Penn State head coach James Franklin has a busy schedule this month. As if a 17-stop bus tour with a handful of other Penn State coaches and his own assistant coaches was not enough, Franklin will give a commencement speech at his alma mater this weekend.
Franklin, a former quarterback at Division 2 East Stroudsburg University, will be back on his old stomping grounds on Saturday to address the school’s Class of 2014.
“I’m hoping to grab their attention and say a few things that they’ll remember,” Franklin said to The Pocono Record. “I don’t want be one of those guys who stands up there talking who no one’s paying attention to. I’m going to talk to them from the heart and be very open and honest with them. Maybe give them a few things that have been important to me since I’ve left East Stroudsburg and also let everybody know how appreciative I am of what East Stroudsburg has done for me.”
Franklin has referenced East Stroudsburg a number of times since being named the head coach of Penn State earlier this season. The Pennsylvania native seems to take great pride in his roots and has been supportive of ESU in recent months since returning a bit closer to home. The opportunity to address the students at his alma mater was not something Franklin was going to pass on.
“I really wanted to share some things that I’ve learned in my 19 years since I graduated from East Stroudsburg and especially some things I wish I would’ve known in the five years after graduating that I’ve been able to figure out over the rest of the time,” Franklin said.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah