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Donovan Smith Says He Owes Penn State Degree to Joe Paterno

With the class of 2014 a part of Penn State history now, only the few fifth year seniors left on the roster ever played for Joe Paterno.  OT Donovan Smith was one of those final few players who were directly influenced by the former coach, and he let it be known during has post-NFL draft interview after being taken No. 34 overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He says he promised Paterno he would earn his degree in only three and a half years, and he kept himself to that word.

“Sitting down with [Paterno] on my official visit. He told me to get my degree in three and a half years,” Smith said. “I wanted to stay true to what I said. I shook his hand on that in his living room, and I wanted to get my degree in three and a half years.”

Smith also spoke about his time at Penn State, saying all the adversity in recent years “brought us together more than people might have even thought of.”

You can watch the full interview below, or read this one, where Coach Franklin calls Smith a “dancing bear.”

About the Author

Kevin Horne

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014 and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus, which is a fake title he made up. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is also the president of the graduate student government. Email: [email protected]


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With another summer in the books, here are all the changes to State College that happened while you were gone.

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