If Justin Shorter is to fulfill his impressive recruiting pedigree, he’ll do it somewhere other than Happy Valley. Probably.
Tuesday afternoon, multiple media outlets reported that Shorter has decided to place his name into the NCAA transfer database. A short time later, head coach James Franklin indicated that he had held conversations with the wide receiver, but remains unsure of his status with the football program moving forward.
“Literally we’re just having a conversation and walking out when I came here,” the head coach said. “I’m not sure where we’re at. Obviously, it was a conversation that was had. It was a conversation that was had.”
As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school.
A five-star member of the Nittany Lions’ 2018 recruiting class, Shorter was rated as the No. 1 receiver in the country; the No. 1 player at any position in the state of New Jersey; and the No. 8 recruit overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. Only defensive end Micah Parsons was rated higher than Shorter in Franklin’s class that year.
Limited to four games as a true freshman in large part because of injuries, Shorter caught three passes for 20 yards in 2018. Through 11 games this season, Shorter had caught 12 passes for 137 yards.
If Maryland was ready to make a statement tonight against No. 12 Penn State, this isn’t the statement they wanted to make. The Nittany Lions have been in full control of the game from the start and lead Maryland 38-0 at halftime in College Park.
Penn State’s defense has been dominant by holding the home team to fewer than 100 yards and forcing a pair of turnovers. Penn State has intercepted Maryland quarterback Josh Jackson twice, including one near the endzone on Maryland’s most promising offensive series of the first half. The defense came up with a big play on the game’s opening possession when Jan Johnson intercepted Jackson on the fifth play of the game. The return took the ball to the Maryland 44-yard line and a pair of penalties on Maryland moved the ball all the way to the nine-yard line. Sean Clifford kept the ball himself and ran up the middle for a touchdown on the first play after the turnover, and it was off to the races for Penn State.
Penn State scored touchdowns on their first four possessions of the game, and five of their six first-half possessions. Clifford completed passes to KJ Hamler for 58 yards and Journey Brown for 37 yards and touchdowns where the receiver racked up yards after the catch. Ricky Slade and Nick Bowers have also scored for Penn State.
The first half also saw a player from each team ejected for targeting. Penn State’s Micah Parsons was tossed in the first quarter for a hit on Jackson. Maryland’s Deon Jones was ejected in the second quarter for a hit on Penn State receiver Justin Shorter. Both players will be eligible to return to their teams in their next game.
Maryland has also had some injury issues. Offensive lineman Marcus Minor was helped off the field to the locker room, and Lorenzo Harrison had to go into the medical tent in the first half.
Because the rules require it, there will be 30 more minutes of football played in College Park tonight.