New offer for former Penn State commit Micah Parsons, Lions try to manage expectations, and more
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This is your Penn State Wake-Up Call for Tuesday, April 25. Let’s get started.
New offer for Parsons
One day after Harrisburg (Pa.) High defensive end Micah Parsons de-committed from Penn State, he received a scholarship offer from Mississippi State, according to Pennlive.com’s Brian Linder.
Line forms at the rear, of course. All the heavy hitters — Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, et al. — are on Parsons, who according to 247Sports is the third-ranked player in the Class of 2018 and the top defensive end.
Linder also writes that a would-be classmate of Parsons, running back Ricky Slade, earned an invitation to The Opening, Nike’s camp for elite players that will take place at the sneaker giant’s headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., from June 28 to July 3.
Slade, a 5-star running back from Woodbridge, Va., earned his invitation at a regional in Washington, D.C., last weekend.
Another Penn State target, 3-star linebacker Brian Asamoah (Columbus, Ohio), was among the many recruits on hand for the Blue-White Game on Saturday. He told Bill Greene of Scout.com the visit was “amazing,” and said coach James Franklin and his assistants made it clear how much they wanted him:
“Everything stood out to me, and I’m very interested in Penn State. They’re very high up there for me. I really like the coaching staff and the potential of being a really good team going into the next few years. I still have more visits to take, and I don’t have a commitment date in mind.”
Greene writes that Asamoah will visit Cincinnati this weekend, and that he hopes to visit Pitt, UCLA and Oklahoma in the coming months.
Matt Brown of Sports on Earth writes that Penn State probably will have its highest preseason football ranking since the 1999 team opened at No. 3. He notes that Franklin plans to put on the blinders and focus on the task at hand, as he did in 2016.
As the coach said after the Blue-White Game:
“This 2017 team has not achieved anything. James Franklin has not achieved anything. Saquon Barkley hasn’t achieved anything. Those things [that happened in 2016] are in the past. What are we going to do in the present, and what are we going to do moving forward to be the type of program we want to be? I am fired up right now. I am excited.”
There was a picnic planned Saturday night for the players, coaches and their families, at which point the Big Ten championship rings would be handed out. And then, Franklin said:
“We’re never going to talk about this Big Ten championship again. It’s over.”
Now it’s on to Akron, the opponent in the Sept. 2 opener. That will be the sole focus.
This year the Nittany Lions have most of their starters back, but the schedule looks more challenging than it was last season. There is a stretch beginning in late October in which Penn State plays Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State on consecutive weekends, the last two on the road.
As defensive coordinator Brent Pry said:
“There might be a little bigger bull’s-eye on us than there’s been in the past. I think also we’ve got more competition on our team, got guys pushing each other a little harder, got better depth. So I think we’re producing a better product ourselves.”
Lest we forget …
Here is some BTN video of the media punt-fielding competition at halftime of the Blue-White Game. Some 16 brave souls took part, and Thomas Frank Carr of Forever Radio — he of the headband, gloves and cleats — fielded 2 punts cleanly to come away the winner.
“I just wanted to come out here and prove media members are athletes, too,” he said.
That, folks, is a tough sell.