McGregor joining PSU as preferred walk-on
April 12, 2008
When Central Cambria High School quarterback Shane McGregor put together a highlight tape for college football programs that might be interested in recruiting him, he sent one to Penn State on a whim.
‘‘I just figured, ‘what the heck,’ ’’ McGregor said. ‘‘I figured it was a long shot, but I took my shot.’’
McGregor’s long shot found its mark.
The Red Devil senior was invited in February to join the Nittany Lions as a preferred walk-on this fall, and, on Monday, he accepted that offer.
‘‘I was kind of surprised [when they called me]. I hadn’t expected that,’’ McGregor said. ‘‘I believed in myself. I’d been recruited by some good Division I-AA schools.’’
McGregor had been looking closely at Harvard and Princeton. Duquesne, Georgetown, Washington and Jefferson and Carnegie-Mellon pursued him hardest for football.
‘‘I know a lot of kids say it, but it’s been a dream of mine since I was 7 or 8 to play on a big college football scale. I wasn’t sure I was going to get that opportunity. I’m really grateful,’’ McGregor added. ‘‘It was really an offer I couldn’t refuse.’’
McGregor also cited Penn State’s sports journalism program — his intended major — as a factor in the decision. His mother, Beth, is a Penn State graduate. He visited Penn State on President’s Day weekend; Mike McQueary handled his recruitment.
McGregor was the Mirror’s second-team all-area quarterback in 2007. The 6-foot-2, 187-pounder help lead Central Cambria to a spot in the District 6 Class AA title game by completing 111 of 218 passes.
McGregor’s 1,711 passing yards were second in the area, and no one equaled or surpassed his 15 touchdowns throws.
McGregor, who also plays baseball and basketball, is the second area player to accept an invitation to walk-on with the Nittany Lions this year. Philipsburg-Osceola all-state defensive back J.D. Mason, who also plays receiver, did so in February.
Moshannon Valley’s Ryan Gmerek is currently on the roster, having made it as a traditional walk-on.
Even preferred walk-ons don’t have an easy path to the field. Penn State, though, has had some good luck with them in recent years. Altoona’s Brendan Perretta, who just completed his eligibility, received sporadic playing time throughout his career. Lion wideout Deon Butler has been a starter since his redshirt freshman season. Former walk-ons Rich Gardner and Ethan Kilmer went on to be drafted by NFL teams in the last four years.
‘‘He’s in for a learning experience, I think as is any kid when they try to go to that next level,’’ Central Cambria coach Ken Bussard said. ‘‘But Shane is solid as far as his mental makeup to handle this.’’
McGregor has some family members who can help in the transition, too. His dad, Bernie, has coached basketball at the Divison I level. His father’s brother, Bill, is the football coach at DeMatha Catholic, which produced Nittany Lion linebacker Derek Wake.
McGregor isn’t the only quarterback Penn State has invited to walk-on this year. Gettysburg signal-caller Evan Lewis — the Class AAA player of the year — is also on the way.