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Penn State G Hunter Nourzad Explains Decision to Stay in School

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - SEPTEMBER 01: Penn State Nittany Lions offensive lineman Hunter Nourzad (64) drops into pass protection during the college football game between the Purdue Boilermakers and Penn State Nittany Lions on September 1, 2022, at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire)

Penn State guard Hunter Nourzad made headlines early Tuesday morning when he announced via Twitter that he’s returning to Penn State for the 2023 season.

 

Nourzad transferred to Penn State after 2021, having previously been part of Cornell’s program since 2018. His role on coach James Franklin’s team has increased in recent weeks since starting left guard Landon Tengwall got injured in warmups before Penn State’s game against Michigan Oct. 15.

Hours after Nourzad’s announcement, Franklin announced that Tengwall is out for the season in his weekly press conference. So Nourzad’s role will continue to be extra significant in 2022, and now, Penn State will have him for 2023.

For Nourzad, the decision to stay in school was “kind of easy.”

“Just looking at everything, I just really wanted to come back,” Nourzad told reporters via Zoom Tuesday afternoon. “I didn’t want to have any regrets. I think college football is super fun.”

Penn State itself was a big reason Nourzad decided to stay.

“Penn State’s one of the best places to play at,” he said. “We have the best fanbase. Our coaches are great, everybody is great. It (the decision) was easy, to be honest with you.”

Of course, Nourzad spoke with his parents and Penn State’s coaching staff before making the decision final. Franklin met with Nourzad, his mother and his sister a few weeks back.

By the time the talk ended, Franklin knew what Nourzad had decided.

“He just came walking in and had a couple of questions for me,” Franklin said Tuesday, “and at the end of the conversation, he said ‘I’m staying.’”

“When it came down to it, it was my personal decision,” Nourzad said. “I feel like I still have some growth and opportunities to take advantage of.”

In the future, Nourzad wants to continue to focus on growing himself at Penn State, both personally and on the field.

Right now, he’s focused on doing what he can to help Penn State win Saturday.

“At the end of the day, we’re focused on beating Maryland,” he said.

Franklin knows Nourzad wants to help Penn State be great, and he’s using his extra year to do that.

“I think he has really high expectations of what he can do and what we can do,” Franklin said. “So, I think that will be great.”

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