When asked who was working a summer job, Kyle Vasey was one of several Penn State players to raise his hand.
Singled out by Nittany Lions coach James Franklin, Vasey — a Wallenpaupack grad and the team’s starting long snapper — explained that he was working at a bar in downtown State College. That meant some rough hours for four or five nights a week, usually from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m.
That’s on top of a daily regimen to prepare for the 2018 season while also closing in on his degree. A lot to deal with, but par for the course for a walk-on at a major program.
“So how many hours a week you (working)?” Franklin said.
“Twenty-five, 30,” Vasey answered.
“Quit,” Franklin said. “You’re on full scholarship.”
Vasey’s next moments were blissful chaos. With the entire team roaring in celebration, the fifth-year senior was at the center of it all, being mobbed from all sides on Penn State’s outdoor practice fields in a video posted by the program on Tuesday.
“I love every single one of you guys,” an emotional Vasey said after managing to collect himself. “I appreciate you so much.”
A hard-earned honor, to be sure, for someone who paid his way through his first four years at Penn State, redshirting in 2014 and not seeing the field at all the next two seasons after that.
But when veteran snapper Ty Yazujian graduated after the 2016 season, Vasey stepped up last fall and earned the starting job for all 13 games. He’s in line to do it again this season where his consistency on snaps will be especially important as the Lions have a wide-open battle to find a new kicker to replace Tyler Davis.
Vasey’s work ethic impressed Franklin before he ever appeared in a game.
“He’s one of the guys that probably works on his craft as much as anybody on our team,” Franklin said of Vasey during last summer’s training camp. “I mean, you walk through the weight room and he’s down there snapping on the turf. He’s got a plastic bottle sitting on top of a metal bar, knocking the plastic bottle off over and over and over again as I’m walking through the weight room. He’s in there every single day just kind of doing that on his own.”
Now Vasey joins center Lake-Lehman’s Connor McGovern as a District 2 alum on scholarship for the Lions. Others from the area on the roster include running back Nick Eury (Lake-Lehman), tight end Joe Arcangelo (Abington Heights) and Vasey’s younger brother Dan — listed as a defensive lineman and long snapper — who walked onto the team midway through last season.
He has a strong example to follow.
Unreal moment, can’t thank my family, teammates, coaches, all the support staffs, and Penn State community enough for all they’ve done to help me get here. #WeAre
— Kyle Vasey (@kfv1996) June 12, 2018
Reach Derek Levarse at 570-991-6396 or on Twitter @TLdlevarse