Geno Lewis

Photo/York Daily Record, Chris Dunn

Penn State WR Geno Lewis to transfer to Oklahoma

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Penn State wide receiver Geno Lewis will be catching footballs with some other college football team in the fall. Lewis announced his intention to transfer out of Penn State with a statement released on his Twitter account Monday morning. Lewis announced he will transfer to Oklahoma.

“After a long discussion with my family and coaches, I have decided that it would be in my best interest to transfer from Penn State University to pursue my graduate studies and play football with my last year of eligibility,” Lewis said in his statement. “This was not an easy decision but I feel like it is time to move on to the next chapter of my life.”

Because Lewis will be a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play immediately with any other FBS program in the fall. Lewis was Penn State’s fourth-leading wide receiver in 2015 with 196 yards and three touchdowns. This was just one season after being the team’s second-leading receiver with 751 yards and two touchdowns. As a freshman in 2013, Lewis hauled in 18 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns as well. Lewis saw his production take a back step as young receivers like Chris Godwin, DaeSean Hamilton and Saeed Blacknall emerged for the Nittany Lions. Godwin, a sophomore, was a 1,000-yard receiver this season and Hamilton, also a sophomore, led the team with six touchdown catches. All three leading receivers from 2015 are expected to return for Penn State in 2016.

Lewis was the top-rated recruit in Penn State’s Class of 2012, the first under Bill O’Brien just weeks after being introduced as head coach. Penn State’s Class of 2012 was derailed by the Jerry Sandusky scandal fallout that led to the firing of Joe Paterno. Before Christian Hackenberg and Adam Breneman had a chance to be the leaders and glue of O’Brien’s first full recruiting class, Lewis was seen as the jewel of Penn State’s torched Class of 2012. Lewis was the only four-star recruit in Penn State’s Class of 2012.

UPDATE (12:45 pm): Lewis announced he will be moving to Oklahoma. This is the second time in a few years Penn State lost a transferring wide receiver to Oklahoma. Justin Brown transferred from Penn State to Oklahoma when the NCAA gave a free transfer exemption to Penn State players in 2012 with the sanctions dropped on the program.

Penn State QB makes history in Croke Park Classic

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Not even Kerry Collins, Todd Blackledge or Michael Robinson did what Penn State’s sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg accomplished Saturday in the Croke Park Classic against the UCF Knights.

Hackenberg is the first quarterback in Penn State history to throw for 400 yards or more in a single game as he lead the Nittany Lions to a thrilling 26-24 victory over the Knights in Dublin, Ireland.

The sophomore finished 32-of-47 passing for 454 yards. The performance was highlighted by a game-winning drive. Hackenberg was 4-of-6 passing for 47 yards during the final 1:13 of the contest to set up the winning field goal by senior kicker Sam Ficken.

During the performance, pundits were drooling over the potential which Hackenberg represents. Hackenberg forced a couple of throws which resulted in interceptions, but those poor throws didn’t take away from the fact he was the best player on the field. This was simply a great performance to build upon a resume that may result in Hackenberg becoming the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 or 2017 NFL draft.

And Penn State capitalized on the talent it has behind center.

Once the team couldn’t establish the run early in the game, the onus fell on Hackenberg to carry the team. He was clearly able to do so. The young signal caller was able to evade pressure in the pocket, make throws on the move and manipulate UCF’s secondary to complete a beautiful 79-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Geno Lewis to give the Nittany Lions a 20-10 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Lewis finished with 173 receiving yards. Redshirt freshman DaeSean Hamilton was nearly as good with 11 receptions for 165 yards.

For UCF, head coach George O’Leary waited far too long to make a crucial change at quarterback.

Redshirt freshman Pete DiNovo started the game and struggled mightly. DiNovo was a paltry 3-of-8 passing for 18 yards in the first half. O’Leary then inserted Justin Holman into the lineup during the third quarter, and the sophomore brought instant energy to the lineup. Holman led the Knights to 21 points in the second half with 204 passing yards. He added a pair of touchdowns, one passing and one running. Holman had his team in a position to win with 1:13 remaining, but the Knights’ defense simply couldn’t hold.

Despite the outcome, the two teams learned something equally important about their quarterbacks.

Penn State quickly came to the realization it must rely heavily on Hackenberg this season as the offensive line continues to gel and the running game struggles. UCF, meanwhile, will almost certainly move forward with Holman behind center, and the Knights will be a better team for it.

Penn State’s offense should be far from vanilla as Franklin unleashes the wildcat

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Penn State may have a number of question marks about its team heading into the 2014 season but the one things most seem to agree on without hesitation is the Nittany Lions have no issues under center. Sophomore Christian Hackenberg took some lumps in his freshman season but hit his stride as the year progressed. His season finale performance at Wisconsin offered a mighty glimpse of something special for the next few years in State College. If there is one position nobody is terribly concerned about, it is the quarterback position. That said, new head coach James Franklin should not and apparently will not shy away from trying some new things to mix things up on offense.

Yes, the wildcat will be back in State College this fall if Franklin has anything to say about it (and he does, being the head coach and all).

Speaking at an event Thursday, Franklin was asked about the wildcat and he was prepared to share some details about what could potentially happen. Franklin mentioned receiver Geno Lewis and speedy running back Bill Belton specifically, and for good reason. Lewis has some quarterback experience and Belton offers plenty of speed when healthy and has room to work. The spring game served up some potential plays that could make it to the playbook this fall.

In order for the wildcat to be effective though, Franklin stressed the need to have a threat to pass coming from Lewis or Belton or whomever may be running the offense. Hackenberg will rarely be a threat to run, so having Lewis or Belton give the defense something else to think about will be critical to the success of the wildcat. This is true not just at Penn State, but for any team looking to run the wildcat.

This video of Franklin talking about the wildcat was shared by The Patriot News (PennLive.com);

Bill O’Brien brought some new looks to the Penn State offense each of the last two seasons and really changed the way Penn State’s offense had been operating in a short period of time. He was not afraid to do things that had never or rarely been done at Penn State under former head coach Joe Paterno. When Paterno was fired in the midst of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, defensive coordinator Tom Bradley was named the interim head coach for the remainder of the season. Bradley and the coaching staff wasted little time in trying a few new things as well, and that included the wildcat a little more frequently.

This is not going to drastically change Penn State’s offensive philosophy. The Nittany Lions should still have a dependable running game and a solid passing game with Hackenberg, a tight-end heavy corp and a respectable stable of running backs, but Franklin is known to mix things up a bit. That applies here as well.