Former Penn State Football Player Nick Scott Continues To Use Platform For THON

As a former Penn State football team captain who always had a smile, Nick Scott was a favorite among fans during his five years in Happy Valley. He tried to do whatever was necessary to help the Nittany Lions win. He changed positions several times as he evolved from a running back commit to a special teams standout, eventually becoming a seventh-round selection at safety by the Los Angeles Rams in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Similar to his football career, Scott decided he wanted to become more involved in THON early on during his time as a student. His interest in THON escalated even more after a few team-organized events involving kids from hospitals across the state.

“I had so much fun in the past with hospital visits,” Scott told this week. “A lot of times, we’d have kids and families over to the facility and we would play games, we would have mazes, and play two-hand touch, all that stuff. So I was always trying to do more.”

Scott gained several new views on life from these experiences, realizing how fortunate he and his teammates were to be healthy and to be looked at as role models for some of the kids that they met at the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

“Meeting those families and kids, it really puts things in perspective of the type of opportunity we have and how blessed we are each and every day – one, with good health, and two, to be able to do what we’re doing at the university and represent the university in a big way,” Scott said.

When Scott finally started to look for ways to get involved with THON, he received help from a fellow teammate and dancer in offensive lineman Charlie Shuman. Shuman had already danced in THON, and helped lead Scott down the path to becoming a dancer.

“Charlie is an amazing individual,” Scott said. “I think he deserves a lot of credit for my success with THON and my being involved with THON, because through him, I learned so much information. I always admired him for how much time outside of football he put into THON and his foundation and other organizations like that.”

Scott joined Shuman as a dancer as a junior in 2018, mentioning that any of his questions could easily be directed to the offensive lineman since Shuman wouldn’t be hard to find.

“I’ll definitely find him,” Scott said before THON 2018. “It won’t be hard. I’m sure (Charlie) will be the tallest person in the building.”

Even with THON taking place right in the middle of the football team;s offseason workouts, that was never an issue for Scott. After a conversation with head coach James Franklin and director of performance enhancement Dwight Galt, Scott figured out that he was not only “allowed’ to dance, but that his coaches were excited and encouraging about the idea.

“I wanted to bring it up with [Franklin and Galt] and hear their thoughts,” Scott said. “Long story short, they were both on board, like, ‘This is awesome. We think it’s great.'”

Not only did Coach Franklin think the idea was great — he showed his support in a tangible way. Franklin made a $10,000 donation toward Scott’s fundraising goal.

“[Franklin] gave me enough money to make me one of the highest fundraisers,” Scott said. “He’s the type of coach where, no matter what it is, football or anything like that, you can always talk to him. You can just walk into his office, he’s got an open-door policy.”

Even though Scott is suiting up for a different football team nowadays, he still tries to help raise awareness and money for THON through a variety of different ways. Whether it involves him making an appearance, or donating game-used memorabilia, the former Penn State safety continues to influence Penn State’s THON from the other side of the country.

“I may not always directly be able to donate directly to them in their name for THON, but I’m always open to helping people raise money for THON however I can, using my platform,” Scott said.

The commitment to THON continues for Scott next month. He’ll join Shuman and former teammate Trace McSorley as special guest speakers at the annual Hope Gala in March, an event founded by the New York City Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association that benefits Four Diamonds.

“When people hear about [THON,] they constantly want to hear my story, which is always encouraging me to just keep doing what I’m doing,” Scott said.

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About the Author

Mitch Stewart

Mitch is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism from Roanoke, Virginia. In addition to his role with Onward State, Mitch talks about all the #sprots on Penn State's CommRadio. To contact Mitch, feel free to send him an e-mail at [email protected], and if you really don't value your social media accounts, follow him as he yells on Twitter about Penn State basketball @mitchystew.

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