Kevin Haplea enters the season as the Nittany Lions' most experienced tight end. He worked hard in off-season conditioning and during spring practice to prepare for what could be a season of great opportunity for himself and all the tight ends. The former North Hunterdon High School standout has the size, skills and strength to emerge as a primary target in an offense that will frequently employ multiple tight ends expected to catch, and possibly carry, the pigskin. Haplea finished spring drills No. 2 on the depth chart at the "F" tight end position, which Coach Bill O'Brien has described as "a move guy; a little bit better pass receiver than he is a blocker, with good hands." O'Brien, though, also has stated that many of the tight ends will be interchangeable between the "F" and "Y" positions. With continued progress, Haplea should have some great opportunities to be a significant contributor as a receiver and blocker. Haplea enrolled at Penn State in January 2010 and has a twin sister, who also is a Penn State student. He is among seven Nittany Lion returnees from New Jersey.
2011 Sophomore Season
Haplea played in every game and made three catches for 21 yards and one touchdown. He also helped open running lanes for Silas Redd to gain 1,241 yards and was instrumental in Penn State leading the Big Ten in fewest sacks allowed, with 14. Haplea's first career touchdown catch was a critical one, coming on a two-yard pass from Matt McGloin in the fourth quarter of the 13-3 victory over Iowa. He also made a catch against Nebraska and had a 12-yard reception against Houston in the TicketCity Bowl. Haplea saw action on 310 snaps in 2011, topped by 50 in the win over Purdue.
2010 Freshman Season
Haplea enrolled in classes at Penn State in January 2010 and was among seven true freshmen to play. The tight end position was hit by season-ending injuries to Andrew Szczerba (back) and Garry Gilliam, who suffered a torn ACL in the Big Ten-opener, and Haplea made the most of the opportunity. He played in every game and made three starts. He had three catches for 39 yards, with a long reception of 23 yards at Iowa. He made one catch at Minnesota. He made his first career starts at Ohio State and against Indiana. Haplea had one catch for 14 yards against Michigan State. His catch was good for a first down at the Spartan 25-yard line in the fourth quarter, and on the next play, Matt McGloin threw a touchdown pass to Joe Suhey. Haplea was on the field for 493 snaps, topped by 59 each against Northwestern and Florida in the 2011 Outback Bowl.
Rated as the nation's sixth-best tight end in the 2010 recruiting class, Haplea brought receiver-like traits to the tight end position at North Hunterdon HS. The four-star player for Coach John Mattes was productive throughout his high school career. A team captain, Haplea caught 17 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns as a junior. He also played basketball and baseball.
Full name is Kevin Patrick Haplea. He is the son of Gene and Melissa Haplea. He has an older sister, Megan, and a twin sister, Gretchen, who also is a Penn State student. His father played football at Navy, as did an uncle, Jerome Barker. A grandfather played basketball at Rider. He enjoys watching movies and favorite TV shows and swimming. Haplea is enrolled in the College of Health and Human Development and is interested in owning a fitness center. Born October 18, 1991 in Livingston, N.J.