There’s some good news for Penn State at a time when football fans in Happy Valley really could use it.
After the sex abuse scandal that’s still rocking University Park, a number of high-profile high school football stars decided not to go to Penn State.
But Wednesday night, one of the premiere players in our area did sign on as a Nittany Lion.
Senior Eugene Lewis excelled on the football field at Wyoming Valley West High School and is a three-time WNEP dream teamer.
Wednesday night he promised to bleed blue and white.
Ending his signature with a confident dropping of the pen, senior Eugene Lewis proudly announced that he is Penn State.
Joined by his family, friends, classmates, and coaches at First Church of Christ in Wilkes-Barre, Lewis officially became a member of the Penn State Nittany Lions football team.
He will join Penn State as a wide receiver.
And even in Penn State’s darkest hour, Lewis tells us he never wavered in his desire to play football in Happy Valley.
In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal, a number of other high school stars changed their minds about attending Penn State, leaving the school with a depleted recruiting class.
“I’ve been going out to Penn State since I was eight and I’m very comfortable there,” said Lewis. “I felt it was the best school for me and it’s where I’ll be my best.”
“I would like to thank the Lord Jesus Christ for all you who came out to support me tonight,” he added.
Sending up a note of thanks, Eugene remained humble on his big night.
His father, Eugene, Sr., is pastor at First Church of Christ.
The two have been through a lot together.
“I can remember the day, sitting in a crack house, smoking a pipe with my son sitting on my right hand side,” Pastor Lewis told the crowd emotionally. “I’ll never forget it. He had no idea what I was doing. And I should be in jail and I should be locked up for what I did.”
“He didn’t start out with a good life. It was a rough life. I had a rough life, he was in that rough life with right with me,” said Pastor Lewis. “And to see him from little, Pop Warner League, then ninth, tenth grade to now taking a big step to becoming a man.”
Eugene transferred from Valley West to Meyers High School in December and will finish high school there.
Classmates and coaches from both schools were on hand to watch his dream come true.
Eugene says the one thing that is bittersweet is that he won’t get a chance to play for Joe Paterno who passed away a week ago Sunday, but he says he did get the chance to meet the legendary coach.