For the next step in his football career, Kyle Vasey is heading back to central Florida.
The Wallenpaupack graduate who went from walk-on to scholarship recipient and two-year starter at long snapper for Penn State will play in the fourth annual SPIRAL Tropical Bowl on Sunday in at Daytona L Stadium in Daytona Beach, about 50 miles northeast of Camping World Stadium, where he played his final game for the Nittany Lions last week in the Citrus Bowl loss to Kentucky.
The game will kick off at 10 a.m. and can be live streamed on the Tropical Bowl’s website, www.tropicalbowl.com.
Vasey committed to Penn State as a preferred walk-on after graduating from Wallenpaupack in 2014 and despite starting out as the fourth-string long snapper, he rose through the ranks to become the starter after Tyler Yazujian left following the 2016 season. By the summer of 2018, he earned a scholarship, and he won the prestigious John Bruno Memorial Award, given by the program annually to an outstanding member of the special teams units.
The Tropical Bowl bills itself as “a premiere FBS Division I-level college football all-star game” that showcases top college seniors. More than 110 players who have competed in the game have gone on to get an opportunity to compete for a job in the NFL. Three players who competed in the game last year — Alabama defensive lineman Joshua Frazier, San Jose State cornerback Jermaine Kelly and LSU quarterback Danny Etling — were selected on the third day of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Staying, and going
After a week when players leaving the program for the NFL became big news, Penn State got a welcomed announcement from a veteran offensive lineman who will be staying for his senior season.
Left guard Steven Gonzalez said through his Twitter account that, despite strongly considering giving the NFL a try, he planned to play 2019 with the Lions.
“I want to leave it all out on the field for the blue and one in one last ride!” he wrote. “I am excited to come back and get to work on myself as a player and a man.”
The 6-foot-4, 325-pound Gonzalez has been a starter since cracking the lineup against Rutgers on Nov. 19, 2016. His return gives the Nittany Lions a much-needed third starter coming back, joining junior-to-be Will Fries, a tackle, and center Michal Menet.
The offensive line will lose a bit more of its depth, though. Massive backup tackle Sterling Jenkins announced he will transfer to Duquesne to play his graduate season.
Jenkins, a once-heralded prospect, played sparingly for the Nittany Lions in 2016 and 2017. The decision to leave was hardly unexpected, as Jenkins was announced with the rest of the seniors during Penn State’s Senior Day festivities before the game against Maryland on Nov. 24.
And also arriving
Penn State announced that 11 members of the 2019 recruiting class who signed national letters of intent in December officially enrolled at the university for the first day of classes on Monday, including former Lackawanna College standout Anthony Whigan.
Whigan was joined by running back Noah Cain, linebacker Lance Dixon, cornerback Keaton Ellis, defensive end Adisa Isaac, quarterbacks Michael Johnson Jr. and Taquan Roberson, cornerback Tyler Rudolph, linebacker Brandon Smith, tight end Brenton Strange and cornerback Marquis Wilson.
Among three preferred walk-ons who enrolled Monday is Wyoming Seminary linebacker Robbie Dwyer, who verbally committed to the program in early December. All-state quarterback Isaac Rumery of Clearfield and cornerback Makai Self of Washington D.C., also enrolled.
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