Former Penn State WR Chris Godwin learns from Calvin Johnson, wrestlers ‘optimistic’ about Nick Suriano’s return and more

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This is your Penn State Wake-Up Call for Thursday, March 2. Let’s get started.

‘Megatron’ serves as mentor

Former Penn State wide receiver Chris Godwin had a first-rate tutor as he prepared for the NFL Scouting Combine this week – retired Detroit Lions wideout Calvin Johnson.

Godwin called his two-day confab with Johnson “pretty surreal,” according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. It came earlier this month at the EXOS Training Facility in Gulf Breeze, Fla., and was arranged by Godwin’s agent, Eugene Lee.

As Godwin told Birkett:

“One of the things he said he liked about my game was just my ability to kind of attack the ball, and he said he liked how fluid I looked when I was running my routes. He said just how aggressive I was with going and playing the ball and kind of shedding off defenders was something that he liked about my game.”

Johnson, who retired after the 2015 season at age 30, schooled Godwin in the tricks of the trade feints and jukes that will allow him to gain separation on defenders.

Godwin had 59 receptions for 982 yards and 11 touchdowns this past season and was particularly effective in the Rose Bowl loss to USC, catching nine balls for 187 yards and two scores.

According to Birkett, he is regarded as a mid-round selection. He is sturdily built at 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, but scouts have some question about his speed. Godwin told Birkett he hopes to run a sub-4.5 40 at the combine.

Sanderson ‘optimistic’ about Suriano

Nittany Lions wrestling coach Cael Sanderson said earlier this week he is “optimistic” about the availability of freshman 125-pounder Nick Suriano for the Big Ten Championships this weekend in Bloomington, Ind.

Suriano rolled his left ankle in a bout against Oklahoma State’s Nick Piccininni in the NWCA Dual Championship on Feb. 19 and was unable to continue. Sanderson, however, is holding out hope that Suriano will be back for the start of the conference tournament on Saturday, telling the Daily Collegian:

“He’s a tough kid. He’s put a lot of time in with the trainer. We’re optimistic. … Physically, he’s a monster. He’s recovering quickly.”

In order to compete in the NCAA Tournament, scheduled for March 16-18 in St. Louis, Suriano has to appear in at least one match in the conference tournament. It matters not whether he completes it, only that he competes.

In other grappling news, senior 174-pound wrestler Geno Morelli was named one of the winners of the Big Ten’s annual Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award.

The award, given annually by the Indianapolis Big Ten Community Partnership, recognizes one male and female conference senior who plans to pursue postgraduate work on the basis of achievements in academics, athletics, extracurricular activities and leadership.

According to the Centre Daily Times, the fifth-year senior holds a 3.95 grade-point average in energy business and finance.

Appeal denied

A pretrial appeal by former PSU president Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley was denied Tuesday by John Boccabella, a Berks County (Pa.) Superior Judge.

All three face child endangerment and conspiracy charges in connection with their actions in the Jerry Sandusky child sexual-abuse scandal. Jury selection is schedule to begin March 20, according to the Centre Daily Times.

Sandusky, the retired defensive coordinator, was convicted on 45 of 48 charges in June 2012. When those charges first surfaced in November 2011, it led to the firing of long-time head coach Joe Paterno, who died in January 2012.

A month after Sandusky’s conviction, the NCAA levied sanctions against the football program, many of which were later eased or eliminated.

Sandusky, serving a 30- to 60-year sentence, has maintained his innocence and is seeking a new trial, according to the Centre Daily Times.

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