Almost as soon as Tommy Stevens entered his name in the NCAA transfer portal, many assumed a reunion between the now former Penn State quarterback and ex-Nittany Lions offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead was a strong possibility.
Now we have confirmation: Stevens is indeed headed to Mississippi State as a grad transfer with one final year of eligibility in 2019.
The comfort factor that Stevens has with Moorhead, now the head coach of the Bulldogs, from their time together in Happy Valley no doubt played a big role in landing in Starkville. The senior was expected to take over for Trace McSorley as the starter at PSU but the multi-purpose threat will now aim to replace Nick Fitzgerald.
Stevens, who also saw some time at receiver due to this athleticism, had 118 yards and two touchdowns rushing last season while throwing for a touchdown and an interception as the Nittany Lions top backup under center. He also took visits to Kentucky, Illinois and Miami (Ohio) before ultimately deciding on MSU.
The move sets up a rather interesting quarterback competition for Moorhead this fall with Stevens and, primarily, Keytaon Thompson. The latter has by far the most experience of anybody on the roster, playing in 16 games with the Bulldogs while throwing for eight touchdowns against three interceptions. Both players are of the dual-threat variety and will also try to fend off freshman Jalen Mayden and Garrett Shrader for the starting gig in August.
If the NCAA finally starts allowing its players to profit off their images and names and likenesses and the like, there is one conference that is decidedly positioned to, with fistfuls of $100 bills, wipe away any tears of angst that may flow over the erosion of what’s become an archaic amateurism model.
According to Steve Berkowitz of USA Today, and citing federal tax returns provided by the conference, the Big Ten recorded nearly $760 million in revenue for the 2018 fiscal year. That financial haul is a record for any conference, trumping the $512 million for the 2017 fiscal year; the $54 million paid out on average to each of the league’s 14 member institutions — two schools, Maryland and Rutgers, have borrowed against future earnings — sets a standard for the rest of the country as well.
That $54 million per school is just over $2 million more than had been projected in the summer of 2018.
For comparison’s sake, the 14-team SEC, the second-most financially successful Power Five conference, announced in February of this year revenues of just over $627 million for the same fiscal year, with an average per-school payout of $43.1 million.
In May of this year, the Big 12 announced $374 million in revenue that would be distributed amongst its 10 members. For the 2016-17 fiscal year, ACC members received between $25.3 million and $30.7 million and Pac-12 schools received $30.9 million.
With the launch of its own network this August, the ACC is expecting to see its per-school revenue increase for the 2019 fiscal year; how much remains to be seen, although it’s expected to be enough to put the Pac-12 squarely in the Power Five revenue cellar.
One of the many Penn State players to enter the transfer portal this offseason has found his new home, and it will actually be closer to his real home. Brandon Polk, a native of Virginia will be returning to his home state for his final year of eligibility. With a brief message on Twitter and Instagram, Polk announced he will play this upcoming season for FCS powerhouse James Madison.
Polk will be eligible to play immediately this fall for the Dukes as a graduate transfer (and normal NCAA transfer rules would allow an FBS player transferring to an FCS school to be eligible right away anyway).
Polk played in 11 games for the Nittany Lions last season and caught nine passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns. Polk is one of two graduate transfers leaving Penn State this offseason via transfer, joining Juwan Johnson (Oregon) in looking to finish off their college careers in a different uniform.
It’s Mother’s Day, which is a great day to honor your mother in any way you possibly can. It’s also another reason to have some talented social media members on your staff if you are a college football program. Because if you are not taking a day like this to show off your brand, what are you even doing?
All kidding aside, where we would we be without the moms of the college football world? Every player and coach has a mom after all, and every one of those coaches and players has a different relationship with their mothers. On a day like this, it is important to remember just how strong those mothers have been for so many over the years, and sharing that appreciation with the masses is a nice gesture to demonstrate that for the world.
Here is just a sampling of the Mother’s Day content being shared today on Twitter by some of the college football programs out there.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, and those who have taken on the role of a mom for anyone out there. I know my mom is unlikely to be reading this particular post, but thanks for everything mom!
Penn State head coach James Franklin is no stranger to hearing his name thrown about for a number of various coaching rumors. Despite saying he is comfortable in his current position with the Nittany Lions, Franklin remains a coach he gets his name thrown through the wringer when it comes to figuring out potential candidates for open jobs at other college football programs and in the NFL. This week, in a radio interview in Philadelphia, Franklin once again had to tell a radio host in an NFL city that he is comfortable where he is at Penn State.
“I’ve kind of been through that when I took the Penn State job,” Franklin said to 94 WIP morning show host Angelo Cataldi this week (as transcribed by PennLive.com). “I had four or five interviews in the NFL, one or two that I took, and three or so that I turned down once I took the Penn State job.”
Franklin was on the show to discuss a handful of Penn State players that have been added to the roster of the Philadelphia Eagles. A question about a possible NFL future was sure to pop up though.
“This is an unbelievable situation for me and my family.”
Franklin was hired by Penn State after the program lost its last head coach to a job in the NFL. Bill O’Brien left Penn State after two seasons to coach the Houston Texans. O’Brien had never shied away from suggesting that coaching in the NFL was the highest rung on the coaching ladder and it was expected O’Brien would be somewhat likely to leave for the NFL if the right opportunity came his way. Sure enough, it did and Penn State went looking for a head coach to replace him. That ended up being Franklin, who also has some experience in the NFL.
It is worth a general reminder that college football coaches will tend to say things that suggest they are in a stable position and have no interest in leaving their current position. Any inkling there could be thought about leaving for another job would ultimately harm recruiting efforts, so coaches almost have to say they are happy where they currently sit. But it’s also worth noting Franklin is well-paid at Penn State and there may not be too many jobs he would leave the program to take on.