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Friday, February 15, 2013
Meet the run-ons: S Tom Pancoast

By Josh Moyer

Every weekday, as part of an ongoing series, NittanyNation will take a closer look at a Penn State walk-on.

Vitals: Safety Tom Pancoast, Kennett Square (Pa.) Unionville, 6-foot-4, 190 pounds.

Picked Penn State over: Scholarship offers from FCS schools Bucknell and Colgate.

Why he picked PSU: He has wanted to play at PSU since he was a fifth-grader, so he said he just couldn't turn this opportunity down. If he had, he said, his mind would've been plagued by those "what-ifs" for the rest of his life. The tradition and the quality of football, especially compared to the FCS, really put him over the edge.

State of the position: Malcolm Willis and Stephen Obeng-Agyapong return as fifth-year starters, so -- at least for the 2013 season -- there are not many question marks. Ryan Keiser and Jordan Lucas are the more experienced backups, while incoming freshmen Neiko Robinson and Kasey Gaines could challenge for situational time.

Strengths: At 6-foot-4, Pancoast is a bit taller than most safeties. That's an advantage that has the potential to create some matchup problems for the offense. He said he runs the 40-yard dash in the mid-4.6s, and he's a downhill safety who does well in run support.

Weaknesses: He needs to add about 15 to 20 pounds, and he said he's well aware that it'll take some time to adjust to the speed of the college game. Primarily, though, he needs to work on his agility because he's so tall. He needs to open his hips quicker and fine-tune his man coverage.

Potential impact: Penn State offered Pancoast his choice to play quarterback, safety or both -- but the run-on picked safety for a reason. More playing time. Come 2014, there will definitely be opportunities for situational playing time, and he could find himself on the field in some capacity relatively soon. He's hoping to see more time on the field as a junior.

Quotables: "Growing up a Penn State fan and the tradition they have at Penn State really influenced my decision. When I just tweeted something about Penn State, I gained about 15-20 followers, just random Penn State fans. Just the background and tradition, everything that comes with it, people really do bleed blue and white."

Getting to know Pancoast: Favorite movie is "Friday Night Lights" ... Favorite TV show is "Modern Family" ... Favorite food is the Bloomin' Onion burger at Outback Steakhouse ... Favorite musician is Kenny Chesney ... Dream vacation spot is Bora Bora in French Polynesia. ("I had to do a project on it earlier this year in school, and it looked pretty nice.")