Trace Brown’s first game at Beaver Stadium ended as one of the most exciting nights in Penn State football history.
The Reading native was in the seventh grade in October of 2016 when the Nittany Lions upset the second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes before a “whiteout” at Beaver Stadium.
It was a memory Brown will have with him forever. Unfortunately, he missed the best part.
When Penn State’s Marcus Allen blocked Ohio State’s Tyler Durbin’s kick and Grant Haley returned it for what proved to be the winning score, Brown and his family were already outside Beaver Stadium.
Fortunately for Brown, he might end up experiencing some more great moments in Penn State history and might get to do so wearing the Blue & White.
The senior safety/linebacker from Berks Catholic High School in Reading announced Wednesday that he has committed to walk-on at Penn State.
After many conversations with family and friends, I have decided to contiue my athletic and academic careers at Penn State University! Thank you to everyone who has helped me along this journey. #WeAre🔵⚪️🦁 @coachjfranklin @DannKabalaPSU @CoachTerryPSU @PennStateFball pic.twitter.com/FcT7hfbh4g
— Trace Brown (@TraceBrown20) January 5, 2022
Brown played his first two years of high school football at Reading High School, then transferred to Burks Catholic for his last two. He’ll undoubtedly come to Happy Valley as an underdog.
At 6 feet, and, “on a good day,” 170 pounds, he won’t come to Penn State with the same hype and excitement that guys like quarterback Drew Allar and running back Nick Singleton– who Brown played against dating back to when he was seven years old– will.
“I was never the biggest kid,” he said. “I was always pretty skinny, and I never passed the eye test no matter where I went ever since I was little.”
Brown fought hard, however, and led his team in tackles as a senior. Now, he’ll look to play college ball in front of 107,000+, roughly two-and-a-half hours from home. He was recruited by Penn State’s director of high school relations, Dann Kabala, and is also influenced by his cousin, Kaleb Brown, another Reading native who is a defensive back for the Nittany Lions and just finished his first year with the program.
Trace Brown spent some time playing offense in high school, but says he prefers the other side of the ball.
According to MaxPreps, Brown finished his season with 77 tackles, an interception, four pass deflections and a forced fumble.
In a way, Brown is similar to another Trace who played at Penn State. Although Trace McSorley was a three-star recruit, he was thought to be undersized and wasn’t supposed to lead Penn State to a Rose and Fiesta Bowl, the same when Brown isn’t supposed to become a regular contributor.
Other Lions who came in as walk-ons like Brown have gone on to have great success in Happy Valley. Matt McGloin, from nearby Scranton, became Penn State’s starting quarterback and ended up briefly starting for the Oakland Raiders. Carl Nassib came to Penn State as a walk-on from West Chester, Pennsylvania, and led the nation in sacks his last year with the Nittany Lions. Deon Butler walked on from Fairfax, Virginia, and ended his career second all-time on Penn State’s receiving list.
Brown said head coach James Franklin texted him soon after he tweeted his commitment, and said Franklin expressed his enthusiasm for Brown coming to Penn State.
Brown is excited, too.
“Happy Valley is probably the best football environment in all of college football, in my opinion,” Brown said. “They love football. They have people that care, that want to win, and I know from my cousin telling me they work hard all time.
Brown has been watching Penn State football ever since he was little. Now, with hard work and some luck along the way, he might get to put his stamp on Nittany Lon tradition.
“Now to have the opportunity to play when I was just watching them when I was little, it’s great,” he said.