By CASEY KAUFFMAN
It’s not every day that you receive a phone call from one of the top college football teams in the country.
Countless high school athletes dream of their phone ringing with an offer to play at the collegiate level. That dream became a reality Monday for Shippensburg sophomore Anthony Smith, who still has two more years of wearing the maroon and grey before he steps into a college stadium.
Smith received that phone call from Penn State head coach James Franklin, who offered a scholarship for the Nittany Lions.
“It felt so amazing hearing those words,” said Smith. “I just cried into my godfather’s arms, because hearing those words was a dream come true.”
Smith, a 6-foot-7, 265-pound defensive lineman, piled up an impressive nine sacks and 73 tackles during the 2019 season for the Greyhounds. Smith, also a key player for the Shippensburg basketball team, is quite a well-rounded athlete, who could become one of the best his school’s athletic program has ever seen.
Eric Foust, Ship’s football coach for 19 years, said he has had the opportunity to talk to Brent Pry, Penn State’s defensive coordinator, multiple times about Smith.
“I knew they were considering making an offer,” Foust said. “I was excited for him when they extended that offer. Anthony has great size and very good feet. I look forward to seeing him develop into a very productive college athlete.”
One of Smith’s biggest takeaways from Monday’s phone call with Franklin was the coach’s request for him to keep his grades up. Smith says he plans on staying focused on his academics his upcoming junior and senior year.
Smith helped the Greyhounds to an 11-1 record and a Mid Penn Colonial Division championship this past fall, and also helped the basketball team reach the second round of the PIAA state tournament.