Notes From Media Day
August 17, 2011 – | No Comment

Before I begin, I should probably explain why we haven’t posted in a while. Frankly, it’s just been bad timing. I just got back from a study abroad program in Europe, and Charlie is still …

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Counting Down the Lions: #7

Submitted by on September 2, 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. With just 5 more days until Penn State football, you’ll be getting 2 installments a day for the rest of the week.

Checking in at #7 is Penn State’s anchor in the defensive backfield: Drew Astorino

Number: 28
Position: Safety
Class: Redshirt Sophomore
Height: 5’10
Weight: 194
Hometown: Edinboro
How’d He Get Here: Drew Astorino was an absolute stud in high school, playing both cornerback and running back.  As a junior, Astorino ran for 1100 yards and 29 touchdowns, adding 7 interceptions along the way as he was named 1st-team All State.  The next season, he went ahead and ran for 1200 yards and “just” 24 touchdowns with another 7 interceptions en route to yet another All-State selection, and a spot in the 2006 Big 33 Game.  On the way, Astorino led his team to the AAA level state championship, scoring the winning touchdown with under 5 minutes to play.  Yet despite his performance, Astorino didn’t draw too much interest in the recruiting game.  Rated as a 3-star cornerback by Scout, and not evaluated by Rivals, Astorino held offers from just three BCS conference schools, Penn State, Cincinnatti and Iowa, in addition to a large number of smaller programs.  The decision was not an easy one for Drew, who nearly committed to the Hawkeyes before choosing Penn State.
2008 Results: Stuck behind a pair of entrenched starters, in Mark Rubin and Anthony Scirrotto, Astorino nonetheless made a major impact in his first year with the Lions.  Astorino saw plenty of time as Penn State’s nickel back in 2008, starting 3 games when Penn State used the formation to begin a game.  He finished tied for second on the team with 2 interceptions, 9th on the team with 39 tackles, and 2nd with 9 passes broken up.
What to Expect in 2009: Astorino will undoubtedly start all 13 games for the Lions in 2009, barring an injury or some unseen catastrophe.  With uncertainty abounding around him, he’ll be asked to anchor the defensive backfield, and that’s a tall order for the young player.  And if that’s not enough, Joe Paterno said he’ll also be a primary punt returner in 2009, referring to him as “that little Italian kid who can run.”  It’s clear that the coaching staff has put their trust in Astorino, who, frankly, seemed to always be around the ball when he was on the field last year.
Random Fact: Astorino certainly has a flair for the dramatic.  Not only did he score the winning touchdown in the state football championship, but with 2 seconds left, Astorino made the game winning bucket in the state basketball championships, played right here at the Bryce Jordan Center.
The Final Word: Drew Astorino might be small in stature, but he plays a lot bigger than that.  A very heavy hitter, Astorino looked like a playmaker and a future star last year.  Though many point to the defensive backfield as a potential weakness for the Lions in 2009, I’m so high on Drew Astorino that I really think it’ll be just as solid as it was a year ago.  He’s got the potential to be even better than Anthony Scirrotto (one hopes he could defend a pass better than Scirrotto did in the waning moments of the Iowa game), and judging by the fact that he appears to be a JoePa favorite, well, the coaching staff likes him just as much.  It’s going to be fun to watch Astorino play over the next 3 years, as he makes the rest of the Big Ten wish they’d offered him a scholarship.

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