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Making the Cut – Russ Manney
There are over 1 million high school football players in the United States. However, only 6.5% will go on to play at a collegiate level. On today’s edition of Making the Cut, Drew Patrick has the pleasure of speaking with former Penn State Nittany Lion player, Russ Manney. Manney graduated from Wellsboro High School in 1996 and would go on to play at Penn State as a preferred walk-on.
When asked about the transition from high school football to college, Manney remarked, “the first time I really noticed the difference was the pre-game warmup. The ball gets lost in the fans. But during the game…it’s honestly no different. You can’t hear the fans. The warmups are when you’re taking it all in.”
Manney’s coach at the time was Joe Paterno, whom he held in high respect. “He was a great man,” said Manney. “409 wins. First in college football. He was a great guy. He was a motivator, he was hard on us – don’t get me wrong – there were times I wasn’t really happy with him. But as time goes on all those things go away and it was a real privilege and honor to play for him.”
The academic transition from high school to college came easily to Manney due to the values and systems Coach Paterno set up for the team. “We had mandatory study hall five days a week for a few hours after practice. Everybody started out with excellent grades because of that. It really made it easy.”
When asked if he had any advice to offer prospective athletes, Manney reflected on his past experience at Wellsboro and remarked he didn’t regret a thing. “Just because you’re from a small town or a small league – you still have opportunity. You’ll prove yourself if you work hard and stay disciplined.”
Produced by Vogt Media