Justin Fields joins a long list of QBs to spurn Penn State, Tori Gerlach sparkles at NCAAs and more
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 Friday, June 9. Let’s get started.
Justin Fields: ‘I had doubts’
Justin Fields, who earlier this week de-committed from Penn State, told Jeff Sentell of DawgNation that his reasoning was simple:
“I had doubts about whether I made the right decision, and I think opening up my recruitment publicly and taking a fresh look at my options will remove any doubts.”
Fields had told Rivals.com in March he was “locked in” and “100 percent committed” to the Nittany Lions, but also added a caveat:
“You never know what the future holds. I have no plans to change my mind, though.”
He is far from the first high-profile quarterback to spurn the Nittany Lions during the recruiting process, according to Mike Poorman of Statecollege.com. Poorman writes of Brandon Wimbush — mentioned in this space Wednesday — who three years ago flipped from Penn State to Notre Dame. The Lions then poached Tommy Stevens from Indiana.
Poorman also brings up the case of Jake Waters, who was the nation’s top junior-college QB in 2012. While he never gave Bill O’Brien, then the Lions’ coach, a verbal commitment, his college decision came down to Penn State and Kansas State. He chose the latter, and in two seasons completed 64.1 percent of his passes for nearly 6,000 yards and 40 touchdowns, while being intercepted 16 times.
The Lions in the meantime were left with Christian Hackenberg, which worked out well, at least, O’Brien’s second and final season in Happy Valley in 2013.
The other quarterbacks who found themselves in a situation similar to that of Fields, Poorman writes, were Chad Henne, who in 2004 picked Michigan over PSU, en route to the NFL, and Jim Kelly, whom the late Joe Paterno famously recruited to play linebacker in the late 1970s.
Kelly instead played for the University of Miami, and later the Buffalo Bills —with a USFL stopover in between. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
Tori Gerlach advances at NCAA meet
As reported by the Centre Daily Times, Penn State fifth-year senior Tori Gerlach ran the second-fastest time in the preliminaries of the 3,000-meter steeplechase Thursday at the NCAA Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., and qualified for the finals.
Gerlach’s clocking, 9:50.54, also was the second-fastest in that event in school history, according to Penn State’s official website.
Freshman Danae Rivers, who according to that same site set school indoor and outdoor records in the 800 meters this year, finished a disappointing fourth in her heat, and 19th overall, in 2:07.07. Her season best is 2:02.53.
Three named at-large Academic All-Americans
Three Penn State athletes — wrestlers Zain Retherford and Jason Nolf, along with women’s hockey player Laura Bowman — were named at-large Academic All-Americans by the College Sports Information Directors of America, according to a university news release.
Retherford, a junior and two-time NCAA champion at 149 pounds, made the first team, while Nolf and Bowman were named to the second team.
Retherford has achieved a 3.72 GPA as a finance major, according to the release.
Nolf, a sophomore, won the NCAA title at 157 pounds. A kinesiology major, he holds a 3.75 GPA.
Bowman graduated last month with a 3.95 GPA in biochemistry and molecular biology, according to the release. She generated a program-best 32 points in the 2016-17 season, on 18 goals and 14 assists, and is the first player in the team’s history to score more than 100 career points.