READING, Pa. (BVM) — Joey Schlaffer has emerged as one of the best tight ends in the country at Exeter Township High School. According to 247 Sports, he is a four-star recruit and the No. 7 player in the state of Pennsylvania.
But for the 6-foot-6, 215–pound pass catcher, some of his favorite memories came at the quarterback position.
As an eighth–grade signal caller, he was called up to the freshman team and led them to an undefeated campaign.
“We just had a great season. We had talent everywhere,” Schlaffer said. “It was so fun to be a part of.”
As Schlaffer got older and bigger, a switch to tight end made sense to utilize his athleticism and wide catch radius. Not too long after, the recruiting process began.
“It’s great to be exposed to so much more than the average kid,” Schlaffer said. “Just being able to have conversations with so many people that have high knowledge of the game.”
He also had two of these people in his corner, his brothers Christian and Michal Menet, who played football at Eastern Michigan and Penn State respectively.
So when the Nittany Lions reached out to Schlaffer, there was already a good sense of familiarity with the program.
“A lot of the coaches and staff even remembered me from the times that I was there as his little brother,” Schlaffer said. “When it became time for me to be the recruit, I had already built a lot of really good, long relationships with a lot of people there.”
He announced his commitment to the school in Oct. 2021.
— Joey Schlaffer (@joey_schlaffer) October 23, 2021
Even though Schlaffer wound up choosing Penn State, Michal was an unbiased asset for him, helping him through every part of being a coveted recruit.
“I probably leaned on him more than anyone else in my recruiting process and really in life,” Schlaffer said. “He’s done everything that I hope to achieve and plan to achieve. Who better as a resource than someone who has done it themself.”
While Michal was able to help him out a lot, Schlaffer did have moments of self-realization on his own throughout his high school career.
“I didn’t value the weight room a lot when I was an underclassman. I just relied on me being a bigger and better athlete than everyone I went against,” Schlaffer said. “But you have to come to the realization that if you want to play in college, you’re not going to be bigger and better than everyone just because you’re athletic. That was a really humbling thing for me to realize.”
Despite a lengthy resume, that change is what he appreciates the most so far in his football journey.
“This could’ve been a very different path from where I am now,” Schlaffer said. “If things didn’t go the way they did, I could be a completely different person. The way that everything culminated together, that’s really what I think of when I sit back and think, ‘I’m proud of that.’”
Schlaffer does not plan to stop any time soon, bringing the same work ethic to the Nittany Lions.
His long-term goal at Penn State is to reach his fullest potential. While he is accomplishing that, he would also love the opportunity to get in the end zone in front of a 100,000-plus white-out, Happy Valley crowd.