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Penn State HC James Franklin Uncertain of OT Olu Fashanu’s Rose Bowl Status

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Olu Fashanu

In Sunday’s Rose Bowl conference call, Penn State coach James Franklin told reporters that he expects “almost the entirety” of Penn State’s team to be available for the Rose Bowl Game against Utah.

This wouldn’t include injured players, and offensive tackle Olu Fashanu has been one for over a month.

Franklin doesn’t go into detail about injuries unless they’re season-ending and told media at a teleconference with Penn State beat reporters that the program is unsure if Fashanu will be good to go for the Rose Bowl Game.

“We’ll see how this whole thing plays out,” Franklin said. “Obviously, medical will play the biggest factor in all these things. But we’ll see how it plays out.”

The Rose Bowl is the last game of the year, so if Fashanu can’t go, he’s played his final down of football for the 2022 season. Fashanu hasn’t played since Penn State’s Oct. 29 game against Ohio State at Beaver Stadium. But he made quite an impact on Penn State’s season in the eight games he played. Seemingly overnight, Fashanu went from a relative unknown in the college football world to one of the top potential 2023 NFL Draft prospects. But Fashanu won’t be taken in the Draft because he didn’t declare for it.

In a surprise announcement made last week, Fashanu stayed in school, bypassing a chance to be a top five-pick. Had Fashanu gone pro, there’s a good chance he would have opted out of the Rose Bowl regardless of his health. Now, Penn State will have Fashanu available if his health allows him to be.

Regardless of how things play out at the Rose Bowl, having Fashanu back for 2023 makes Penn State better, and Franklin loves it. He wants to help Fashanu prepare for the NFL as much as possible. 

“Him and his family deciding to come back was obviously something, as a program, that we’re really excited about,” Franklin said. “But also doing everything that we possibly can to support Olu and all his academic plans and goals that he has for himself, as well as playing even better next year and getting drafted as high as possible. So for me to sit here and say those things aren’t on my mind, and something I want to make sure that we do a great job of, would not be accurate.”

Franklin said in his weekly press conference Tuesday, Nov. 22, that he expected Fashanu and defensive back Joey Porter Jr. to be ready before the end of the season. Porter has already opted out and declared for the Draft. We’ll see what happens with Fashanu. 

“It (Fashanu’s announcement) was exciting news, but I want to make sure we’re doing everything we possibly can to support Olu as well,” Franklin said. “We’ll see how this bowl game plays out with his timeline.”

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