Penn State product Chris Hogan earns Super Bowl ring, positive feedback about Lions’ recruiting class and more
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This is your Penn State Wake-Up Call for Monday, Feb. 6. Let’s get started.
Hogan’s season has a nice ring to it
New England Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan became the 39th former Penn State player to win a Super Bowl on Sunday, where he caught four passes for 57 yards in the Pats’ 34-28 overtime victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
But he became the first to do so after never playing a down for the Nittany Lions.
As has been noted before in this space, the 28-year-old Hogan played lacrosse for three years at PSU, ending in 2009, then transferred and played a year of football at Monmouth.
He received NFL looks from San Francisco, the New York Giants and Miami before sticking with Buffalo in 2012. After four years there, he signed a free-agent deal with New England this past offseason.
He had 38 receptions for 680 yards and four touchdowns during the regular season, and 17 grabs for 332 yards and two scores in the postseason. That was highlighted by a nine-catch, 180-yard, two-score explosion in New England’s victory over Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship Game.
Mark Wogenrich of The (Allentown) Morning Call compiled the list of PSU’s Super Bowl winners after Denver wideout Jordan Norwood won a ring last year.
Three Penn Staters – Jack Ham, Franco Harris and Matt Millen – were on the winning side in four Super Bowls. Ham and Harris did it with the Steelers dynasty in the 1970s, while Millen won two with the Raiders, one with San Francisco and one with Washington.
Another ex-Lions player, offensive lineman Pete Kugler, earned three rings with San Francisco in the 1980s, while six players brought home two apiece: Dave Robinson (Super Bowls I and II with Green Bay); Bruce Bannon (VII and VIII with Miami); Chris Bahr (XIV and XVII with the Raiders); Rich Milot (XVI and XXI with Washington); Matt Bahr (XIII and XXIV with Pittsburgh and the Giants, respectively); and Kareem McKenzie (XLII and XLVI with the Giants).
Positive reviews for recruits
Philip Cmor of the Altoona Mirror spoke with representatives of the various recruiting services, and all seem to agree that PSU came away with a great haul this year. Tom Lemming called the class “one of the best in the country,” and Tom Van Haaren of ESPN said the Lions’ on-field success late in the season seemed to really help in recruiting:
“The whole feeling was completely different from recruits than it was at the beginning of the season. (A Penn State source told me) there was a lot less volatility around signing day. It was harder for other schools to come in and steal recruits. With the season ending so strong, there wasn’t anything else for prospects to look around for.”
The gems of the class are considered to be cornerback Lamont Wade, quarterback Sean Clifford, guard C.J. Thorpe, defensive tackle Fred Hansard, defensive end Yetur Matos, linebacker Ellis Brooks, safety Jonathan Sutherland and cornerbacks Donovan Johnson and Tariq Castro-Fields. But there is plenty of depth, too, and the Lions were able to find recruits in a lot of different places, Scout.com’s Brian Dohn noted:
“What jumps out to me is Penn State’s ability to spread its wings a little bit and recruit outside of Pennsylvania. It was needed in this class, because Pennsylvania wasn’t particularly deep in talent they could get.”
Hockey team’s slide continues
Junior forward Leon Bristedt recorded his first career hat trick as No. 7 Minnesota beat No. 6 Penn State 5-2 on Saturday, completing a sweep of a two-game weekend series.
The Lions (16-6-2), who also lost on Friday night, saw their winless streak extended to five. And Minnesota reasserted itself as the team to beat in the conference. As Bristedt told Nathan Wells of the Twincities.com Pioneer-Press:
“It’s always good when you win. It doesn’t really matter who you win against or what it is, but Penn State is a little special and it feels good that we got the sweep here.”
PSU grabbed leads of 1-0 and 2-1 on Saturday, but the Gophers scored twice after the Lions’ Zach Saar was slapped with a 10-minute misconduct penalty in the second period. Minnesota (17-7-2) never trailed again.
The Lions visit Wisconsin for a two-game set Friday and Saturday, then host the Gophers, Feb. 17-18.