DeAndre Thompkins

AP Photo/PennLive.com, Joe Hermitt

Penn State awards scholarship to legacy walk-on

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With a small handful of scholarships left to use, Penn State is giving a scholarship to senior Gregg Garrity. Garrity, a former walk-on player and punt returner, was awarded his scholarship Thursday morning.

Garrity’s father, also named Gregg Garrity, was a former wide receiver for the Nittany Lions and a part of the first national championship team coached by Joe Paterno. It was Garrity’s signature catch down the left sideline from Todd Blackledge in the 1983 Sugar Bowl against Herschel Walker and top-ranked Georgia that helped push the Nittany Lions to the first national championship in school history. The younger Garrity may not have the opportunity to provide as memorable a highlight for Penn State, but his hard work and dedication to the program have clearly not gone unnoticed by James Franklin and his staff. Garrity came to Penn State as a walk-on under former head coach Bill O’Brien and has made a case for playing time even if his role is limited.

Garrity returned two punts for nine yards last season. He could be expected to handle more punts this season, although DeAndre Thompkins and Mark Allen — both freshmen last season — could also get special teams assignments. Thompkins returned 23 punts for 178 yards last season to lead the team.