Yetur Gross-Matos

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Penn State files to dismiss lawsuit by former player over alleged hazing

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Penn State has officially filed to have a lawsuit submitted by a former player accusing members of the program of ignoring or conducting acts of hazing within the football program. According to a report from The Collegian, the student newspaper at Penn State University, Penn State has filed to have two counts of negligence and one count of negligent infliction of emotional distress tossed by the court.

Former Nittany Lion Isaiah Humphries filed a lawsuit in January accusing Penn State and head coach James Franklin of ignoring hazing by a handful of players on the roster, including defensive tackle Damion Barber. Humphries claimed to be the target of hazing conducted by Barber and NFL-bound Yetur Gross-Matos and linebackers Micah Parsons and Jesse Luketa. According to the lawsuit filed by Humphries, complaints and concerns were given directly to Franklin and other members of the Penn State coaching staff with no further action taken, allegedly.

Humphries transferred from Penn State to California in 2019 after being a part of Penn State’s Class of 2018. He claimed to leave Penn State in part due to the alleged lack of action taken by Franklin after addressing his concerns with the head coach. Multiple players on Penn State’s roster have vehemently denied Humphries’ claims through the use of social media.

Penn State previously stated the claims were investigated by university officials and Penn State police. The Centre County District Attorney’s office decided not to press any charges following a review of the police investigation into the claims.

Jerry Jeudy, AJ Dillon, Eno Benjamin and more set for State Farm All-Star Football Challenge

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It may fly under the radar for most, but the 22nd annual State Farm All-Star Football Challenge is set to take place on Jan. 31 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The skills competition will pit 24 college football stars in a team event. Among those participating in this year’s challenge will be Boston College running back AJ Dillon, Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos, Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray, and Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.

Five teams representing each of the power five conferences will consist of players from those respective conferences: ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC. A sixth team of “wild card” players will be comprised of players from the Group of Five or below. This year’s wild card players will come from the Mountain West Conference (Utah State QB Jordan Love, Boise State DE Curtis Weaver), Conference USA (FAU TE Harrison Bryant) and the South Atlantic Conference of Division 2 (Lenoir-Rhyne S Kyle Dugger).

The individual events included in the competition are a quarterback accuracy contest, obstacle course, strength challenge, and a hands competition. A team event will complete the overall event.

TEAM ACC
Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
AJ Dillon, RB, Boston College
Bryce Perkins, QB, Virginia
Jason Strowbridge, DL, North Carolina

TEAM BIG TEN
Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin
Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
KJ Hamler, WR, Penn State
Nate Stanley, QB, Iowa

TEAM BIG 12
Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU
Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Carter Stanley, QB, Kansas

TEAM PAC-12
Salvon Ahmed, RB, Washington
Bradlee Anae, DE, Utah
Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona State
Anthony Gordon, QB, Washington State

TEAM SEC
Nick Coe, DE, Auburn
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Terrell Lewis, LB, Alabama
Riley Neal, QB, Vanderbilt

TEAM WILD CARD
Harrison Bryant, TE, Florida Atlantic
Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Curtis Weaver, DE, Boise State

Lawsuit by former player accuses James Franklin of ignoring hazing at Penn State

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A former Penn State football player Isaiah Humphries has filed a federal lawsuit that accuses Penn State and head coach James Franklin ignoring hazing taking place within the program. Defensive tackle Damion Barber is also a defendant in the lawsuit.

According to claims made in the lawsuit, Humphries was the target of hazing conducted by Barber and a handful of other Penn State players. Among the players mentioned by name include linebacker defensive lineman Yetur Gross-Matos and linebackers Micah Parsons and Jesse Luketa. Concerns about hazing were allegedly relayed to members of the coaching staff, including directly to Franklin, but no actions were taken to combat any hazing incidents.

Among the alleged acts of hazing included references to former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky with threats of “I am going to Sandusky you” being said to underclassmen within the program. Sandusky was found guilty on 45 counts of child sex abuse in 2012. His sentence of 30 to 60 years is, effectively, a life sentence in prison. Sandusky’s actions and the way it was handled by officials at Penn State led to NCAA sanctions including a four-year postseason bowl ban, the loss of scholarships, and a $60 million fine. The NCAA withdrew the sanctions two years later amid legal pressure.

Humphries transferred to California in 2019 after coming to Penn State in the Class of 2018. Humphries claims he transferred to Cal because of the alleged behavior within the Penn State program and lack of response by Franklin and his staff. The former Penn State player also accuses the coaching staff of pacing him in specific drills the coaches knew Humphries would fail and providing negative reviews to coaches at other schools as Humphries explored his transfer options.

Penn State has responded to the news of the lawsuit with a statement (shared below) claiming police investigated the allegations and the district attorney’s office decided no charges were warranted.

The University has established processes in place for responding to claims of potential misconduct. In accordance with our processes, the Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response and the Office of Student Conduct carried out investigations of the plaintiff’s claims independent from Intercollegiate Athletics. In addition, Penn State police investigated related allegations and forwarded the results of that investigation to the Office of the Centre County District Attorney (DA). The DA reviewed the case and decided that no charges would be pursued

And, for what it is worth, a number of Penn State players, both past and present, have responded to the news via Twitter.

CFT Previews: Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic

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WHO: No. 10 Penn State (10-2) vs. No. 17 Memphis (12-1)
WHAT: The 84th Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
WHEN: December 28th at 12:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX
THE SKINNY: Penn State and Memphis will clash for the first time in the Cotton Bowl Classic in the home of the Dallas Cowboys Saturday afternoon. James Franklin is leading Penn State into his third New Year’s Six bowl game in four seasons and is looking to even his bowl record at Penn State. His opponent is the Group of Five representative this season, the American Athletic Conference champion.

Memphis will be playing its first game under new head coach Ryan Silverfield. Silverfield was given the permanent job of head coach shortly after Mike Norvell left the program to take the head coaching job at Florida State after coaching the Tigers to the AAC championship. Despite the coaching change, don’t expect Memphis to change things up now the way this offense has been rolling. With Brady White at quarterback (3,560 yards, 33 touchdowns, 9 interceptions), a pair of scoring weapons at wide receiver in Damonte Coxie (1,144 yards, 9 touchdowns) and Antonio Gibson (636 yards, 8 touchdowns) and breakout freshman running back Kenneth Gainwell (1,425 yards, 12 touchdowns), the AAC champions have the right mix of players to give Penn State’s defense some trouble. Expect Memphis to try emulating the success Minnesota and Indiana had early against the Nittany Lions with long touchdown drives early in the game.

Penn State’s defense will be the best Memphis has seen this season though, especially up front. Micah Parsons, the Big Ten Linebacker of the Year and a first-team All-American, anchors the defense, and Yetur Gross-Matos and Shaka Toney lead the push along the line. If they do get off to a tough start, they will eventually get in a groove and take control of things just as they have done all season long.

Penn State’s offense has gone through some highs and lows this season, but the running game should be a strength. Journey Brown has emerged as the leading back, and Noah Cain could get back in the mix. But Penn State will need quarterback Sean Clifford to get in a rhythm as he returns to the field for the Nittany Lions for the first time since leaving the Ohio State game in the third quarter. Having reliable tight end Pat Freiermuth and speedy receiver KJ Hamler as options certainly helps and could be the difference in the game.

This Cotton Bowl has a chance to be sneaky-good, with Penn State and Memphis playing a close one going into the fourth quarter. But Penn State’s defense will find ways to make some key stops and allow the Nittany Lions to claw their way to a second New Year’s Six bowl victory in three seasons.

THE LINE: Memphis, +7
THE PICK:
Penn State 34, Memphis 20