Kasey Gaines: Penn State beats out Harvard for DB

Kasey Gaines, who made the signature play during Grayson High School’s state championship season, committed to Penn State on Wednesday.

Penn State DB commit Kasey Gaines (GraysonRamsFootball.com)

Penn State DB commit Kasey Gaines (GraysonRamsFootball.com)

The 5-foot-11, 160-pound cornerback committed to Penn State over Harvard, while also considering Miami of Ohio. Gaines is one of six Grayson seniors committed to a D1 school, led by national No. 1-ranked prospect Robert Nkemdiche (Clemson).

“I just thought it would be a great opportunity,” Gaines said. “I love the coaches, and I thought it would be awesome to be a part of the Penn State tradition up there.”

What about all the NCAA penalties and probation for Penn State? Among other things, the Nittany Lions have a four-year bowl ban. Gaines said he reviewed the situation, and felt like Penn State was too good to pass up.

“I really didn’t think of the NCAA stuff as a big deal,” Gaines said. “Obviously, no one wants to go through anything like that. But I just think it’s a great opportunity for me anyway you look at it. They chose me to be part of building the program, so I feel honored about that.”

Penn State offered Gaines after observing him at the team’s summer prospect camp. Gaines was one of the camp’s fastest players, clocked in the 40-yard dash at 4.4 seconds. Last season as a junior, he had the signature play in Grayson’s state championship run by with a 15-yard interception return for the game-winning touchdown with 27 seconds left against Brookwood for the region championship.

Gaines has an older brother, Korey Gaines, who signed with BYU out of high school and now plays at a California junior college.

The younger Gaines was specifically recruited by Penn State defensive coordinator Ted Roof, who played at Georgia Tech. Gaines was congratulated by Roof and Penn State coach Bill O’Brien on Wednesday evening.

“Coach O’Brien said I was exactly the kind of player they need right now,” Gaines said. “He said ‘We need football players right now, not superstars. I know how football is played down there, and you’re the kind of guy we need up here.’”

Grayson’s other commits are Nkemdiche, DE Jack Banda (Arizona), RB Wayne Gallman (Clemson), LB Zach Barnes (Tennessee) and DB David Kamara (Clemson).




– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

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– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

Note: Inappropriate BLOG comments and personal attacks will NOT be tolerated. We love the lively discussions but hate-filled, harassing and irresponsible comments are unacceptable.

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27 comments Add your comment

Rick James

September 19th, 2012
11:06 pm

Best of luck..


September 20th, 2012
4:37 am

how can you pass up Harvard if you have no shot at the NFL??

sandusk till dawn

September 20th, 2012
7:38 am

Penn State, REALLY??? Don’t drop the soap son.


September 20th, 2012
7:44 am

@ J-dawg…what makes you think he doesn’t have a shot at the NFL….there have been college walk-ons that have made it to NFL.
@ sandusk till dawn….how do you know so much about soap dropping?

bob smith

September 20th, 2012
7:49 am

and we already know the coaches love the players as well.


September 20th, 2012
7:56 am

“We need football players right now, not superstars.”

That’s quite an endorsement. And quite a coup for Penn State outflanking Miami (Ohio) and Harvard for this recruit.


September 20th, 2012
8:43 am

Harvard opens doors that no other school could possibly match.. Extremely bad move..

Jacket Man

September 20th, 2012
9:34 am

Congratulations at this well-earned achievment, and best of luck; I know your family is extremely proud of you. One thing that I can say with certainty is that your future coaches, teammates, and fans, will truly appreciate the fact that you have embraced Penn State, and your commitment to them is no small deal.


September 20th, 2012
9:45 am

I am impressed with PSU on this one. I agree with others, Harvard would be very hard to pass up.

I guess PSU has a new bagman.

And yeah, the shower jokes get old quick..I guess some guys just think that way.


September 20th, 2012
10:01 am

Glad the guy is getting a chance to get educated and play football, but Penn State over Harvard? I would take a Harvard education over an offer from any other school in the country, maybe besides Stanford. Best of luck to the guy the rest of the season and keep studying hard.


September 20th, 2012
10:42 am


You really need to rethink this one. If Harvard offered, it’s obvious you have the academic ability that few have. Right now, Penn State is headed nowhere and, despite what the coaches may say, the program is in disarray. Tradition means nothing when you have all the problems and penalties they have. Take the educational opportunity and still get to play football at one of the premier colleges in America. Shoot, even Miami of Ohio would be a better option at this point.


September 20th, 2012
11:12 am



September 20th, 2012
11:49 am

The Ivy League does not offer athletic or academic scholarships to students

Gator Phil

September 20th, 2012
12:05 pm

What nasty people making snide comments about someone’s decision. Yes, Harvard opens doors, but I’m sure anyone smart enough to be recruited by them, has the intelligence to make his decison based on all the factors. UGA fans- he wasn’t recruited by you, so how about being gracious instead of juvenile? Congratulations to Mr. Gaines.


September 20th, 2012
1:13 pm


That is true that they may not for academic or athletic purposes, but they do based on financial need. I have no doubt a Harvard graduate can pay back any loans, if they don’t receive grant money, with the career a Harvard degree would get him.

Gator Phil,

I’m sure he does have a ton of intelligence, but picking a school like Penn State over a up and coming program like Ohio and a school that needs no adjectives in explaining its power in Harvard makes you wonder. Penn State is banned from post season play and can’t even win its league championship game, Ohio and Harvard can do both and both offer better educations. I’m proud of the kid solely based on the fact his academic work got him an offer from Harvard, so I’m not upset, just a little curious I guess is the correct word.


September 20th, 2012
1:29 pm

Harvard is not cracked up to what it once was. Going to PSU is certainly not a step down, depending on what is major is. The Ivy League is way over-rated. Go to US World Report and see how many Ivy school rank in the top 5 in any major. They don’t even place in majors like engineering.

Harvard does not have an undergraduate business degree and their placement through connections onto Wall Street is not what it once was. Wall Street firms want math backgrounds now and there is a glut of very capable MBA’s with actual job experience from firms like Goldman Sachs. You will see in time that the Ivy League education is not the ticket it once was. I hope this helps the many commenters on this blog. I suspect most are high school people so this should help. Disclosure.. I went to an Ivy League institution. Not Harvard, the one in Rhode Island.

makes sense

September 20th, 2012
1:44 pm

Lets see athletic scholarship at a very good academic school or go to a so called prestigious college on financial aid. That doesn’t seem like a hard decision to me.


September 20th, 2012
2:22 pm

Makes sense,

Apparently you have never heard of ROI.

An Ivy League education opens up more doors than any of you are wanting to admit. I’m proud of the kid, so don’t misunderstand my statements. It is widely known that Harvard is the most prestigious school in the world, unless Oxford or Caimbridge is ranked above it now for some reAson. Though some of the points made by mg14x are correct, his opinions are not accurate of what the real world proves. A degree from Harvard is still the most prestigious and wanted degree in this country. Since he did not go to Harvard he does not exactly know what is afforded a Harvard graduate. Stanford is probably the closest competition that fields good sports programs and great disciplines of study. I’m just a “sky’s the limit” type guy, not someone that makes a decision based on something that is capped out like his experience playing football at Penn State. I’ll say it again for those that may misunderstand my comments, congratulations I am proud education has been a priority And I wish you the bet on the field.

Spike 80DF

September 20th, 2012
2:34 pm

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? Over Harvard?


September 20th, 2012
2:42 pm

Congrats! Hard choice between two great academic institutions.

Not sure why people are debating his choice. The kid was offered the opportunity to get a great education and play football for free. But since I read the WSJ from time to time, I can end the debate.

Contractor, you are right a Harvard degree is the most prestigiou. You’re wrong it is the most wanted degree in the country. According to The Wall Stree Journal, a Penn State degree is the most wanted.


While the article is from 2010, I believe Penn State was voted #1 again last year by recruiters.

[...] really didn’t think of the NCAA stuff as a big deal,” Gaines told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Obviously, no one wants to go through anything like that. But I just think it’s a great [...]


September 20th, 2012
6:10 pm

Penn State??? Over Harvard?

I have nothing to say…


September 20th, 2012
8:49 pm

Actually, Harvard was No.1 and PSU was in triple figures bvelow New Jersey Inst. of Tech and just above Central Michigan, according to US News & World Report. PSU sure as hell was not No. 1.

football mind

September 20th, 2012
11:14 pm

only a matter of time

September 20th, 2012
11:27 pm

at first I was like most everyone else thinking this kid is crazy for passing on Harvard. But as I think about it. For the next several years the only kids lining up to play for the Blue and White will be kids similar to this kids’ particular size and skill set. he won’t have to worry about fighting for playing time from some 6′2″ 4-5 star kid. now if he can handle not going to a bowl or no conference titles then more power to him. if he can hang in there and get his degree the alum at PSU will get this kid a job somewhere.

Smart move

September 21st, 2012
3:56 pm

Excellent choice. I’ve been in the workforce for 14 years at 2 companies. There were Penn State grads at both (young and old) and my impression was that they were quite smart and successful. Smart move. The alumni base of over 500 thousand can’t hurt either.


September 21st, 2012
7:36 pm

Congrats. A college education is critical in this economy and you will have many more opportunities to play on tv at PSU. good luck. Its a great school with a strong alumni base that is going through trying times. Many of the idiots who are focused on Sandusky in their posts are probably high school dropouts and wished they had a choice of colleges. But we live in a diverse country that accepts everyone, so please tip them when they deliver your pizza tonight.