Penn State recalibrates after losing Justin Fields, 21 athletes set for NCAAs and more
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This is your Penn State Wake-Up Call for Wednesday, June 7. Let’s get started.
James Franklin unbowed by loss of Justin Fields
As noted by PennLive.com’s Greg Pickel, the reaction of Penn State coach James Franklin to the de-commitment Tuesday of 5-star quarterback Justin Fields was not long in coming.
It was delivered, in fact, via Twitter:
I love our staff, players, commits & community! I believe in Penn State, our past, our present & our FUTURE! pic.twitter.com/zlE0QmXHbW
— James Franklin (@coachjfranklin) June 7, 2017
That’s right. He played the Gandhi card.
Be that as it may, Pickel offered some options to fill the breach left by Fields’ loss from the 2018 recruiting class. Or, at least, apparent loss; Fields has not ruled out Penn State entirely, though Pickel notes it is rare for a player to commit again to a school he spurns.
The first possibility is Quincy Patterson II, a 3-star QB from Chicago’s Solorio Academy. The Lions offered him, Pickel writes, but he ultimately committed to Virginia Tech.
Patterson told PennLive the following about Penn State last summer:
“The offer was something really special considering where I came from and how good they are at what they do. I really like Penn State. The campus is beautiful, the coaches are great, it’s not too far from home and the area is very comforting.”
Then there is Phil Jurkovec, a 4-star prospect from Pine-Richland High School in Western Pennsylvania who is solid in his commitment to Notre Dame, according to Pickel.
Also on the radar are Devin Leary, a 4-star quarterback from New Jersey, and Kevin Doyle, a 3-star recruit from Washington, D.C. Leary is committed to North Carolina State, Pickel writes, and Doyle, a pro-style quarterback, is likely a poor fit for Penn State’s offense.
The Lions faced a comparable situation three years ago, when quarterback Brandon Wimbush flipped to Notre Dame. While Wimbush looms as the likely starter for the Fighting Irish this fall, Penn State’s Plan B was to poach Tommy Stevens from Indiana.
Stevens is now a trusted backup to Trace McSorley, and he could start in 2019, should he remain at Penn State for his final season.
21 set for NCAAs
According to a university news release, 21 Penn State athletes will compete at the NCAA Track & Field Championships beginning Wednesday in Eugene, Ore.
That breaks down to 13 men in nine events, and eight women in eight events.
Three of the competitors also took part in the Indoor Championships in March, in College Station, Texas – Isaiah Harris, Danielle Gibson and Tessa Barrett.
Harris finished fourth in the 800 meters, with a time of 1:47.94. Gibson was eighth in the triple jump (45-1.75), while Barrett was fifth in the 5,000 meters (15:42.29).
Travis Wittlake earns Cadet victory
Roar Lions Roar reports Penn State wrestling commit Travis Wittlake repeated as the 76kg champion at the Cadet World Team Trials last weekend in Akron, Ohio, and will compete at the Cadet World Championships, scheduled for September in Athens, Greece.
Wittlake, from Coos Bay, Ore., is expected to compete at 184 or 197 pounds for the Lions.