Jack Seymour headed for Penn State


Jack Seymour had three scholarship offers to play quarterback in college.
Ball State was very enticing to Seymour, a standout QB at Park Tudor School in Indianapolis.
Western Michigan offered Seymour a full ride, and so did Southern Illinois.
But when Penn State contacted him in early December, Seymour had some really serious thinking to do.
“Penn State, I never had any contact with them,” said Seymour, who has been attending NFA camps for six years. “I’d never even been to the state of Pennsylvania. I didn’t know anything about them. Obviously, I knew about the football tradition. But once we got in touch in early December, it was the most exciting thing that I’ve had recruiting-wise.”
Exciting. Yes. Penn State is a big-time football program with a long history of sending players to the NFL.
But the Nittany Lions are also trying to recover from some serious NCAA sanctions, and scholarships are limited to only 15 per season over the next four years.
Nonetheless, Seymour will be suiting up for the Nittany Lions as a preferred walk-on. Or, as new head coach Bill O’Brien likes to say, Seymour is going to be a “run-on.”
“I am so excited,” Seymour said. “We got a visit two weeks ago and then another visit. Coach O’Brien offered and ever since then, I’ve been ecstatic about it and all my friends are really excited. I’m just really looking forward to the future, being able to compete going into the summer and working hard and giving Penn State everything I have.”
O’Brien, who guided Penn State to an 8-4 record (6-2 in the Big ten) in his first season as head coach, made a huge impression on Seymour, as did quarterbacks coach Charlie Fischer.
Still, the decision to pass up full scholarships was not easy.
“When those offers came up, I was really excited about them,” said Seymour, who passed for 1,570 yards and 17 touchdowns at Park Tudor last season despite missing two games with an ankle injury. “I met a lot of great coaches, especially at Ball State. Besides Penn State, the Ball State coaches were the best ones I talked to. Ball State was a little tough to pass on just because they spent so much effort on me and they really believed in me.
“But I didn’t see Ball State as being the perfect fit. I really wanted the great education, the great school as well as great football. Ball State, they had an amazing season last year so they obviously have the football part. But the school itself, it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. The same thing for Western Michigan and Southern Illinois.”
Seymour will arrive at PSU on June 28 and start his college career.
He’s drawn inspiration from Matt McGloin, a former walk-on who was the Lions’ starting quarterback for much of the past three seasons.
McGloin has graduated, so the battle for the starting QB job is up for grabs between Seymour, sophomore Steven Bench, blue-chip recruit Christian Hackenberg and two more walk-ons – Austin Whipple and D.J. Crook.
“Obviously, I want to work and play well enough to get a scholarship,” Seymour said. “That’s a big goal of mine. But the most important thing is moving up on the depth chart and working to beat out everybody I can. Obviously, there is great competition that’s going to be there. All the other candidates are great guys so I’m bracing myself for the competition.
“But I really want to strive to show Penn State everything I can do. In the back of my mind, a scholarship is always what I’ll be looking for. If I can prove myself to the coaches, who knows what they’ll come up with.”
When asked about his years of attending NFA camps, Seymour has no idea where he’d be without the help of Coach Will Hewlett and the rest of the staff.
“I can’t even begin to thank NFA, especially Coach Hewlett,” Seymour said. “Will’s been my guy since seventh grade, when I asked to go to an NFA camp as a Christmas present and went down to Orlando, Florida. Ever since then, I did NFA camps and private training, multiple times a year. I met so many great NFA people who were always there to help. They’ve been a huge part of my success.”
Seymour is thrilled to be heading for Penn State, but he knows there is still a lot of work to be done before summer camp opens.
“I’ve been doing a lot of weight lifting, working at getting faster, stronger and bigger,” said Seymour, a 6-foot-3, 205-pounder. “I’m working out almost every day. Ankle stability, core work, smaller stuff like that. I go to a speed agility class at the facility where they work out for NFL combines. It’s a great place. I also throw the football anytime I can and work on my footwork. I can’t wait to get going on the field again.”
As he heads to the next level, Seymour plans on helping out at NFA camps as much as possible.
“NFA and Coach Will were always there for me and they helped me out a lot,” Seymour. “It’s something I’ll never forget, and I’d like to give back and help them as much as I can.”