Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
Chris Godwin had nine catches in the Rose Bowl loss to USC.

Chris Godwin, Garrett Sickels invited to NFL Combine, wrestling team looks for an edge and more

We hope you’ll start your day with us here at as we work to prepare you for everything that you need to know – Monday through Friday – around the world of Penn State sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, wrestling, hockey, baseball or just a wild story we hope you’ll find interesting, we’re here to share it all with you.

This is your Penn State Wake-Up Call for Thursday, Feb. 16. Let’s get started.

Combine confusion

Two Penn State players, wide receiver Chris Godwin and defensive end Garrett Sickels, are among the 330 collegiate players to receive invitations to the NFL Scouting Combine, one of the odder events on the sporting calendar.

Based in Indianapolis, the combine is a week-long casting call for prospective pro players that affords scouts the opportunity to poke and prod, examine and evaluate. Sometimes a diamond in the rough is unearthed. Just as often there is paralysis by analysis, and a star is overlooked.

The combine, which this year runs from Feb. 28 to March 6, nonetheless became a very big deal once the NFL Network began televising it in 2004. And so it remains, grumbling reporters flocking to the thing even as they question its worth.

Not without reason, either. In 2000, Tom Brady displayed an unremarkable physique when photographed at the combine, then ran the 40-yard dash in a glacial 5.28 seconds. He wound up going in the sixth round of the draft, which obviously is laughable now.

Five years before Brady’s misadventure, Boston College defensive end Mike Mamula crushed it at the combine, and was taken seventh overall by the Philadelphia Eagles. While he was not the bust many consider him to be, he managed just 31.5 sacks in six seasons.

Then there was an Eastern Kentucky defensive tackle named Justin Ernest, who in 1999 bench-pressed 225 pounds 51 times, still the combine record. He never played a down in the NFL.

The moral of the story is, the combine can tell you something, but not nearly everything.

What we know going in is that Godwin was a terrific college player, and Sickels a very good one. Godwin seemed to cement his standing with a glittering nine-catch, 187-yard, two-touchdown performance in the Rose Bowl against USC, while Sickels had a great game – or, at least, half a game – in the upset of Ohio State (nine tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks). He was not a factor against the Trojans, however, registering a single stop.

Does any of that mean anything? Seems like it has to mean something, seeing as it came against elite competition. And it seems like it should mean at least as much as what either of them do at the combine, when everyone is running around in form-fitting shorts and T-shirts, as opposed to helmets and shoulder pads.

But alas, there will be those who will be fooled by what occurs in Indianapolis. Who will salivate over a 40 time or a shuttle run. Who will marvel at a Wonderlic test score or an astute response in a personal interview.

All of that is part of a larger picture. And we all need to step back and consider it in its entirety.

Advantage negated?

Christian Pyles of the website believes the bonus-point advantage often enjoyed by No. 2 Penn State could be negated in its showdown against No. 1 Oklahoma State in Sunday’s National Duals Championship in Stillwater.

Pyles notes that Zain Retherford (149 pounds), Jason Nolf (157) and Bo Nickal (184) – ranked No. 1, No. 1 and No. 2, respectively — are the Lions most likely to pile up bonus points. Retherford will likely be tested by No. 2 Anthony Collica, however, and Pyles believes Joe Smith will put up more of a fight than he did while losing by major decision to Nolf in NCAAs last year.

Nickal will certainly be favored over Nolan Boyd in his match, but Pyles writes that OSU’s Kaid Brock should have a big advantage over George Carpenter at 133.

Lady Lions lose 2 players for the season

Two PSU women’s basketball players — senior guard Keke Sevillian and freshman forward De’Janae Boykin — have been lost for the season, according to the Daily Collegian. Sevillian is out due to personal reasons, Boykin a lower leg/ankle injury.

Sevillian missed the last 21 games of her junior year because of a knee injury.

The Lady Lions (18-8, 8-6 Big Ten) have won four straight, their most recent victory at Illinois on Tuesday. Two regular-season games remain – Feb. 22 at Michigan State and Feb. 26 against Michigan.

Also in the Land of 10