Penn State

Beat writer Donnie Collins keeps you posted with in-depth analysis and commentary

Duda: Whigan, Brisker going to be “very, very good” at PSU

Duda: Whigan, Brisker going to be “very, very good” at PSU

Rob Ambrose is the first coach to find Anthony Whigan.

The longtime leader of the football program at Towson State, Ambrose found the tall, athletic offensive lineman from Great Mills, Maryland, controlling defensive linemen with relative ease and displaying the promise he figured could blossom into success at Towson. So, he offered Whigan a scholarship to play football there, and Whigan accepted it.

Only one problem: Whigan didn’t qualify academically.

So, Ambrose did what he so often does when a player he’d like to have needs a little more time after high school. He sent him to Mark Duda.

Whigan arrived at Lackawanna College the same way a lot of college football hopefuls do, and go figure, he’ll end up leaving the way Ambrose figured he would.

“The thing was, he said to me, “There’s no way we’re going to get him back,” Duda, Lackawanna’s legendary head coach, said. “Once you guys get him, he’s going to become a major player in this country.”

And no, Whigan won’t be heading back to Towson.

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Rosters released for 2018 Blue-White Game

Rosters released for 2018 Blue-White Game

It’s the game that doesn’t matter, played mostly by walk-ons and third stringers, until the coaches decide they don’t want to play anymore.

But man, do a lot of people care about Penn State’s spring scrimmage.

The Blue-White Game will kick off at 3 p.m. on Saturday at Beaver Stadium, and if you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of Penn State’s biggest football stars before summer practice starts in August….well, you probably won’t see much of them. But it will be a good opportunity to get a look at Tommy Stevens under center, and the main contenders to replace Saquon Barkley at tailback, and how the defensive line and linebacker spots could respond to some offseason upheaval.

And, hey…Micah Parsons!

The game will air live on the Big Ten Network, but if you’re going take advantage of a rare strong weather forecast and head to Centre County, here’s a look which team will be featuring which players:

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Hundreds of lettermen release statement on “Paterno” film

Hundreds of lettermen release statement on “Paterno” film

Oscar-winning actor Al Pacino portrayed the legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in HBO’s “Paterno,” which debuted Saturday night. PHOTO BY ATSUSHI NISHIJIMA/HBO, via ASSOCIATED PRESS

Two days after the movie debuted on HBO, nearly 300 former Penn State players and coaches released a joint statement Monday, criticizing the network’s portrayal of Joe Paterno’s last days as the Nittany Lions’ head football coach in the film “Paterno” as “an uninformed depiction” that “fails in every manner about the man we knew and loved.”

Former lettermen Brian Masella (1975) and Christian Marrone (1997) sent the statement signed by hundreds of players and coaches criticizing the film, which starred Al Pacino as the legendary Nittany Lions coach struggling personally with the child sexual abuse allegations that led to a litany of charges against former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky in November 2011. Among the signees are Jessup’s Ray Alberigi (1957), former Valley View star J.R. Refice (2013) and West Scranton offensive lineman Eric Shrive (2013)

The letter reads:

As Penn State Lettermen, there was never a question that one day we would see a movie made about Joe Paterno, one that showcased his impact on the game of football, on Penn State University and, on the thousands of men he coached and mentored over his 61-year career. Sadly — and wrongly — HBO’s ‘Paterno’ is not that movie. It has been described by producer Barry Levinson as a work of fiction, which is likely the only truth in the entire project. Incredibly, in making the movie, Levinson and his team never consulted a single person who was close to, worked with, or was coached by Joe Paterno. Not even family members or us, who undoubtedly knew him best of all. As a result, this uninformed depiction of Joe fails in every manner about the man we knew and loved. Deviously using ‘fiction’ as his shield, Levinson takes shameless liberties about the Sandusky scandal and Joe’s knowledge of it that would certainly be proven libelous if Joe were alive today. As a coach, educator and philanthropist, Joe Paterno was a positive force in our lives, molding us not only to win games, but to win in life. His character, integrity, and moral compass will live on in us long after the ill-gotten ratings of this reckless attempt at entertainment fades away.
Ronald Adams  ’65,  Frank  Ahrenhold  ’72,  Tyler  Ahrenhold  ’11,  Ray  Alberigi  ’57,  Russell  Albert  ’70,
Dave  Alexander  ’61,  Jesse  Alfreno  ’10,  Kurt  Allerman  ’77,  Dick  Anderson,  Player / Coach,  ’63,
John  Andress  ’77,  Kenny  Andrews  ’73,  Mike  Archie  ’96,  Mark  Arcidiacono  ’13,  Michael  Arnold  ’83,
Drew  Astorino  ’11,  Ferris  Atty  ’71,  Bruce  Bannon  ’73,  Michael  Barninger  ’95,  Jack  Baronas  ’75,
Bob  Bassett  ’79,  Bob  Belus  ’60,  Lou  Benfatti  ’93,  Jeff  Bergstrom  ’82,  Tom  Bill  ’90,  Dan  Biondi  ’83,
Jason  Bisson  ’00,  David  Bland  ’74,  Jeff H.  Bleamer  ’75,  Mike  Blosser  ’02,  Mark  Bonson  ’88,
Scott  Bouslough  ’84, ,  John  Bove, Coach,- ’79+,  Kirk  Bowman  ’84,  Dr. Tom  Bradley  ’75,  Tim  Bronish  ’86,
John Bronson ’04, Booker Brooks, Coach,‘72+, Richard M Brown  ’73, Brian Brozeski ’01, Dave Brzenchek  ’90,
Chuck Burkhart ’70, Jeff Butya ’81, Rick Campbell ’82, Bob Campbell 70, Gino Capone ’03, Rich Caravella ’76,
Don  Carlino Staff  ’85,  Joseph   Carlozo  ’74,  Glenn  Carson  ’13,  Ki-Jana  Carter  ’95,  Rashard  Casey  ’01,
Robert  Ceh  ’93,  Alex  Chiara  ’64,  Peter  Cimino  ’60,  Craig  Cirbus, Coach ’84-’95,  Bruce  Clark  ’80,
Dave   Clark   ’87,  Anthony  Cleary  ’06,  Brennan  Coakley  ’09,  Ron  Coder  ’76,  F. Len  Consalvo  ’72,
Brett  Conway  ’97,  Chuck  Correal  ’78,  Tom  Couch  ’85,  Troy  Cromwell  ’87,  Bill  Crummy  ’70’s,
Wayne  Cunningham  ’71,  Peter  Curkendall  ’80’s,  Andrew   Dailey   ’10,  Rick  D’Amico  ’82,  Scott  Davis  ’04,
Steven   Davis  ’73,  Gary W.  Debes  ’74,  Steven  Delich  ’03,  Alan  Delmonaco  ’69,  Fred R.  Demler  ’76,
Ken  Deutsch  ’74,  Chris  Devlin  ’75,  Joe  Diange  ’78,  Tom F.  Donchez  ’74,  Troy  Drayton  ’93,
Michael  Dunlay  ’83,  Thomas  Durant  ’87,  Gary  Eberle  ’67,  John  Ebersole  ’70,  Emery  Etter  ’12,
Ron  Etter  ’75,  Eric  Etze  ’88,  Morris  Fansler  ’73,  Gerry  Farkas  ’62,  Craig  Fiedler  ’89,  Scott  Fitzkee  ’79,
Matt Fornadel  ’97, Derek  Fox  ’00, Tim  Freeman  ’80’s, Mike  Fuhrman ’83, Paul  Gabel  ’73, Ed  Gabriel  ’67,
Fran  Ganter  ’71, Tony  Gebicki  ’65, Doneal  Gersh  ’72, Reggie  Givens  ’94,  Gene Gladys ’80, Scott Gob  ’89,
Greg Golanoski ’85, Tony Gordon ’78, James Graham ’60, Gary Gray ’72, Ryan Grube  ’94,  Mike  Guman  ’80,
Nick  Haden  ’84,  Eric  Hamilton  ’86,  Lance  Hamilton  ’86,  Shelly  Hammonds  ’93,  Brian  Hand  ’80,
Darien Hardy ’08, Franco Harris  ’72, Bob Harrison ’62, Warren Hartenstine ’67, Greg Hay ’87, Stu Helgeson ’88,
Jim  Heller ’73, Mike Heller ’92, Ron Heller ’84, Scott Hettinger ’80,  Ron Hileman  ’70’s,  Joseph  Hines  ’84,
Bob Holuba ’71, Tim Horst  ’69,  Ron Hostetler ’77, Joshua Hull ’10, Leonard Humphries ’92, Neil  Hutton ’77,
John  Ibex  ’67,  Jason  Ingram  ’97,  Justin  Ingram  ’02,  Joe  Iorio  ’03,  Michael  Irwin  ’67,  Joe  Johns  ’86,
Bryant  Johnson  ’03,  Pete  Johnson  ’70,  Greg  Jones  ’80,  Jim  Kanuch  ’06,  Mark  Kareha  ’11,
Keith  Karpinski  ’89,  Ken  Kelley  ’82,  Rodney  Kinlaw  ’07,  Tim   Kissell   ’77,  Robert  Kline  ’61,
Douglas Klopacz ’10, Gary Klossner ’72, Ed Kmit ’66, Bob Knechtel ’72, Matt Knizner ’82, Bruce Kordic ‘72,
Chuck  Koval  ’55,  Matt  Kranchick  ’03,  Chad  Kroell  ’99,  John  Kulka  ’69,  Christian  Kuntz  ’13,
Justin  Kurpeikis  ’00,  Rich  Kuzy  ’88,  Michael   Lagrossi  ’90,  Ron  LaPointe  ’79,  Philip F.  LaPorta  ’75,
John R.  Lewchenko  ’73,  Chad  Linnon  ’98,  Linc Lincoln Lippincott  ’69,  Jim  Litterelle  ’67,  Mike  Lucian  ’08,
Larry J.  Ludwig  ’74,  Mike  Lukac  ’03,  Kenneth  Lupold Jr  ’93,  Kevin  Lyden  ’78,  Daniel  Maddigan  ’60,
Thomas  Mairs  ’65,  Mike  Malinoski  ’93,  Massimo Manca  ’87,  Russ   Manney  ’00,  Mark J.  Markovich  ’74,
Nick Marmo  ’04, Christian Marrone  ’97, Kenneth  Martz  ’80, Carmen Masciantonio  ’80’s, Brian Masella ’75,
J. D.   Mason  ’12,  Rich  Mauti  ’77,  Michael  McBath  ’68,  Brian  McCann  ’82,  Jay  McCormick  ’80,
OJ  McDuffie  ’92,  Tom  McGrath  ’68,  Shawn  McNamara  ’83,  Dave  McNaughton  ’66,  Mike  Meade  ’82,
Dr. Allen Meyer,  Staff   ’69,  Rob  Mikulski  ’86,  Jeremy  Miller  ’01,  Joshua  Mitchell  ’01,  Scott   Mitchell  ’74,
Ed  Monaghan  ’89,  Anthony  Morelli  ’08,  Dan  Morgan  ’86,  Robert  Mrosko  ’88,  Thomas  Mulraney  ’60,
Grego.  Murphy  ’75,  Joe  Navin  ’79,  John  Nessel  ’75,  Richard   Nichols  ’75,  Gregg  Norton  ’92,
Thomas  Odell  ’76,  Brian  O’Neal  ’93,  Michael A. Orsini M.D.  ’74,  Chet  Parlavecchio  ’82,
Michael  Pawlikowski  ’05,  Woody  Petchel, Jr.  ’76,  Gary  Petercuskie  ’78,  Andrew  Pitz  ’09,
Aoatoa  Polamalu  ’89,  Ryan  Primanti  ’01,  Ed  Pryts  ’82,  John R.  Quinn  ’76,  Carlos  Quirch  ’79,
Dave  Radakovich  ’70,  Scott  Radecic  ’84,  Tom  Rafferty  ’76,  Frederic  Ragucci  ’79,  Terry  Rakowski  ’82,
Joel  Ramich  ’71,  Eric  Ravotti  ’94,  Curt  Reese  ’05,  J.R.  Refice  ’13,  John M.  Reihner  ’75,  Bill  Rettig  ’63,
Kip Richeal, Staff ’83, James E. Rosecrans  ’75, Patrick  Rosenella ’05, Buddy Rowell ’55, Dwayne Rush ’87,
Michael  Russo  ’88,  George  Salvaterra, Staff ’87-’12,  Dr. Theodore Sam  ’60,  George  SanFilippo  ’71,
Matt  Schmitt  ’02,  Rich  Schonewolf  ’90,  Steve  Schreckengaust  ’66,  Bryan Scott  ’02,  James  Scott  ’55,
James  Scourtis  ’91,  Bob   Scrabis   ’59,  Ted  Sebastianelli  ’69,  Robert  Seitz, Staff   ’83,  Gary  Shaffer  ’69,
TIm   Shaw   ’06,  Tom   Sherman   ’68,  Tom L.  Shoemaker  ’73,  Brandon  Short  ’99,  Eric  Shrive  ’13,
Earl   Shumaker   ’56,  Tom  Shuman  ’75,  Brian   Silverling   ’86,  David  Simon   ’53,  John  Skorupan  ’73,
Steve Smear ’70,  Dave Smith  ’94,  Neal Smith  ’70, Rob Smith  ’86, Sam Sobczak ’61,  Charles Sowers ’55,
Pete  Speros  ’83,  William  Spoor  ’92,  Brian  Stairs,    Staff ‘  95,  Andrew   Stewart  ’99,  Jonathan Stewart  ’10,
Geoffrey Stryker  ’01,  Thomas  Stuart  ’61,  John P.  Susko  ’73,  Tim   Sweeney  ’89,  Dr. Raymond Tesner  ’75,
Brian  Tupa  ’95,  Michael  Urquhart  ’81,  Tyler  Valoczki  ’02,  Kip  Vernaglia  ’80,  Marshall  Wagner  ’71,
Dan  Wallace  ’75,  Tim   Ward  ’06,  Darryl  Washington  ’88,  Eric  Wayne  ’91,  John  Williams  ’73,
Justin  Williams  ’95,  Leo Wisniewski  ’82,  Steve  Wisniewski  ’89,  John  Wojtowicz  ’81,  Steve  Wolfe  ’65,
Nicholas  Yocum  ’07,  Glenn  Zumbach  ’80.
Frank-ly speaking: Franklin talks changes at spring press conference

Frank-ly speaking: Franklin talks changes at spring press conference

Penn State coach James Franklin talked about the 2018 Nittany Lions for the first time Monday during his spring practice press conference. Spring practice for Penn State opened today and concludes with the Blue-White Game on April 21. ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOTO

Meteorologically speaking, spring starts tomorrow. For college football fans in Pennsylvania, though, it started today.

Penn State head coach James Franklin addressed the media this afternoon at his annual press conference leading into the start of spring practice, which kicks off in a few hours. This is really the first chance Franklin has to talk specifically about the future-as-the-present, and I’ll be honest with you, it was somewhat strange to hear him talk about guys like Saquon Barkley and DaeSean Hamilton and Jason Cabinda in the past tense, their on-field contributions to the program history.

You’ll read quite a bit more in-depth into what Franklin had to say in Tuesday’s editions of The Times-Tribune and other Times Shamrock newspapers for sure, but here’s a rundown of some of the more important talking points:

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Class of 2018 Scouting Reports: The full list

Class of 2018 Scouting Reports: The full list

A list of scouting reports for the 23 signed members of Penn State’s 2018 recruiting class.

QB
Will Levis

RB
Ricky Slade

WR
Jahan Dotson
Daniel George
Justin Shorter

TE
Pat Freiermuth
Zack Kuntz

OL
Nana Asiedu
Bryce Effner
Fredrick “Juice” Scruggs
Rasheed Walker

DL
Judge Culpepper
Aeneas Hawkins
PJ Mustipher
Jayson Oweh

LB
Charlie Katshir
Jesse Luketa
Micah Parsons
Nick Tarburton

DB
Trent Gordon
Isaiah Humphries
Jordan Miner

K
Jake Pinegar

Class of 2018 Scouting Report: OL Rasheed Walker

Class of 2018 Scouting Report: OL Rasheed Walker

As part of National Letter of Intent Signing Day, Times Shamrock newspapers’ Penn State football beat writer Donnie Collins is breaking down every member of Penn State’s 2018 recruiting class. This is a look at offensive lineman Rasheed Walker, who is ranked as the No. 6 offensive tackle prospect in the nation by 247sports and No. 7 by Rivals.

Height: 6-6
Weight: 295
School: North Point HS (Md.)
Projected position: Offensive tackle

Ranking: Four stars by 247sports, Rivals.com and ESPN

Status: Signed LOI in February; expected to enroll Summer 2018

Other offers: Arizona State, Duke, Florida, Georgia, Howard, Kentucky, LSU, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Old Dominion, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Rutgers, Syracuse, Tennessee, Toledo, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, West Virginia.

Projection: This wasn’t a huge haul of offensive linemen for the Nittany Lions in 2018, but for my money, Walker is the best prospect Penn State landed at the position. He plays with great leverage, which enables him to drive through defenders in the running game while using his long wingspan to hold off pass rushers. He pretty consistently beats ends off the ball to his spot, and he uses his hands well once he gets there. Walker looks fast in pads, he’s at his best when he’s getting out in front of a play and finding potential tacklers to hit. He’s a natural tackle, but he can pull like a guard. He has every athletic tool necessary to become a big-time offensive lineman for Penn State. He’ll make a run at significant playing time in 2019.

Long-committed receiver not joining PSU program

Harrisburg receiver Shaquon Anderson-Butts, and Under Armour All-American and three-star prospect who had been verbally committed to the Nittany Lions since July, is no longer part of the 2018 recruiting class.

Anderson-Butts officially signed with Iowa Western Community College on Wednesday morning, on National Letter of Intent Signing Day.

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Penn State still is in the running for a top receiver prospect — four-star Solomon Enis of Arizona — as well as talented offensive tackle Rasheed Walker. There could also be another surprise as the day goes along, but Anderson-Butts is out. He was the only player committed to Penn State during the early signing period in December who didn’t sign with the program, evidently due to an academic issue.

Class of 2018 Scouting Report: LB Nick Tarburton

Class of 2018 Scouting Report: LB Nick Tarburton

As part of National Letter of Intent Signing Day, Times Shamrock newspapers’ Penn State football beat writer Donnie Collins is breaking down every member of Penn State’s 2018 recruiting class. This is a look at linebacker Nick Tarburton, who is ranked as the No. 10 inside linebacker prospect in the nation by Rivals.

Height: 6-3
Weight: 242
School: Pennridge HS
Projected position: Middle linebacker

Ranking: Four stars by 247sports, Rivals.com and ESPN

Status: Signed LOI in December; Enrolled Spring 2018

Other offers:
Louisville, Maryland, Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse

Projection: There’s a sense that the middle linebacker position is going to belong to Micah Parsons for the foreseeable future, but Tarburton is going to have something to say about that. There’s plenty to like about his game. He diagnoses plays really well, and you can often see him on film before the snap getting teammates into the right position. He consistently beats offensive players to their spots, which says that not only is he athletic enough to blow up plays before they can get going, but he’s also a hard enough worker in the film room to be able to anticipate. He’s good enough in pass coverage, but he really shined in high school against the run. He’s an aggressive player, and a vicious tackler — maybe too vicious, at times. He’ll too often go for the punishing hit rather than the textbook one, which could lead to some penalties at the next level if he doesn’t know when to pick his spots. He’s not near the natural athlete Parsons is, but he’s a true inside linebacker who thinks the game and is able to play faster than he in reality is because he’s so prepared. He’s on campus right now, and it will be interesting to see if Tarburton can impress the coaches with his savvy and aggression in the spring. He’ll get a look at the mike linebacker position which desperately needs to be filled in an intriguing fight for playing time between him, Parsons and redshirt freshman Ellis Brooks.

Class of 2018 Scouting Report: RB Ricky Slade

Class of 2018 Scouting Report: RB Ricky Slade

As part of National Letter of Intent Signing Day, Times Shamrock newspapers’ Penn State football beat writer Donnie Collins is breaking down every member of Penn State’s 2018 recruiting class. This is a look at running back Ricky Slade, who is ranked as the No. 1 running back prospect in the nation by 247sports.

Height: 5-9
Weight: 185
School: C.D. Hylton HS (Va.)
Projected position: Running back

Ranking:
Five stars by 247sports; Four stars by Rivals.com and ESPN

Status:
Signed LOI in December; expected to enroll Summer 2018

Other offers: Baylor, Boston College, Clemson, Duke, East Carolina, Florida, Iowa, Louisville, Maryland, Miami (Fla.), Michigan State, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Old Dominion, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Syracuse, Temple, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Western Michigan.

Projection: Slade has what you can’t teach: Speed to burn. He’s light on his feet, able to stop on a dime and then start again, reaching full speed quickly. Nobody he played in high school had an answer for his speed, which helped him gain big yards up the middle and, often, on carries that went outside the tackle. Slade ran for 1,978 yards and 30 touchdowns as a senior and was the 2017 Gatorade Player of the Year in Virginia. He has the ability to catch passes out of the backfield and be a consistent extension of the passing game. Slade will be big part of Penn State’s passing game for years go come. However, even with Saquon Barkley gone, Penn State still has a logjam of talent at the running back, and Slade is going to have to get better to be a meaningful force on Saturdays Slade will need to get stronger and become a better pass protector if he’s to have any significant run in 2018. That said, his speed will be tempting to put on the field and let the chips fall where they may.

Class of 2018 Scouting Report: WR Justin Shorter

Class of 2018 Scouting Report: WR Justin Shorter

As part of National Letter of Intent Signing Day, Times Shamrock newspapers’ Penn State football beat writer Donnie Collins is breaking down every member of Penn State’s 2018 recruiting class. This is a look at receiver Justin Shorter, who is a consensus top-20 prospect in the nation and the No. 1 receiving prospect in the nation according to 247sports.

Height:  6-4
Weight: 213
School: South Brunswick (N.J.) HS
Projected position: Receiver

Ranking: Five stars by 247sports and ESPN and Rivals.com

Other offers: Boston College, Indiana, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, North Carolina, Old Dominion, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Wisconsin.

Projection: Physically, Shorter looks like he was built by central casting to portray a prototypical wide receiver. He has ideal size at 6-foot-4, and although he has room to grow, he’s big and strong enough to make an immediate impact on the major-college level. He drew rave reviews from scouts at the Under Armour All-American Game in January because of his size-speed combination and the ability to manipulate his body to make plays on even poorly thrown balls. Watch his film, and you’ll see him run every kind of route, and do it well. Shorter’s hands are strong, which enable him to hold on to his catches even in traffic. He has enough speed and elusiveness at the line of scrimmage, too, to make even good cornerbacks miss on their jams. He’s not a finished product, of course, but Shorter is as good a receiving prospect as there is in the nation when you consider all of his physical skills. He can stand to run sharper routes, but he’ll get better in that regard once he gets some college-level coaching. It would be stunning if Shorter didn’t play some offensively for the Nittany Lions this season, and he may emerge as the season goes on as a boon to an offense that is going to need to figure some things out at the receiver spot.