September 23, 2012 at 3:32 AM
Jesse Della Valle is one unassuming guy.
Not only was the Pittsburgh native joking after today’s 24-13 win over Temple about his inherent Western, Pa. accent, but the redshirt sophomore was bopping around and laughing – a Dominoes pizza in-hand.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound cornerback had reason to smile though. He returned three punts off the foot of Temple punter Brandon McManus, running one of those back for a season-best 29 yards. That return was Penn State's longest of the season.
McManus’ third punt of the first quarter soared 50 yards to Della Valle, but after that impressive run back, the Nittany Lions were in good field position at Temple’s 46-yard line. The set-up led to wideout Allen Robinson’s 41-yard touchdown snag that put Penn State up 7-0 in the first quarter.
Della Valle returned a punt in the second quarter for nine yards, and another for seven in the third.
“He is a solid guy and he's a football player,” coach Bill O’Brien said. “He feels the punt and he feels that he's a solid punt returner. He's got decent speed, good vision and he's just another great kid.”
Della Valle joined the team in 2010 as a preferred walk-on and secured a scholarship this past summer. But has he secured a spot as Penn State’s returner?
“You never know,” Della Valle said. “I like it as my role, so that’s my role on the team. So that’s something important I can do.”