Blue White Illustrated

June-July 2022

Penn State Sports Magazine

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J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 2 2 5 7 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M C onrad Hussey didn't plan on com- mitting early, but after visiting Penn State on April 8, the three-star safety prospect said he was nearly ready to make his decision. After thinking it over for two weeks, Hussey announced for Penn State. A na- tive of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and a stand- out at St. Thomas Aquinas High, Hussey became the 11th commitment overall and the fourth for Penn State in April. Many other schools were in play, in- cluding Florida and Florida State. Hussey, who is ranked No. 36 nationally at safety and No. 70 in Florida by On3, also visited West Virginia, Pitt and Colorado in April, but PSU quickly became the leader and ultimately the selection. "It just felt right for me to go there," Hussey said. "The teammates and coaches there just show the true value in a team and family, which I also look for in a school. I just love the environment. I can see myself growing as a player and just as a human over there." Hussey was impressed with Penn State after connecting with running backs coach Ja'Juan Seider, safeties coach An- thony Poindexter, defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, head coach James Franklin and recruiting coordinator Alan Zemaitis. However, his unofficial visit to State College in April played a part, too. "It did help a lot, because when I went there, I could just see myself there already when I first stepped on campus," Hussey said. "They showed me a lot of value, a lot of love. They just talked to me a lot and showed what they can do for me." Hussey said the Nittany Lions' message hit home with him from the moment the program first made contact. "They would just talk to me about life," said Hussey, who received his scholar- ship offer in May 2021. "Sometimes, they wouldn't even talk about football a lot. They would just talk to me about how life was going on with me as a person. They just wanted to know, for example, what did I do today? Was I active? Was I mak- ing sure I was being productive? Stuff like that. They were showing that they cared in different ways. "It's what we do at St. Thomas. [Head] coach [Roger] Harriot does it the same way. He makes sure all of his players are always productive, always mentally there, and always making sure we're being re- sponsible, disciplined and all that good stuff. I really felt that." Although he began his career as a run- ning back, the 6-foot, 190-pound Hussey flipped to the secondary because his team needed him there. He quickly discovered a love for the position, along with his other duties at the Sunshine State powerhouse, which include kick returning. Hussey's speed is legitimate. He's been clocked at 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash, and he has covered 100 meters in 10.9 seconds. Some recruits don't like to go far from home. But Hussey said distance is not a factor for him because he knows that to reach his highest goals, he'll likely have to leave Florida one day. "I'm going to have to adjust eventually," he said, "because when I make it to the NFL, I'm going to have to get used to all different types of weather. So, it's best to start now." ■ Florida Safety Likes What Lions Have To Offer G R E G P I C K E L | G P I C 9 2 @ G M A I L . C O M COMMITMENT PROFILE CONRAD HUSSEY Ranked as the No. 36 safety nationally by On3, Hussey visited schools across the country in April before choos- ing Penn State. PHOTO BY CHAD SIMMONS/ON3.COM Penn State got a welcome surprise at the end of April with Conrad Hussey's commitment. Here's a look at how the three-star safety might fit into the Nittany Lions' plans. STRENGTHS Movement skills: It's not just one area of ath- leticism that Hussey shows on tape. It's all of them. Burst, straight-line speed, mobility and agility are all present. Hands and body control: These attributes have produced some jaw-dropping interceptions. Coverage instincts: Turnovers are unpredict- able, so you can't say with any certainty that a defensive player will have success in that area. And yet, Hussey has something that makes it seem like he's going to be around the ball quite a bit. AREAS OF DEVELOPMENT Tackling: On film, Hussey's tackling isn't just mediocre, it's bad. He doesn't seem interested in contact and seemingly looks for reasons not to engage the ball carrier. To play safety at the next level, especially in Daiz's defense, safeties have to play bigger than their size at all times. A lack of tenacity will not work. Pursuit angles: His makeup speed is excellent, but using it to chase down a player who got free because of a poor angle is less than ideal. PROJECTION Boundary cornerback: Hussey's movement and ball skills are more reminiscent of a cor- nerback than a safety. He's an outstanding ath- lete and is already big enough to play on the boundary. Field safety: There's not much difference between a slot corner and a field safety in Diaz's defense. Players who line up in the sec- ondary need to be able to play multiple roles, including single coverage in off-man situations. Hussey already plays in a defense with a simi- lar structure. — Thomas Frank Carr P L A Y E R E V A L U A T I O N

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