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Numerous father-son combinations have played in Beaver Stadium.

DNA runs deep in Penn State football, Kevin Kerr to miss hockey showdown with Minnesota and more

We hope you’ll start your day with us here at as we work to prepare you for everything that you need to know – Monday through Friday – around the world of Penn State sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, wrestling, hockey, baseball or just a wild story we hope you’ll find interesting, we’re here to share it all with you.

This is your Penn State Wake-Up Call for Wednesday, Feb. 15. Let’s get started.

It’s a family affair

The history of Penn State football is filled with all manner of father-son combinations, various Suheys and Gumans and Mautis (not to mention Pittmans and Garritys) cropping up at different points in the program’s timeline.

The new recruiting class includes guard C.J. Thorpe, whose dad, Chris, played at PSU in the ’80s. The 2018 class includes 4-star safety Isaiah Humphries, whose dad, Leonard, played cornerback for the Lions from 1989-91. According to, Isaiah will make an unofficial visit to PSU the weekend of the Blue-White Game, April 21-23.

With all that in mind, it was interesting to note a story Tuesday by’s Greg Pickel about Hayden Rucci, a tight end/defensive end who just completed his sophomore season at Warwick High School in Lititz, Pa.

Hayden’s dad, Todd, was an offensive lineman at Penn State in the early ’90s, and for eight years with the New England Patriots.

His mom, Stacy, was an All-American field hockey player at PSU. And his maternal grandfather, Tom Gilburg, played football at Syracuse and for the old Baltimore Colts before launching a highly successful coaching career at Division III Franklin & Marshall.

While the bloodlines obviously are there, the recruiting interest is only beginning. Pickel writes that Michigan State offered the younger Rucci during an unofficial visit this past weekend. Hayden’s reaction, per Pickel, was as follows:

“At first, I was in shock. I didn’t realize what was happening. Those were the words I was wanting to hear since I was a kid. It’s a dream come true hearing that.”

This situation obviously bears watching, as his career unfolds. Especially given his family ties to the Nittany Lions.

Lions down a defenseman

No. 9 PSU will be without sophomore defenseman Kevin Kerr when it hosts No. 5 Minnesota this Friday and Saturday.

According to the Daily Collegian, Kerr suffered an undisclosed injury in last Friday’s hockey victory at Wisconsin and did not play the following night against the Badgers, when the Lions completed the sweep.

The Collegian’s Mark Fischer writes that while PSU’s top defensive tandem of sophomore Vince Pedrie and junior Erik Autio remained intact, coach Guy Gadowsky scrambled his second and third pairings, using junior Trevor Hamilton alongside freshman Kris Myllari and senior David Thompson with freshman James Gobetz.

Here’s Hamilton’s take, per Fischer:

“Obviously it’s a big hit for our team, but I mean I think our D-core is strong enough where our third (defensive) pair can be our first (defensive) pair.”

The Lions (18-6-2) were swept by the Gophers (18-8-2) the weekend of Feb. 3-4.

It’s Gerry Sandusky, with a ‘G’

Imagine going through life with the same name as a convicted child molester. Imagine the online abuse, the thoughtlessness, the headaches.

That should give you some idea of what it is like to be Baltimore sportscaster Gerry Sandusky.

He has taken needless heat again this week, with the revelation that Jeffrey Sandusky, adopted son of former PSU assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, had been arrested and charged with the same crime his father had been convicted of five years ago – child sexual abuse.

Gerry Sandusky felt compelled to tweet out a reminder that he is not that Jerry Sandusky. Nor is he related to him in any way.

This Mashable post also notes that Gerry Sandusky once wrote that while changing his name has been an option, he has declined to do so:

“But in the long-term, each of us (in the family) would know we had caved in to external pressure. We had failed to stand up to the legacy that made us proud of the Sandusky name in the first place. We would know we took the easy way out. And if we take the easy way out now, what will we do when life gets tough again?”

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