Blue White Illustrated

May 2023

Penn State Sports Magazine

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Page 63 of 67

6 4 M A Y 2 0 2 3 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M I f all had gone as he'd expected back when he was a high school pros- pect, Mike Gesicki would have found himself as a key part of a Bill O'Brien- coached offense long before his sixth season in the NFL. O'Brien was in charge of Penn State's program in 2013 when Gesicki was a four-star prospect at Southern Re- gional High in Stafford Township, N.J. Gesicki gave the second-year Nittany Lions coach a verbal commitment in mid-October of that year. O'Brien ended up leaving PSU less than two months later to become head coach of the Houston Texans, but Gesicki followed through with his pledge and signed on to be part of the transition to the James Franklin era at Penn State. That decision worked out pretty well for all concerned. Franklin took PSU on a rocket ride back to the top of the Big Ten, and Gesicki parlayed his starring role on the 2016 and '17 teams into a noteworthy NFL career, having been chosen by Miami in the second round of the 2018 draft. Now he's being reunited with O'Brien. The former Nittany Lion coach had a bumpy transition back to the league, but after six full seasons and part of a sev- enth with the Texans, followed by two years as Nick Saban's offensive coordi- nator at Alabama, he's returned to the job that got him noticed by Penn State in the first place: offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots. Gesicki is expected to be one of O'Brien's key offensive playmakers this coming fall. After five seasons in Miami, he has headed north to Boston and is eager to get to work with O'Brien. "I knew O.B. going all the way back to my high school days," Gesicki told "It's exciting to finally be able to play for him and already having those relationships formed. I'm super fired up. It's going to be a great oppor- tunity. It's a fresh start and just some- thing I'm really looking forward to." Gesicki thrived in Miami during his first four seasons. His productivity steadily increased, from 202 receiving yards as a rookie to 570, 703 and 780 yards his next three seasons. But he played the 2022 season under the franchise tag and struggled through Gesicki had been trending up in Miami before new coach Mike McDaniel revamped the Dolphins' offense last season. After making just one start in 2022, Gesicki signed a one-year contract with New England in March. PHOTO COURTESY MIAMI DOLPHINS Mike Gesicki Seeks Fresh Start With The Patriots M AT T H E R B | M AT T. H E R B @ O N 3 . C O M PSU IN THE PROS

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