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Monday, May 20, 2013
Coach talk: Run-on WR Gregg Garrity Jr.

By Josh Moyer

What is Penn State getting in run-on WR Gregg Garrity Jr.? And what can fans expect?

NittanyNation turned to one of the people who best knows what Garrity is capable of on the field -- Art Walker, his high school coach at Wexford (Pa.) North Allegheny -- and asked what separates Garrity as a player, and more.

Walker, on what separates Garrity from other players at his position: "Well, he's very technically sound from the standpoint of being a great route runner. When I say that, I mean it's more getting himself open. He does a great job of knowing what he has to do to set himself up.

"He just has an outstanding understanding of what other receivers' routes are, and he combines that with what the coverage might be, and understands what his best chances of getting open are. It's really kind of remarkable how he puts everything together. He's a very smart player. He has to be, because he's not big. He doesn't have great 40 speed. But he's great with the ball in his hands.

"He knows where pursuits coming from, and he's great at making yards after the catch. It's a combination of things that make up for his lack of size. Combine all that with him being very dedicated to making sure he has great hands, and there's a lot he can control to make sure he's a better player."

When he first knew Garrity would be special: "Well, as a sophomore, he was a JV player and was a scout team guy on a 2010 team that was more run-oriented. He got himself noticed in practice and when we evolved into more of a passing offense, his junior year enabled him to get on the field. He got noticed then.

"He was our receptions leader as a junior, and he was the first 1,000-yard receiver in North Allegheny history. It wasn't one of those things where we knew all along. It was a gradual process with him because, in ninth and 10th grade, he wasn't ready to be a varsity player and he worked into getting ready and getting that opportunity. He made the most of it. He has an unbelievable work ethic. He just outworked everybody."

When Garrity surprised him or really showcased his ability: "Probably the first half of our rival game against North Hills. We kind of jumped out of the gate, had 42 points at halftime, and I think he had 200 yards receiving at halftime. We threw for like 250 in the first half.

"They took the run away, so we were passing every down. He had one touchdown at the end, and I think he had at least three scores and 200 yards in the first half. They couldn't stop him. He was all over the place, whether he had a deep catch or a great run after a catch -- and I think he might've had a great punt return. He was just unreal."