From Great Valley to Happy Valley

Chris Geiss

Running on at Penn State will allow versatile athlete Geiss to live his dream of running out of the Beaver Stadium tunnel.

It was always Chris Geiss's dream to don a blue and white jersey and run out of the Beaver Stadium tunnel at Penn State. And Monday, Geiss decided that dream would come true.

The Great Valley High (Malvern, Pa.) athlete was accepted to University Park Monday afternoon and made the decision to run-on at Penn State shortly thereafter.

“After coming up and seeing the facilities, the weight room, the locker room and all the academic support I would receive, it made my decision easy to say no the all the other schools offering me stuff and go to Penn State,” Geiss said. “It's been a dream of mine since I was a kid to play at Penn State, and with my family and friends being Penn State fans, it will be awesome.”

What Penn State's staff likely finds awesome, though, is the 6-foot-2, 180-pound athlete's versatility. Though he worked primarily at quarterback for the 6-5 Patriots, Geiss spent two games in the secondary, a pair of games that proved rather fortuitous for his future. The senior will be tried as a wide receiver and defensive back at PSU, with an emphasis on the secondary.

“I played defensive back for two games when one of our starters got hurt,” Geiss said. “In those two games, I had three interceptions for touchdowns, so I guess I kind of excelled.”

Geiss believes one thing in particular helped propel him to his solid contributions in the secondary -- a trait Penn State hopes it too can benefit from.

“I think it actually helps that I played quarterback, because you can see the game from a quarterback's perspective,” Geiss observed. “You know what the quarterback sees, and what he is reading, and it helps when trying to bait him into decision. It's like having an upper hand on him.”

The Nittany Lions originally recruited Geiss as a quarterback, but its recent influx at the position caused a shift in plans. He'll now look to fill a special teams roll once he gets on campus, which will happen in June when the second summer semester gets underway. Until then, he'll continue his interscholastic athletic pursuits.

“I play basketball right now, and then in the spring I'll run track and hit the weight room,” he said. “I like to think I'm a dynamic, athletic player that will do whatever it takes to win.”

James Madison, Villanova, Syracuse, Boston College and Shippensburg University were the main opponents in Penn State's quest for Geiss. But a family tie, and recent weekend visit, helped seal the deal for the Nittany Lions, with linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden heading the athlete's recruitment.

“Growing up, both of my parents went there, and my whole family is Penn State fans, so I've been going to a lot of games there and love Penn State,” Geiss said. He attended his first game as a recruit for Penn State's season opening loss to Ohio. His most recent visit was two Sundays ago, during the program's so-called “Run On Day.”

Like many prospects, Geiss was particularly impressed by Lion strength and conditioning coach Craig Fitzgerald.

“When I came up Sunday, Coach Fitzgerald walked us through the whole weight program, and how they will develop us,” he said. “I think it will work very well.”

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