Davie is O'Brien's First Walk-on

A not-so-ordinary Penn State student asked for a tryout and ended up making the team — so far. Get the lowdown on Maryland native Bryan Davie.

In many ways, Bryan Davie was like most of the hundreds of high school players who attend Penn State's summer football camp every year.

He figured he had very little chance of impressing the coaching staff enough to warrant a scholarship offer. But he was an outstanding student, and thought at the very least the trip to Happy Valley would give him a feel for what life was like on the campus.

“I really just wanted to come and enjoy the scenery and enjoy the atmosphere,” Davie said.

Following that 2010 visit, Davie was sold on Penn State. Growing up in Maryland -- halfway between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. -- he was struck by the unique feel of Happy Valley.

“I really didn't know where I want to go (to school),” he explained. “So I said, I want to go somewhere different. I want to go somewhere where my family hasn't gone to have my own experiences.”

Princeton pursued him as a football player. But, ultimately, he opted to try for Penn State, even if he couldn't play ball. His mom was worried about his safety playing college football, anyway, so stepping away from the game was OK by Davie.

“I applied,” he said. “I got in.”

Davie enrolled for the fall semester of 2010, majoring in philosophy and sociology. No longer playing competitive sports, he worked out on his own in the student gym at White Building.

After a year and a half on campus, he got the itch to play football again. So a few weeks ago, he called the Penn State football office and asked when the next tryouts might be. That sparked a series of phone calls between Davie and new head coach Bill O'Brien's staff.

He was asked where he played high school football. He told them it was at Eleanor Roosevelt in Greenbelt, Md. That happened to be the same school that produced former PSU standouts Matt Rice and Derrick Williams, as well as current Nittany Lion Stephon Morris.

He was asked about his size.

And that was the one area where Davie stood apart from all of those high school campers.

“I'm 6-3, like 350,” he said.

The response?

“Come in Tuesday at 5:30 in the morning and run. If we like you, we'll keep you.”

They liked him. And they've kept him -- so far.

Davie carries the 350 as well as anyone his height could carry that much weight. He does not look fat, but realizes he must shed pounds to get into top shape.

“I'm trying to get some weight off,” he said.

In the meantime, he has been reluctant to tell friends he is now on the Penn State football team. He has a jersey (No. 69) and a locker. He is participating in all off-season workouts.

“It's pretty special,” Davie said. “When people ask me, I still don't know if I've made it. I'm not gonna take it like that.”

He knows he must prove himself in spring ball, but admits it won't be easy.

“I'm looking forward to the opportunity,” Davie said. “I'm kind of worried these guys have some experience on me. But I'll try to get around that.”

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