By Todd Hummel
For The Daily Item
TURBOTVILLE -- Like most young kids in the Central Susquehanna Valley, Austin Fiedler dreamed of playing football at Penn State University.
The 6-foot-6, 309-pound offensive tackle for Warrior Run High School thought he had everything set up to pursue his dream.
"I went to the camps the summer after my sophomore season and talked to everybody, really got to know the coaches," Fiedler said.
Then as Fiedler called it, "the mess" happened.
With the entirety of Joe Paterno's coaching staff forced out after the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Fiedler had to get himself reacquainted to coach Bill O'Brien's new staff at Penn State.
"They of course replaced everybody after my junior year so I had to go up to the camps and introduce myself all over again," Fiedler said. "I went to every home game and made sure they knew I was still really interested in coming there."
Fiedler will get his opportunity next season joining Lewisburg's Brandon Smith as a run-on player for the Nittany Lions. With the lack of scholarships due to the NCAA sanctions, O'Brien's run-on's (the coach's name for his preferred walk-ons) will be a key part of the class.
Along with Fiedler and Smith, some of the other run-on's you might know are Old Forge's Brian Tomasetti, who played against Southern Columbia in the 2011 PIAA Class A playoffs; Trinity's Adam Geiger, who played against Lewisburg in the 2010 PIAA Class AA playoffs and against Selinsgrove in a regular season game this season; and Gregg Garrity, Jr., a wide receiver from Class AAAA state champion North Allegheny. Garrity is the son of Gregg Garrity Sr., who made the diving touchdown catch in the end zone to help Penn State claim the 1983 National Championship.