The Post-Journal

Conlan Picks Penn State

The best high school football player this year in Western New York had decided on the third ranked college in the nation at which to continue his grid career.

Shane Conlan, who starred for Frewsburg Central School, gave his verbal agreement to Penn State Wednesday to play football with the Nittany Lions for the next four years. Penn State was ranked third in the nation in the final Associated Press poll this season.

At Frewsburg, Conlan gained over 1000 yards rushing the past seasons on offense and was the mainstay on the Bears' defense. Conlan was the winner of the Tom McCan Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award presented by the Post-Journal and was also selected the Buffalo Evening News and Courier Express' Player of the Year.

Conlan could have a big decision to make later this year as he said he'd lean toward professional baseball instead of playing college football if he is drafted high.

The Frewsburg senior gave Coach Joe Paterno his verbal agreement Wednesday when the Nittany Lions boss called. Conlan said of his upcoming scholarship, "It is great. Penn State is an excellent college and Coach Paterno is just super."

The Nittany Lions were interested in Conlan back when he was a junior according Frewsburg football coach Tom Sharp. Sharp said, "Penn State was impressed with Shane on defense when he a junior and as a senior they were impressed with him both offensively and defensively."

According to both Conlan and Sharp, Penn State lost some linebackers and are looking for a fresh group. Conlan, who is linebacker, will be going to the university which is known as Linebacker U. meaning he'll get the best possible coaching at that position.

"Right now, they (Penn State) are going to start me out at outside linebacker in the four-four defense," Conlan said. "I could play defensive back also or switch to running back on the offense. I rather play defense though," he added.

Sharp said of Conlan, "I think Shane could play any place. He's just a great athlete." He added, "Playing outside linebacker, Shane will have pass coverage and has the speed to do that. He can handle it."

Conlan was sold on Penn State on his trip to State College, Pa., Saturday. He said, "The stadium is bigger than Rich Stadium. It's just beautiful. I think it holds 85,000. It's just an excellent college. Also, it's close to home. It's only about 3-1/2 hours away."

Another selling point Conlan liked was the relationship between the players and coaches. He stated, "Everything is on a first name basis, except for Coach Paterno."

The main concern of Conlan right now is his weight. He said, "They (the coaches) want me to get my weight up to 210 or 215. I only weigh about 190 pounds right now." He added, "I also have to get on weights. The weight training coach is going to get me on a program."

Conlan, who will major in Special Education, said about playing for Penn State, "It's just great. I know it's an excellent football school and plays an excellent caliber of football."

Sharp said of Conlan "He's the greatest athlete I've coached. Anything he does at Penn State won't surprise me."

"All the credit goes to Coach Sharp," Conlan said. "He contacted Penn State and a lot of other schools to help me out."

Besides being an outstanding football player, Conlan is an all-star in baseball and basketball. He has made The Post Journal Division 2 All-Star team the last two seasons.

Looking ahead to some of he competition Conlan and Penn State will face in 1982, the Nittany Lions will play Temple, Maryland, Rutgers, Nebraska, Syracuse, North Carolina State, and Pittsburgh at home while taking on Alabama, West Virginia, Boston College and Notre Dame on the road.

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