UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa (WTAJ) — To continue celebrating THON, Penn State Football invited four diamond families to participate in their annual THON explorers program.

Players welcomed families to the Lasch building to tour the facilities and spend some time with the kids. With THON officially underway, some of the players felt a noticeable buzz around campus, almost as if it was time to play in the annual whiteout game.

“You’d probably think it was a whiteout game or something,” KeAndre Lambert-Smith, junior wide receiver, said. “Probably think there was a game going on. I mean you can tell that Penn State and the people of the community take pride in THON so I mean it was great seeing that.”

That buzz continued as the THON families partnered up with players to enjoy video games, get their faces painted, play football and of course, make memories.

“It feels like it’s a great cause and like I said, I take pride in giving the kids a great memory, once in a lifetime memory, it was a great experience overall,” Lambert-Smith said.

It wasn’t a walk in the park though, some of the kids were put to the test athletically. Some of the players wanted to see some of the kids skills, so they got to work.

“We went upstairs on the treadmills and like all of the little kids were on the treadmills running and stuff,” Kalen King, junior cornerback, said.

When athletes come to Penn State, this might not be something they know about beforehand. That was the case for senior defensive tackle Dvon Ellies. Now, he loves the annual tradition.

“Every year it’s like, ‘oh my gosh, we want to raise this much money and we wanna do this’ and it’s just so infectious just because it’s everybody coming together and wanting to do good,” Ellies said. “That spreads all throughout campus and I think that’s important. I think every campus should be a part of something like that.”

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All the players are looking forward to seeing the THON 2023 total which will be announced Sunday afternoon.