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Franklin Says RB Lee Wasn’t at Practice not Because of Class

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Keyvone Lee

Media gathered to watch a portion of Penn State’s Wednesday practice noticed that Keyvone Lee wasn’t there.

Lee, a third-year back who has become Penn State’s No. 3 runner after the emergence of true freshmen Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen, got one carry in this past Saturday’s loss at Michigan, and his absence from practice four days later was noticeable.

Naturally, coach James Franklin was asked about it in his post-practice availability session. As expected, Franklin didn’t fully say why Lee wasn’t there, but he eliminated one option.

“Keyvone was not out here,” Franklin said. “He was not in class.”

It’s not clear what this means, but it seems clear that the reason Lee didn’t practice wasn’t because of him being in the classroom.

The back has played in five of Penn State’s six games this season, counting the Michigan game, which barely qualifies as an appearance. Lee also only ran the ball once in Penn State’s home-opening win over Ohio in Week 2, and that carry went for no gain.

He didn’t touch the ball at all in Penn State’s win over Central Michigan Sept. 24.

Overall, he’s run for 94 yards on 25 carries, good for a 3.8 yards per carry average. He hasn’t run for a touchdown yet, and his longest run of the season went for just 12 yards.

Lee did have a moment of glory in Penn State’s dramatic season opener at Purdue. In what will likely go down as his signature moment at Penn State, he caught the game-winning touchdown pass from Sean Clifford with less than a minute left. Penn State held on for a 35-31 triumph.

Lee began his college football career in 2020, and it didn’t take long for him to make an impact. Lee finished the pandemic-themed nine-game season as Penn State’s leading rusher, gaining 438 yards and averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Lee also scored four touchdowns.

In 2021, he again averaged 4.9 yards per carry but spent much of the season as a face in a crowded backfield with John Lovett and Noah Cain.

Penn State plays Minnesota Saturday at 7:30 on ABC. It will be the school’s annual White Out game, as well as Homecoming.

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