Print and Go Back Penn State Nittany Lions [Print without images]

Monday, March 11, 2013
Meet the run-ons: QB D.J. Crook

By Josh Moyer

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

Vitals: (PG) Quarterback D.J. Crook, Worcester (Mass.) Academy, 6-foot-2, 190 pounds.

Picked Penn State over: Heavy interest from FCS schools Albany, Delaware, Penn and Dartmouth. (Delaware was interested in him as a walk-on, but he held no scholarship offers.)

DJ Crook
QB D.J. Crook received little interest out of high school and not much more after a post-grad season.
Why he picked PSU: The Nittany Lions were clearly his best option, because they were the only FBS program to show interest. He formed a good relationship with QB coach Charlie Fisher, and he visited PSU several times in the past. He felt comfortable on campus and had the ability to play on a quality football team.

State of the position: PSU needed some bodies for spring practice. Tyler Ferguson and Steven Bench will battle for the top spot until Christian Hackenberg joins the team over the summer. Including run-ons, there will now be six quarterbacks on the 2013 roster, but only four (including Austin Whipple) are currently on campus.

Strengths: Shows good footwork and has a strong arm. He's able to make most throws and is comfortable operating out of the shotgun or in three-step drops. He can escape the pass rush, and he takes pride in his competitive nature.

Weaknesses: He'll often try to force the ball, which can lead to interceptions, and he needs to improve on reading defenses. His accuracy could be better.

Potential impact: He's valuable in the short-term, because PSU needs quarterbacks to get the most out of spring practice. He'll likely play the Shane McGregor role in the future, in that he might be the emergency quarterback who'll need a few breaks to go his way to see time on the field.

Quotables: "A lot of quarterbacks go out there and say they want the starting job. I want that, too, but I'm just not prepared to go there and say that, you know? I'm going to work as hard as I can and help the team and just be proud to play for the Nittany Lions."

Getting to know Crook: Didn't find another FBS program due, in part, to some bad luck. He was invited to the U.S. Army All-American Combine as a junior but came down with a bad case of mono. Then, toward the end of his senior season, he dislocated his thumb. ... Contacted PSU by emailing Fisher and not expecting a response. Fisher responded hours later, and his recruitment took off from there. ... Received a Holy Cross offer out of high school but turned it down for a post-grad year at Worcester. ... ESPN ranked him as a one-star recruit out of high school; his Scout Grade was a 67. ... Once worked on an oyster farm. ... Will not eat seafood in State College.