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Notes From Penn State Coach James Franklin’s June 8 Presser

Penn State Head Coach James Franklin

Penn State coach James Franklin spoke with reporters Wednesday, June 8, for a presser on Penn State’s practice field outside of Holuba Hall. Here are some notes from what Franklin had to say.

CHOP CHOP 

Penn State officially added University of Maryland transfer Demeioun “Chop” Robinson yesterday.

Robinson played for the Terps as a freshman in 2021 and was a five-star recruit on some sites coming out of high school.

Penn State recruited the edge rusher out of Quince Orchard high school in Gaithersburg, Maryland, hard and lost out to Maryland. Now, he’s a Nittany Lion, and Franklin is excited.

“It’s great having him here,” Franklin said. “He tested really well the other day, which is great. Then on top of that, the fact that we recruited him out of high school, more times than not, if we’re going to do the transfer portal stuff, that’s what I would prefer. It’s not always going to work out like that. In a short window, it’s hard to get to know the guys the way that we’d like to get to know them.”

“I think it came down to us and his previous institution (to sign Robinson), so we knew him pretty well, and so far, so good.

Franklin said that although Robinson can play linebacker, Penn State plans to use him as a defensive end.

“There’s a bunch of guys, like Jesse Luketa, that we’ve recruited like that,” he said. “He falls into that category. We’re pretty excited about him.”

“We expect him ready by game one. I think it’s a little bit different with a veteran player. I think sometimes, with younger players that haven’t played a whole lot, you’re kind of anxious, almost rushing them to get back as soon as they possibly can. But with a player as experienced as he is— and PJ’s a hard-charging guy— we actually have to do the opposite and pull him back. But mentally, he’ll obviously be ready, and physically, he’s pretty far along.”

Wants to be 100% but doesn’t need to be.

“Our trainers and doctors have done a fantastic job with him. The doctor that did his surgery in New York did a fantastic job.”

“We’re excited about having him back, not just as a player but as a leader as well. He’s been phenomenal.

“He is a big, strong, powerful, big guy. He tested really well arriving on campus with his athleticism. Obviously, he learns the playbook well. So that’s been very impressive from our staff.

HUNTER NOURZAD HUNTING FOR PENN STATE STARTING JOB

Another transfer portal addition, offensive lineman and former Cornell Big Red Hunter Nourzad, officially joined Penn State’s roster.

Franklin is impressed with Nourzad’s size, strength and football IQ and is also excited for the healthy completion that will develop amongst Penn State’s interior linemen throughout training camp.

“I think we have really good competition at the guard position,” he said. I think we have five guys that legitimately will be competing for those two starting jobs.

Franklin said Nourzad, Landon Tengwall, Sal Wormley, JB Nelson and Golden Israel-Achumba are all competing for a guard spot.

FRANKLIN ON INCOMING PENN STATE AD PATRICK KRAFT

It’s not easy for a football coach and an athletic director to not see eye-to-eye.

Fortunately for Penn State, it doesn’t look like Franklin will have that problem with incoming athletic director Patrick Kraft.

Franklin said he and Kraft— who was hired from Boston College in March and will officially succeed Sandy Barbour July 1— agree on plenty regarding college football.

“I think the great thing that I’ve seen is we see college football similarly,” Franklin said. “I think we see college athletics similarly, so a lot of times, whether it was at Vanderbilt or Penn State where I was having conversations and trying to convince people on certain things, we don’t have that. We kind of see things alike, so that’s been really helpful.”

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