Penn State Player Spotlight: Grant Haley
The tremendously anticipated kickoff to the Penn State football season has officially begun. The season started exceptionally strong for three-star cornerback, Grant Haley. The Atlanta-bred Nittany Lion returned for his third consecutive season as Penn State crushed Kent State last weekend.
The 5’9”, 185 lb. cornerback has proved to be a cut above the rest in terms of kickoff returns. Haley broke the 2014 season record with 32 of these, as well as 659 kickoff return yards during his freshman year. Haley achieved his first career interception as a freshman that was then returned for a touchdown against Temple. He played in all 13 games for both defense and special teams. Haley also earned an honorable mention from BTN.com for the Big Ten All-Freshman Team selection at the end of the season.
In his sophomore season of 2015, Haley started in 11 games out of the 13, missing the first two due to injury. He entered the season when Penn State played Rutgers University. It was during this game in the second quarter that Haley racked up another interception. At the end of this season, he was named to the Academic All-Big Ten team and was also granted an honorable mention to the All-Big Ten team.
Before committing to Penn State, Haley was offered scholarships to both Florida and Vanderbilt. While in high school, he lettered all four years and was football team captain for two seasons. Alongside football, he participated in four other team sports: baseball, track, basketball and soccer. Haley signed to Penn State, his mother’s alma mater, after driving past Beaver Stadium while touring PSU after head coach James Franklin had gotten the job at Penn State.
Haley strives for perfection both on and off the field.
The star cornerback holds one of the highest GPAs on the team with an exceptional 3.4 cumulative average. Haley claims his parents are his prime motivators toward success. He attributes his academic accomplishments to his mother who has always encouraged him to put academics before football. He majors in broadcast journalism as a part of the Penn State College of Communications and plans to pursue a career in sports journalism, aside from his NFL aspirations.
Haley described his feelings toward this weekend’s upcoming game against the Pitt Panthers. “I've never really grown up knowing about the game,” Haley said. “But I knew it was a very big game for the state of Pennsylvania, and I'm just excited to be a part of it, be a part of regaining history.”
Kelsie Cairns is a junior majoring in Broadcast Journalism and Politics. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.