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Spring around the corner
It won’t be long before the Penn State football team returns to the field for spring practice, culminating with the annual Blue White scrimmage on April 21.
There are plenty of players to keep an eye on going into spring practice. Bob Flounders of Pennlive.com writes that quarterback and defensive back are two of the areas to watch when spring practice comes around. Specifically third string quarterback Sean Clifford. What role will he have and how much further along has he progressed?
There’s been talk for months now that Tommy Stevens, currently the backup to Trace McSorley, could look to transfer before his eligibility runs out.
Clifford, a redshirt for Penn State last season, was a top prospect coming out of the Cincinnati area. The 6-2, 210-pounder should be completely recovered from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right (throwing) shoulder. Clifford needs plenty of repetitions and he should get them in the spring. McSorley is a proven quarterback. The Lions need to find out what they have in Clifford.
Penn State may have to find out what Clifford has for more than just depth at the position.
Lamont Wade, one of those defensive backs to keep an eye on, is moving from cornerback to safety, writes Ben Jones of StateCollege.com.
With the losses of several top defensive backs because of graduation, and the expected return of John Reid to the cornerback spot, Wade’s move is a necessity.
Focused on a few
James Franklin can go all-in on the Class of 2019 now.
Already with plenty of time devoted to the next wave of Penn State recruits, Franklin and his staff have a couple of key areas they need to focus on, writes Greg Pickel of Pennlive.com.
There’s one catch though. How many areas can Franklin focus on exactly?
As for how much space remains, Penn State appears to currently be over the hard 85-man scholarship cap ahead of the 2018 season, as it has 87 players unofficially on scholarship per a PennLive tally, but that will surely work itself out by August camp.
No matter, just 11 of the players tracked will be out of eligibility at the end of the 2018 season, which would leave room for just nine more signees.
Of course other players, such as Stevens, could opt to transfer too freeing up more room.
Some 2020 news
Franklin and his staff are also focusing their future recruiting attention to the Class of 2020 as another recruit received an offer from the Nittany Lions last weekend.
Kentucky tight end Michael Mayer, currently unranked by 247Sports, was offered by Penn State, writes Andrew Callahan of Lions 247.
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Just doing it
Saquon Barkley will be one of the top picks when the NFL draft comes around in April and he’s already got his biggest endorsement deal before even stepping on the turf at the NFL combine.
Barkley signed a shoe and apparel deal with Nike, writes John McGonigal of the Centre Daily Times.
Barkley’s agency, Roc Nation, negotiated the deal with Michael Yormark heading up talks with the shoe company, which seems fitting considering he’s been wearing Nike gear, at a Nike school since he got to Penn State.
“Saquon is a generational talent — it’s only fitting that his apparel partner represents the same dedication to greatness,” Yormark said. “Our entire team at Roc Nation looks forward to working with Nike throughout Saquon’s NFL journey.”
Barkely spent time after the deal promoting Nike on his various social media platforms.
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