After last year's wildly popular first take of this story, I'm back again, trying to help all of you lazy shoppers. Christmas is a mere three days away, and here you are, reading this article instead of shopping for DJ Newbill, or Nyeem Wartman, or whichever Penn State athlete you drew from the hat for this year's gift exchange. Luckily for you, I understand and I want to help. I've covered every corner of the internet, from drunkronswanson.com to the Pitt Rivals board to help set you up with everything you need this holiday season, to make sure your favorite Penn State athlete is happy this winter.
Christian Hackenberg- A Neck and Back Massager
This fine model from Brookstone will not only help Christian recover a bit before it's time to run through the tunnel at Yankee Stadium, but it will help him relax this offseason. David Carr was jealous of the time in the pocket that Hack had to work with for the first half of the season, so you can bet that a good massage is well overdue. Last year, we gifted Hack a little black book to aid him in his dating life. These two gifts combined should allow for Christian to thoroughly enjoy his time away from the football field.
Trace McSorley and Tommy Stevens- All Four Seasons of Friday Night Lights on DVD
McSorely and Stevens both play the game in similar fashions. Both have the arm to make plays on the field, and both will be pass-first quarterbacks. However, both of these guys are also very strong runners of the football, and will make some huge plays with their legs while they're at Penn State. It is for that exact reason, that they both need to spend some time watching how Coach Eric Taylor deploys Matt Saracen and Vince Howard. They both have designed run plays from time to time, true. But they both also do everything they can to keep the play alive and throw the ball, before breaking to run for it on their own. Yet another example of how we can use one of history's greatest television shows in real life.
Akeel Lynch- An Apology
An apology from the Penn State coaching staff, to be more precise. I love Bill Belton as much as the next guy, but the dude's just not meant to be a running back, at least not behind this year's offensive line. He dances behind the line too much, although he did improve on that towards the end of the season, he gets taken down by a defensive lineman's pinky, and he's never able to use his top end speed unless he gets into the open field. Akeel Lynch, was always the running back this team needed. Not even he would have been able to put up stellar numbers in the early going this year, but his style of attacking the first opening he sees, could have made a difference somewhere along the line. Thankfully, there will be no threat to his carries next year (although Johnathan Thomas, Saquon Barkley, or Andre Robinson seem ready to break out in a big way), so Akeel won't have to worry about asking for this present two years in a row. For now though, John Donovan ought to head to the Lynch household with a big box of "sorry".
The Receivers- A Bottle of Macallan, Aged 18 Years
This gift is just stuffed with multiple meanings, so let's go one by one. First off, these kids played great this year. When you consider their ages, you can't help but be impressed by their performances. The main four guys out there, were Geno Lews (redshirt sophomore), DaeSean Hamilton (redshirt freshman), Chris Godwin (true freshman), and Saeed Blacknall (true freshman). These boys deserve a chance to sit down and enjoy a drink of my personal favorite whisky.
Secondly, it serves as a reminder of how young they truly are. We always talk about how young Hackenberg is, and how impressive his success has been for his age, but we should be saying similar things about these receivers. There's a strong chance that we're talking about these kids for a very long time, so appreciate their hard work at such young ages.
Finally, this fine bottle of aged whisky will teach the guys that experience can only help. They're young now, but when they are gifted with a few more years of practice and B1G experience, they'll be ready to show off to the world, just like this whisky. Would it have tasted good in year one? Sure. Were these receivers impressive this year? Sure. But just as the Macallan tastes better with every extra year that we wait to open it, these receivers will be better every year they play.
Anthony Zettel- A Swiss Army Knife
Anthony Zettel made the switch from defensive end to defensive tackle this season. While his numbers at end were never anything to write home about, there were more than a few people who clamored for him to receive more playing time due to the success he had when he got on the field. Then this year, well, you know what he did this year. It's that kind of versatility and flexibility that will get him onto and NFL roster after next season. There are few gifts that represent a player's style better than this one.
James Franklin- Air Force One
He already uses a Penn State helicopter to get from school to school, both as means of easy transportation and because he wants everyone to know he's the man, so why not kick things up a notch? Let him fly Air Force One from DeMatha Catholic to Archbishop Wood. Let him repaint it so it's a giant, flying #PSUnrivaled-mobile. Take out everything inside and turn it into a dance floor so he can go nuts when he gets a new commitment, as usual. Make it Soul Plane in real life.
Bob Shoop- All of the Money
Don't let him leave. Ever.
Pat Chambers- A New Contract
Seriously. Stop messing around, Sandy.
DJ Newbill- A Celtics Jersey
Can you imagine a 2014 DJ Newbill, teaming up with the seemingly re-born and re-energized Tim Frazier that is currently ripping the D League to pieces like he's a piranha in a tank full of goldfish? What was supposed to be a dynamic partnership that would take the Big Ten by storm, never truly got off the ground. They deserve the chance to try it again, but with a better supporting cast around them. So Boston, here's what you need to do. Trade Marcus Smart for a big man. Draft another big man round one. Draft DJ Newbill round two. Promote Timmy. Then start ordering your 2015/2016 season championship gear.
Geno Thorpe- Moon Bounce Shoes
Geno Thorpe is an extremely exciting basketball player. He can drive to the hoop, he plays outstanding defense, he can pass the ball, and he says "Retweet" in real life to answer questions. Anyone who doesn't love the guy isn't paying attention. That's exactly the reason why I can't handle seeing him go up for a dunk and get stuffed by the rim. To my knowledge, it has happened twice already this season, which is two times too many. So please, Geno, accept our gift. No more missed dunks. We'll even throw in this kid's shirt.
Russ Rose- A Gun and a Cigar
HOW DO YOU FEEL, RUSS? pic.twitter.com/fiAUTRl59r— Nick Polak (@TheREALNPolak) December 21, 2014
Micha Hancock and Lainy Pierce- My Heart
Rob Cooper- Fans
Penn State Baseball is awesome, and I don't care how few people go to it. Some of my favorite moments as a student came from sitting with my friends in our seats along the first base line, right next to the bullpen. Cooper is a great coach, who is given very little to work with at Penn State, when compared to other programs across the country. Some fan support could go a long way.
It is shaping up to be quite a holiday indeed. As was the case last year, Black Shoe Diaries is more than happy to buy any and all of these gifts for you, and will gladly pass them along to the intended athletes. To follow through with this program, simply send a check for double the cost of the gift made out to Nick Polak. Happy Holidays!