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Counting Down the Lions: #12

Submitted by on August 30, 2009No Comment

In joining Charlie’s Top PSU moments, we’ve added another daily countdown feature here at quebecpenspinning. We’ll be measuring up the 50 most important players to Penn State’s success in the 2009 season. You may have noticed that we’ve slacked off a little lately, but expect a few double 15doses of Counting Down the Lions until we’re all caught up.

Checking in at #12 is a talented tight end who hopes to escape Joe Paterno’s doghouse and finally live up to his massive potential: Andrew Quarless.

Number: 10
Position: Tight End
Class: Senior
Height: 6’5
Weight: 248
Hometown: Uniondale, N.Y.
How’d He Get Here: I know as well as anybody that Long Island doesn’t produce too many major college prospects.  The last player we got all excited about was Jason Gwaltney, and he couldn’t cut it at West Virginia.  But Quarless made it big.  It wasn’t just his stats that were impressive, though they were extraordinary.  As a junior, Quarless had 39 catches for 843 yards and 6 touchdowns, while contributing 16 sacks on defense.  In his senior year, though, Quarless took an even larger role in the offense, compiling 1200 all-purpose yards and 9 touchdowns, gaining All-Conference and All-State honors.  But it was his impressive size and physical attributes that had Quarless ranked as a four-star recruit and as a top tight end in the nation, with scholarship offers from schools as diverse as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Nebraska before choosing Penn State.
2008 Results: 2008 was a trying season for Andrew Quarless.  Though he played significantly in 12 games, he lost his starting spot to Mickey Shuler, as he started just one game for the Lions last season.  He also faced a 1-game suspension for his involvement in a marijuana scandal that saw his teammates Maurice Evans and Abe Koroma miss three games each.  When he was able to get out on the field, Quarless’s play was spotty, just 11 catches for 117 yards and a single touchdown.
What to Expect in 2009: In a move that will certainly be good for the Lions, but even better for Quarless, it seems that AQ2 has been steadily working his way out of Joe Paterno’s doghouse, dedicating himself to football and improving as an individual.  He’s living alone this year, without the distraction of roommates (even in marijuana-gate, Quarless was the only roommate found without pot, but was punished for his involvement).  He’s also reached out to Daryll Clark, and over the summer, when practices were largely unofficial, the two worked out together, improving their timing and coordination.  If Quarless is truly able to dedicate himself to only football, he’s got the potential to truly have a huge year for Penn State.  A gifted athlete, Quarless has good speed to match his superior size, and with the graduation of the top 3 receivers from a year ago, Quarless could easily become Daryll Clark’s safety blanket in 2009.  With more experience than any other pass-catcher on the team, if Quarless is able to put it all together as a senior, the results could be more than impressive for the Nittany Lions.
Random Fact: No matter how good he was going to be as a Nittany Lion, Andrew Quarless will always be best known for being tacked into Joe Paterno in a game at Wisconsin, breaking the coach’s leg and three ribs.  Thankfully, it’s become just another situation we can laugh about, another example of how Joe Paterno just won’t give up no matter what happens.
The Final Word: When Quarless burst onto the scene with his marvelous true freshman season, with 21 catches and 288 yards, so many Penn State fans thought they had the next Kyle Brady on their hands.  But with a prolonged stay in the Paterno doghouse, first for an underage drinking citation, then for a DUI, in which he blew a .084, and then later for the involvement in the aforementioned marijuana incident, Quarless has been barely able to match those numbers in the two seasons following.  And while you hear a lot about players trying to turn over a new leaf, it really seems that AQ2 is taking those words to heart.

The tight end was asked if he ever came close to leaving Penn State during the tough times and replied, “Not really.”

“Every situation that happened, I went and spoke with Joe,” Quarless said. “I told him, ‘Just give me a chance and I don’t want to leave.’ Personally, I think, like, weak people leave situations like that. I wanted to show my teammates [and coaches] that I can be able to fight through situations, and that’s what I did.”

We’ve only been able to see glimpses of the full package during his first three years, but if Quarless can do what he’s capable of in 2009, it’s not a stretch to suggest that he could be one of the best receiving tight ends in the country.  The first, and most important thing for Quarless is to focus all of his energy on the football field, and it looks like he’s doing just that.  A 30-catch season in 2009 would tie him with Kyle Brady for 2nd most all time by a Penn State tight end.  I don’t think that number is out of reach.

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