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May 9, 2011

Gilman's Brian Gaia talks Penn State commitment

brian-gaia-penn-state.jpg Brian Gaia prides himself on being a "blue collar" football player, happily going about his business on Gilman's offensive and defensive lines while letting his more high-profile teammates grab all the headlines.

When it came to recruiting, the Greyhounds junior stuck to that approach, taking a few visits with the hope of reaching a decision on his college future before his senior year began.

Last weekend, Gaia accomplished that goal, committing to Penn State over offers from Connecticut, Iowa, Michigan, Rutgers, Tennessee, Wake Forest and West Virginia.

“It feels good,” Gaia said Monday. “A lot of pressure off me right now.”

Gaia, a 6-foot-2, 295-pound defensive tackle and offensive tackle, was a first-team Baltimore Sun All-Metro selection for his play on the Greyhounds’ offensive line last fall. In State College, Gaia – who recorded 13 tackles for loss, two sacks and one forced fumble – is pegged for the defensive line.

“Brian’s just an absolute monster on both sides of the ball,” said Greyhounds assistant coach Henry Russell. “He’s incredibly strong, a real physical player. We use him to plug up the middle on defense. He does a great job of that. He normally takes on two blockers. On offense, a lot of times we’re running right behind Brian. We were fortunate to have him and [Wake Forest-bound] Hunter Goodwin last year. It’s a pretty nice combo to run behind. He’s just got a great motor and he just wants to get out there and play. He works his butt off.”

Gaia’s first visit to Penn State came during the Nittany Lions’ 28-22 loss to Michigan State on Nov. 27. Despite the loss, Gaia said he was blown away by a packed Beaver Stadium. A return trip to State College for a spring practice gave him a more up-close look at the program.

“It was kind of cool to see Coach [Joe] Paterno in action,” Gaia said. “He was a really fun guy. We had a little talk. He’s a real down-to-earth guy.”

Gaia, who’s interested in studying either business or sports management, said Penn State’s academics and the Big Ten’s reputation for putting linemen in the NFL were two more factors that put the Nittany Lions “out front” for most of his recruitment.

“My family, coaches, teammates thought it was the best pick,” Gaia said. “That weighed on me more than anything. It came down to an opportunity and it was the best decision for me.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Brian Gaia by Kenneth K. Lam / Dec. 12, 2010

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:11 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

Comments

WE ARE.....

who cares about Penitentiary State Univ

A lot more care about PSU in this area than Maryland, that's for sure.

"who cares about Penitentiary State Univ"

Actually, a lot of people. Obviously, you do as well, as you cared enough to read the article about PSU recruiting and cared enough to make a comment. We are...

P U (get it?) can use him...gotta rebuild the program

Matt, I think Brian had an offer from Maryland, too.

CA Terp Fan: I thought that he did, too, at least from Friedgen's staff. But Russell didn't mention Maryland and I forgot to ask. -- Matt

We Are...

looks like he is headed to the D Line in Happy Valley where he'll learn from 1 of the best in D Line Coach Larry Johnson SR (father of LJ, the former PSU/NFL running back).

I only ever hear great things about LJ SR in his developing his D Linemen into great players and great people!!!

...PENN STATE!

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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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