astorino took a trip to visit the Hawkeyes but his mind was still on Penn State. Nittany Lion coaches stopped by McLane earlier in the month but had yet to pull the trigger on an offer.

On Tuesday, Penn State finally made its move. And Astorino responded in kind, quickly becoming the Nittany Lions' 20th commitment for the Class of 2007.

His parents were happy the weight was finally off Drew's shoulder. And his grandparents were even more excited. Drew's grandfather, Guy Astorino, has never missed one of the youngsters' games, either home or away. His grandmother, Theresa, gets to as many games as she can, too. When she can't, she listens on the radio.

“It means a lot to me to stay close to home,” the younger Astorino said.

And, even though it took the Penn State staff a while to offer him a scholarship, it means everything to him to become a Nittany Lion. Astorino said he will play defensive back for PSU, at whichever spot the coaches opt to put him.

He also believes he has something to prove.

“I feel I bring a lot of athleticism,” he said. “But the main thing I bring is a lot of heart. You know you're going to get my best effort.”


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