South Western High grad Drew Hartlaub receives full football scholarship from Penn State

ROB ROSE
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Penn State's Tyler Rudolph (21) and Drew Hartlaub (37) attempt to recover a kick by Rutgers in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. Rudolph recovered the kick. Penn State defeated Rutgers 27-6. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)

Drew Hartlaub decided to stay at Penn State, and he's been rewarded for that choice.

The South Western High School graduate entered the transfer portal after the 2020 season, but decided to return to the school in February. Hartlaub had been considering the move in order to land a scholarship after three years as a walk-on for Penn State.

In the end, he still got a scholarship and was able to remain at Penn State.

After spring practice on Saturday, Pro Football Hall of Famer Jack Ham, a former star linebacker with the Nittany Lions, delivered the news that Hartlaub was being put on full scholarship. The Nittany Lions' locker room exploded with excitement. His teammates lifted Hartlaub into the air to celebrate the moment.

"I love being here with you guys and I can't wait to for what's in store for us this year," Hartlaub said in the video released by Penn State. "Jack Ham just put me on full scholarship. It's kind of still surreal to me. It's really a dream come true. I can't believe this happened. I worked four years for this and it finally came true, so I'm just kind of speechless right now (and) trying to take it all in."

Despite being a walk-on, Hartlaub has been a key contributor for the Nittany Lions. Reportedly one of the fastest players on Penn State's roster, Hartlaub has earned a role on special-teams coverage.

The 5-foot, 11-inch, 177-pound redshirt senior has played in 30 games for the Nittany Lions in the past three seasons. Hartlaub has 11 career tackles and two recovered fumbles.

Last season Hartlaub was named the coaching staff's Special Teams Player of the Week after he recovered a fumble against Michigan. During his redshirt freshman season in 2018, Hartlaub was named the coaching staff's Scout Team Special Teams Player of the Year.

Hartlaub's current teammates and coaches shared messages online applauding the his work ethic and dedication. Penn State special teams coach Joe Lorig tweeted that Hartlaub was a "game changer" and former quarterback Trace McSorely also congratulated Hartlaub.

Because of an NCAA rule created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hartlaub will have two years of eligibility left at Penn State.

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.