Penn State’s Joey Julius hailed for seeking help, James Franklin talks junior days and more
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This is your Penn State Wake-Up Call for Tuesday, May 16. Let’s get started.
‘Groundbreaking’ move by Joey Julius
Former Penn State wide receiver Matt Zanellato told Bleacher Report that Nittany Lions kicker Joey Julius made a “groundbreaking” decision when he sought help this spring for his binge-eating disorder.
Julius, previously treated for his disorder last spring at the McCallum Place in St. Louis, made his announcement on Facebook in early May. He returned to the same facility, which resulted in him missing much of spring practice.
In taking this action, Julius left an impression on professionals such as Mark Aoyagi, director of sport and performance psychology at the University of Denver and a member of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology.
As Aoyagi told Bleacher Report:
“This takes a tremendous amount of courage, to do something like this, especially in the football community. Toughness is valued. The courage and vulnerability to do what he is doing is really remarkable.”
Zanellato was close to Julius when he played for the Nittany Lions but unaware of his struggles:
“Of all the guys he would have confided in on our team, it probably would’ve been me. Even I had no idea. I thought about the times we went out to dinner and ate a bunch of food together. I took him out for his 21st birthday and thought back to eating late-night food. I felt horrible. I just wish I could have helped.”
Now Julius is helping himself once more. It’s an enormous step, sports psychologist Ron Thompson told BR:
“I think sometimes people think that those with mental health or an eating disorder are weak. A weak person wouldn’t be able to do what he’s done. These are very strong people.”
The value of junior days
Penn State will hold the second of its three junior days this weekend, writes Mark Brennan of Fight on State, a recruiting event that allows several high school players — and not just juniors — to make unofficial visits.
These events are valuable, coach James Franklin said during the coaches caravan last week, because staff members and recruits have greater access to one another than they would during a typical game weekend. Per Brennan, Franklin compared a junior day to the weekend of the Blue-White Game:
“The spring game is more about the environment, to be honest with you. We get very little contact with [prospects] because you’re so busy. … Very easily, you have 150 recruits show up to a football game — and their parents, as well. And you’re trying to make sure all of those people have a good experience and get some interaction. Just the numbers make it really challenging.”
Brennan writes that 20 to 50 recruits typically show up for junior days. That number was right at 50 last year for the Lasch Bash, a barbecue at the team’s headquarters. This year that event is scheduled for July 15.
Christian Hackenberg takes aim at Jets job
Former Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg did not take a regular-season snap as a rookie with the New York Jets last season. This year, however, he finds himself part of a three-way battle for the starting job with holdover Bryce Petty and newly acquired veteran Josh McCown.
Hackenberg told Newsday he believes he is ready for the responsibility:
“Without a doubt, I think there’s a different level of confidence. But I think that also goes back to [being in] Year 2. You’re more comfortable in the situation, more comfortable with the guys in the locker room, in the huddle. Having the ability to throw with some guys and have a feel for them. I think just that natural growth from a — I wouldn’t even say confidence — but comfortability standpoint walking in there and doing things.”
There was some speculation that the Jets, picking sixth in the recent NFL draft, would select a quarterback. Instead, they nabbed LSU safety Jamal Adams in the first round. The Jets did not use any of their nine selections on a QB.
As Hackenberg said:
“I think they have a plan, and the people upstairs, they have a game plan going into the draft and things they want to get done. Whether that’s a sign of confidence or not, I’ve got to hold up my end, and I’ve got to continue to get better.”
Bullish on Ryan Bates
SEC Network sideline analyst Cole Cubelic praised Penn State offensive tackle Ryan Bates on Twitter, retweeting one video clip and tweeting two others that in Cubelic’s mind fully display Bates’ talents. Cubelic particularly is impressed with Bates’ “elite hands.”
I love this Penn State LT more and more every time I watch him..
Ryan Bates – Freshman All-American pic.twitter.com/poa0r2AO8Q
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) May 3, 2017
Nice chop by Penn State tackle Ryan Bates. Loses inside leverage initially but finds a way to win the rep. pic.twitter.com/XFIXQeCbyO
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) May 12, 2017
Going to start calling Penn State tackle Ryan Bates the Karate Kid. Another nasty chop. Watch DL head drop immediately after. Elite hands! pic.twitter.com/CjblC8rvKT
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) May 16, 2017