We hope you’ll start your day with us here at the Landof10.com 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 Wednesday, Dec. 28. Let’s get started.
Sickels noncommittal about his plans
Mark Brennan of Fight on State spoke with Penn State defensive end Garrett Sickels during the Nittany Lions’ visit to Disneyland on Tuesday, asking the redshirt junior if he plans to return next season.
And Sickels gave him … a definite maybe:
“It’s always (looking at) the pros and cons with everything. But we’ve just got to get this last win and see where I’m at. But at Penn State, we’re in a great spot to do great things in the future. We’ll see what happens.”
Sickels, named the team’s defensive MVP earlier this month, leads the Lions with 12.5 tackles for loss and is tied for the lead with six sacks heading into Monday’s Rose Bowl game against USC.
His best performance to date came in the 24-21 upset of then-No. 2 Ohio State on Oct. 22. Suspended for the first half — ABC reported on its broadcast that day that it was because he skipped class during the Lions’ bye week — he nonetheless recorded nine tackles, 3.5 of those for losses, and 2.5 sacks.
Now he must make a decision about whether he wants to forgo his final season of eligibility and enter the NFL Draft. And among other things he told Brennan the following:
“It’s pretty cool that things have come full circle. My last game as a recruit was Wisconsin (in 2012), when they put the year up in (Beaver Stadium). And then we beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship (this year). So it’s pretty awesome.”
Tight end Mike Gesicki has already announced he will return in 2017. Besides Sickels, the other key starter who appears to be a draft candidate is safety Marcus Allen, PSU’s leading tackler.
Lions will be short-handed
Tuesday’s big news was coach James Franklin’s announcement that “some guys” won’t play against USC as a result of suspensions for the always-popular violation of team rules. That, of course, could be anything from a missed class to a felony, but that was Franklin’s story, and per John McGonigal of the Centre Daily Times, he was sticking to it:
“At this time, we probably won’t get into that (reason). There will be a time and a place for that.”
McGonigal reports that some clarity could come as soon as today, when the Lions open practice for 15 minutes to the media, then hold an interview session afterward.
Hockey team shows urgency
To Mark Fischer of the Daily Collegian, the addition Monday of left wing Brett Murray to Penn State’s hockey roster one semester earlier than originally planned signals a win-now mentality on the part of coach Guy Gadowsky and his crew.
The No. 3 Lions (13-1-1) are in a cluster of teams below heavyweights Minnesota-Duluth and Denver, the Nos. 1 and 2 clubs in the nation, respectively. PSU also figures to battle Minnesota and Ohio State for Big Ten supremacy.
Fischer writes that while the addition of Murray, a fourth-round pick of the Buffalo Sabres, might not put Penn State over the top, it adds depth to an already strong team.
Murray will be available when the Lions, idle since Dec. 2, resume their season Jan. 6-7 against the Buckeyes on the road.