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Boyce not in Kansas anymore

While perusing Penn State's 2012 roster, it's clear that much of the Nittany Lions' talent is homegrown, hailing from states in the traditional pipeline like New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and of course, Pennsylvania.

Boyce is the only Nittany Lion from Kansas.

That's where linebacker Drew Boyce stands out. As one of just five players from west of the Mississippi River, Boyce is the only player on the roster hailing from Kansas.

The 6-foot-1, 217-pound redshirt freshman was a center and middle linebacker at Olathe Northwest High School, a 30-minute drive southwest from Kansas City and close to the Missouri border. He was a three-time all-conference honorable mention selection and recorded 65 tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack as a senior.

Landing in Happy Valley wasn't completely by chance, however. Boyce's mother is from Pittsburgh, while his father is originally from West Virginia. He began looking at Penn State early in his high school career and attended a few camps at the request of former defensive coordinator Tom Bradley.

"I met Coach Bradley my sophomore year of high school, I started talking to him and went through a couple of steps and he offered me a walk-on spot here and I really couldn't turn it down," he said. "I came up here last year and I've loved it ever since."

Since the Sandusky scandal broke, and later when NCAA sanctions were put into place, Boyce heard from plenty of people back home in the Sunflower State who wanted to know just what was happening in State College.

"I got a couple of calls back at home from media guys when all this stuff broke out," he said. "Everyone back home is calling me and asking questions. I try to keep that to the side and keep home separate from here."

Now Boyce is focused on football, trying to see the field as a redshirt freshman. Though the road at his position is currently crowded, he's looking to make an impact in other spots this season.

"Right now I'm third string Sam behind Gerald Hodges and Mike Hull," Boyce said earlier this month. "I'm looking at more special teams this year, maybe more after this year a little more linebacker. Hopefully I can get out there on special teams - kickoff, punt, things like that."

With scholarship limits in place for the foreseeable future, Boyce's chance of getting onto the field and making an impact have increased. The Nittany Lions will have to count on walk-ons like him making contributions throughout the duration of his career.

"We've only lost one linebacker, and I've always thought that I could compete," said Boyce. "Hopefully over the next couple of years I'll be able to show that and prove that. I think I'll be all right in the future."

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