Penn State wide receiver Shawney Kersey, a former star at Woodbury High School, has come full circle in a little less than a year.
After playing in the first two games as a redshirt freshman last season, Kersey intended to transfer and received a release in late September from his scholarship. But after about a week of further deliberations, he returned to the Nittany Lions and saw action in eight more games.
After a strong pre-season, the 6-foot-1, 198-pound wideout was listed as a starter on the depth chart Monday that followed the end of pre-season practice.
“Shawn’s had a lot of little problems,” head coach Joe Paterno said. “He had to go home a couple of times for some personal problems.
“Shawn’s got tremendous potential. I don’t know whether he’s reached it yet. We’ve got two or three wideouts that have a chance to be really good. We’re all aware of the fact that (Derek) Moye is a big-time player. (Justin) Brown is a little bit unappreciated … we ask him to do a lot of things. Kersey’s the same kind of kid, maybe the fastest of the group except for (Devon) Smith.
“Once in a while, he lacks concentration. But he’s had a good pre-season. There’s no question about his potential. He can run, he’s got good hands, he’s got great body control. He can do a lot of things well but he’s got to be a little more consistent.”
Brown, one of Kersey’s best friends on the team, said he was happy to see Kersey stick around.
“Shawney’s a great person,” Brown said. “He’s become a leader on the team. Everybody likes Shawney. In the end, he had to do what was best for him. I supported him no matter what he decided, but when I found out he was staying, I was happy for him. He’s improving and it’s great to see where he is now. So everything has worked out.”
Kersey saw much of his game action last season on special teams. He did run 24 yards on a reverse against Alabama, caught one pass for two yards and returned two kickoffs and one punt.