Prior to this season, the biggest athletic accomplishment Drew Astorino had at Penn State was in the 2007 PIAA Class AAA state basketball finals at the Bryce Jordan Center.
There, he hit the game-winning shot with two seconds left to give General McLane High the AAA state championship.
Now Astorino is making his impact across the street from the Bryce Jordan Center, at Beaver Stadium. As a redshirt freshman for Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions, he is Penn State's primary nickel back in five-defensive back packages.
That's a lot of pressure for a first-year player, but defensive coordinator Tom Bradley and company obviously think he is up to the challenge.
I would hope to think they have a bunch of trust in me, Astorino said. I feel like it's a great honor and a big chance to show what I can do, being a freshman and playing nickel back.
Astorino made his impact early for the Nittany Lions this year.
He has 18 tackles, which is third among the defensive backs, and recorded his first career interception when he picked off a pass from Syracuse's Cameron Dantley in the Carrier Dome.
It was pretty exciting, Astorino said. My parents came out to the game and I had a cousin and a couple family members out at the game. It was very exciting, and I'm glad to be out there making plays after sitting out last season.
Behind two senior safeties in Mark Rubin and Anthony Scirrotto, Astorino has relied on the veterans to become a better football player.
Basically everything I know right now is because of those two guys, he said. They help me out so much watching film. Anthony helped me out with the little things that you may not notice as a freshman here. He takes on all those little things to make you a better player. And they both help with coverages and reading plays. They definitely made me into the player I am now.