Graham Zug's story is one that Penn State fans know all too well.
Zug finished his career with 78 catches.
'Amish Lightning,' as he was dubbed later in his Penn State career, came to Happy Valley 2006 as a walk-on out of Manheim Central High School in Lancaster County, and left with 78 career receptions, placing him among the top 20 all-time in school history.
Along the way, he tied a Penn State record with seven touchdowns as a junior, equaling the mark set by both Kenny Jackson and Bobby Engram. He also grabbed three touchdowns against Michigan in a memorable outing at the Big House in 2009.
He also set the standard, along with Deon Butler, to which every walk-on receiver that comes to Penn State will be compared.
Zug graduated with a degree in Kinesiology in December, finished his football career as well. Lions247 caught up with him this week to see what he is up to in life after Penn State.
Lions247: You told us before the interview that you've hung up the cleats and are done with football. How did that decision come about?
Graham Zug: I decided against it, mainly just because my body is a little banged up. I have little nicks and stuff, and I just personally didn't want to continue to damage my body and when I get older I want to be able to run around and play with my kids and enjoy all of that. It was also an unknown, I didn't know if I would make it or not. I believe in myself that I could, but with the unknown and the health and all that, I figured it would be best to pursue a job and start working towards that and be happy with that.
Lions247: Do you know what the immediate future holds for you at this point?
Graham Zug: I'm not sure right now, I'm thinking I might go into insurance. It's a good career, and I think with my name and that it would help me to be successful with that. I think I'll go into that somewhere around here, but if something comes up and I have to move away, I'm probably not going to turn that down.
Lions247: Are you starting to miss football already or anything like that?
Graham Zug: I've talked to some of the guys, some of them are working out, some of them are job searching. It's pretty interesting hearing what everyone is up to now. I miss football a little bit, but at the same time after spending five years having football every single day, it's nice to have a little break and relax a little.
Lions247: What are you going to miss the most about being a Penn State football player?
Graham Zug: I think just being part of the team and being around your teammates and your friends every day. Just having the planned schedule every single day and knowing that you're going to have a good time around your guys every single day. That's one thing that I'm going to miss.
Lions247: You said you just got back from a vacation in the Carolina's, how's the golf game coming along in 'retirement?'
Graham Zug: It's coming along. I shot two 83's down there so I'm pleased with how it's come along since the beginning of the year.
Lions247: Were you the top golfer on the team?
Graham Zug: I've never really said that I was, but Evan [Royster] and Collin [Wagner] would always say that I was the top golfer. Every once in a while I got beat by somebody, but it wasn't often. I usually didn't lose to those guys.
Lions247: You're a competitive guy, do you know how you're going to fill that void now that football is over?
Graham Zug: I hope that it will carry over to whatever I do, whatever my career path will be. It's easy to take that competitive attitude and work hard and want to beat the competition and everything in the career path that I would choose. I'm hoping to do that along the way and as the weather gets warmer, continue to golf and have it carry on through that.
Lions247: Penn State has a lot of receivers coming back next year, who should we look out for?
Graham Zug: I definitely think you've got to look out for Curtis Drake. Missing this year was a big bummer for him, but he had a great freshman year and he was always learning from us older guys and working hard every single day even though he was injured. I think he was one guy in the receiving corps that I would look out for.
Lions247: What about the quarterback situation, how do you think that one is going to play out?
Graham Zug: I honestly have no clue how that one is going to play out. I would hate to be Coach Paterno and have to make that decision. McGloin and Rob are really talented, they really showed a lot of their skills this year. You've got Kevin Newsome and Paul Jones coming into the mix, and what do you do? You've got four guys that can play at any D-I school, and it should be interesting to see what happens and see who starts playing there next year.
Lions247: And the last question, we'll put you on the spot. Who is the starter at quarterback in August?
Graham Zug: I would say… I think it would be McGloin. I think he showed a lot of good things this year and he was able to get that offense motivated and move it forward. I would say that he has the most experience and the most going for him, but like I said I would hate to make that decision.
Already have an account? Sign In