Dominate the state. That is the motto new Penn State head coach James Franklin has been selling since his first press conference in Happy Valley. After putting together a solid Class of 2014 in his short time at Penn State, Franklin and his coaching staff have already lined up five of the top 15 players from the state of Pennsylvania for the Class of 2015, highlighted Thursday with the verbal commitment of running back Andre Robinson, from a Bishop McDevitt High school program in Harrisburg that has traditionally been rich in talent that goes away from Penn State. Whatever Franklin and his staff are doing at Penn State seems to be working.
Franklin and his staff have already been breathing new life in to a program still in recovery mode. The staff has embraced social media and is reaching out to fans and delivering a unified message. The coaches are also getting involved in their new surroundings. Just last weekend coaches checked out the record-breaking THON dance marathon on Penn State’s campus. For a football program that for years was stuck in old-fashioned methods, Franklin and his staff are embracing it and utilizing them to their advantage.
For decades now, Penn State has been considered a bit of a sleeping giant. Instead of the powerhouse that was expected to compete for Big Ten titles on an annual basis, the Nittany Lions have won just three Big Ten titles since joining the conference in 1993. The scandal that rocked the university and community in November 2011 may have helped derail a bid for a fourth conference title, and the fallout was expected to be much more severe.
Penn State was supposed to be a program leveled by NCAA sanctions in 2012, but Bill O’Brien managed to keep the program afloat, and Franklin appears set to have the program competing at a high level when an NCAA postseason ban is lifted in two more seasons, if not before. Franklin is aided by the NCAA giving back some lost scholarships, and the new head coach is capitalizing on that. With two years remaining on the postseason ban, Franklin is guiding the program to the end of the tunnel. While the university could take longer to regroup, and the healing process as a whole will continue on, as far as football is concerned it looks as though Franklin is in a good position to do some damage.
Penn State is not quite awake from sleeping giant status yet, but the alarm is about to go off.
Art Briles may be out as Baylor’s head football coach, but he still has some influence over at least one member of his last recruiting class.
Over the weekend, Kam Martin announced via Twitter that he had committed to play his college football for Gus Malzahn at Auburn. The running back chose Auburn over another contender in TCU.
Malzahn and Briles are good friends who, prior to Briles’ dismissal in the wake of the sexual assault scandal in the football program, brainstormed together this offseason. When Martin received a release from his BU National Letter of Intent, he turned to Briles for advice, with his former coach advising him that Auburn would be “a great fit.”
“He helped me — I still have a great relationship with him,” Martin told 247Sports.com. “He just told me Auburn is a great fit for me with Coach Gus Malzahn and his coaching staff. He said if I was going to Baylor and he was there, it would be the same type of vibe (as at Auburn). He told me Coach Gus would take care of me. He said with him, it’s about the player, about the university.
“And shoot, he’s an offensive guru.”
A four-star 2016 prospect, Martin will be eligible to play for said guru’s squad this coming season.
Fortunately for one member of Notre Dame’s football team, the news on his health isn’t as dire as it once seemed.
Over the weekend, one of Parker Boudreaux‘s Irish teammates tweeted that the offensive lineman needed prayers as he had been hospitalized with a serious brain infection. While the hospitalization part was accurate, it appears the diagnosis was, thankfully, far off-base.
Shortly after those social media missives started making the rounds, a school spokesperson confirmed to the South Bend Tribune that Boudreaux is indeed hospitalized but “is in stable condition and resting comfortably.”
Boudreaux himself took to social media Sunday to somewhat address the developments…
… while also taking to social media late Monday night to offer up a bit more of an encouraging update.
What is specifically ailing Boudreaux has not been confirmed, although the lineman retweeted a tweet which stated that “Boudreaux had been admitted to a South Bend hospital with what is thought to be meningitis.” Fortunately, it appears the meningitis is of the viral variety rather than bacterial, which is ofttimes fatal.
It’s expected that Boudreaux will remain hospitalized through at least the mid-part of this week before being released. What this may or may not do for his availability for at least the start of summer camp in early August is unknown.
A three-star member of the Irish’s 2016 recruiting class, Boudreaux was rated as the No. 18 guard in the country.
The injury-plagued career of a member of South Carolina’s secondary has officially come to an end.
USC officials confirmed to The State that Ali Groves will not return to the Gamecocks football team. The defensive back has taken a medical hardship waiver, making him ineligible to suit up again for the Gamecocks.
The Georgia native will, though, remain on scholarship. He’s expected to graduate later this year with a degree in business administration.
A three-star member of USC’s 2013 recruiting class, Groves was rated as the No. 47 safety in the country. Groves sustained a right shoulder injury his true freshman season, with the injury lingering over the next couple of seasons as well.
This past spring, Groves, who didn’t play a down for the Gamecocks, was moved from cornerback to safety. Twice in his career, Groves was named to the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll.
Baylor’s recruiting loss will turn into another football program’s gain. Again.
On his Twitter account Monday, 2017 quarterback prospect Kellen Mond announced that he has decided to verbally commit to play his college football at Texas A&M. Mond had been considered the crown jewel of Baylor’s 2017 recruiting class after committing to the Bears in the summer of 2015, but opted to decommit less than a week after Art Briles was dismissed as BU’s head football coach.
Shortly after decommitting from Baylor, Mond announced a new Top 3: Auburn, Ohio State and A&M. Those schools were listed in his order of preference at that moment, although the Aggies were, obviously, able to make up ground on the other two.
Mond visited College Station earlier this month, and, coupled with the Buckeyes landing a verbal from five-star quarterback Tate Martell — a former A&M commit, incidentally — had seemingly pared his choices down to the Tigers and Aggies. According to his tweeted announcement, A&M’s “tradition of excellence,” along with the coaching staff, led him to his latest commitment.
Mond, a Texas native who is playing his senior season at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., is rated as a four-star prospect on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. That recruiting website rates him as the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback in the country and the No. 103 player overall.