Aug. 17, 2004
LOGAN, Utah -
Many kids grow up wanting to be like one of their older siblings or their parents. Utah State offensive tackle Donald Penn was no different. He had dreams of following his sister and making a career in broadcast journalism.
However, after a short time in the major here at Utah State, he decided the bright lights of the television studio were not for him. The junior from Playa Del Rey, Calif., changed his major from journalism to sociology and has new hopes of becoming a probation officer or working under some different lights in the coaching profession.
"I want to work with kids, anything working with kids," Penn said.
After earning a starting position at right tackle as a redshirt freshman in 2002, Penn moved to the left side last season. He will man that spot protecting quarterback Travis Cox's blindside again this year.
"My expectations are high this year," Penn said. "I want to be all-conference and get to be as good as I can."
Penn experienced success early in his Aggie career as he sat on the bench for just two games before beginning a current streak of 21 consecutive starts, second on the team to Ronald Tupea (30). He attributes his quick success to working hard and extra pressure from his offensive line coach Jeff Hoover.
"Donald is a great kid and he has got a lot of fire inside him and that is good," Hoover said. "But just like anything, you need that channeled in the right direction."
With all of the success and potential, it is hard to believe that football is just his second love. In fact, the 6-5, 313-pounder did not even start playing football until his sophomore year in high school. Basketball was his main passion and in fact he was an all-state selection on the hardwood.
His basketball talent may have been genetic as his father Donald was a college basketball player. After starting to play football, his time on the basketball court was cut down, but it is still one of his main hobbies.
If he were still playing basketball, he thinks Utah State basketball coach Stew Morrill would enjoy having Penn suit up for him.
"All I would want to do is rebound and get my five fouls, so I think Coach Morrill would love me," Penn said. "Any points I would get would come off offensive rebounds."
And while he would enjoy suiting up for a college basketball game, football season is here and he appears ready to go.
"The sky is the limit for Donald," Hoover said. "He is extremely athletic and really talented. He will go as far as his work ethic will take him."
(By Jason Roundy, USU Athletic Media Relations Student Assistant)
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