When defensive back Kasey Gaines (Loganville, Ga./Grayson) camped at Penn State over the summer, he was focused on what thousands of high school players dream about, but few achieve.
The chance to play college football at the highest level.
"It is a once in a lifetime opportunity," Gaines said.
The 5-foot-11, 165-pound senior has been a solid contributor for the Gwinnett County powerhouse program since he was a sophomore, and as a junior he made 93 tackles, nine tackles for loss, five interceptions and 13 pass breakups. He got the news last month that he indeed had earned a scholarship to play for the storied Big Ten program. A week ago, he decided he wanted to accept.
"I called Coach (Ted) Roof last Thursday to let him know my decision," Gaines said. "He was thrilled and said it was great news. I am excited to be a Nittany Lion."
Gaines was sold on the coaching staff at University Park, as well as the school's history.
"I love Coach Roof and Coach (Bill) O' Brien and what they are doing with the program," Gaines said. "It is an honor to play for a program like Penn State with such tradition."
Miami (Ohio) offered Gaines on Wednesday, but the three-star prospect has known his choice since he got the offer.
"Penn State was the FBS first school to take a chance on me and I really appreciate that," Gaines said. "Since then I have not really been considering any other options."
The program has been under intense scrutiny this year, with sanctions coming down in July that included vacating wins, a four-year bowl ban and a reduction in scholarships over the next four years. The penalties are some of the heaviest ever, but Gaines is up for the challenge of righting the ship at Penn State.
"It is terrible what happened, but I am blessed with the opportunity to be a part of something special as they try to rebuild," Gaines said. "I think it is awesome that they chose me to be part of the effort to bring them back on top. I plan to work hard to be a vital asset to the team and try to help the secondary at Penn State."
The addition of Gaines gives Penn State 10 commitments for the 2013 class.