PSU OL put into hospital; OT Palmer gives his story of joining team
Penn State offensive lineman Brendan Mahon was hospitalized Tuesday night and was in stable condition, with no further information available about the cause.
A university spokesperson confirmed that Mahon was admitted to Hershey Medical Center and listed his condition as stable.
Mahon suffered an undisclosed injury early in the first quarter of Saturday’s win over Iowa at Beaver Stadium and did not return to the game. Coach James Franklin, per his usual policy, did not provide an update on Mahon’s health during his news conference Tuesday afternoon.
Earlier Tuesday, left tackle Paris Palmer never got a chance to tell the story of how he arrived at Penn State until Tuesday, and it was a dandy that left many impressed with the young man’s perseverance.
Palmer, made available to to the media for the first time since he got to PSU last year, received no offers from major colleges out of tiny Plymouth High School in North Carolina. On a conference call, he told the story of how he downloaded a free video editor off the Internet and asked some friends to get some footage of him playing in high school so he could put together a highlight video for colleges.
He did all that work, but before he found a football home, he tore his ACL playing basketball in a rec league. He was simply trying to stay in shape for football, in case some colleges came offering.
He had to get a job to pay bills, so Palmer wound up working at an Ann’s House of Nuts factory, preparing trail mix.
“I was literally working in a factory with a swollen knee, trying to rehab my knee,” Palmer said. “So at the time, football wasn’t in my sight. I was trying to handle what was in front of me. I knew once my leg healed, I would definitely try to go out there and find more opportunities.”
Lackawanna College in Scranton offered Palmer a home, playing for coach Mark Duda, who shared a mutual friend with Palmer. He wound up having a standout career there, getting ranked as the No. 9 junior college prospect in the country when it came time to move on to a major program.
Palmer originally committed to South Carolina but had a change of heart and picked Penn State.
“We were able to get involved with him, and I’ll never forget, myself and I think three other coaches, maybe four other coaches, sitting at a Texas roadhouse with his mom and Paris, kind of — it was essentially the home visit,” Franklin said. “And I don’t know if you guys ever had those rolls with the maple butter, was really good. I was hammering them rolls.”
Palmer showed Franklin what he had written on his phone about his decision to decommit from South Carolina in favor of Penn State.
“It was just so well written and so thoughtful and so mature,” Franklin said. “He’s got great perspective on a lot of things.”
One element to the Palmer story, which has human interest all over it, is that he’s been at Penn State a long time before ever getting a chance to tell it. He was the starting left tackle for most of last season, but the coaching staff never let him talk to the media, so no one knew all the fascinating details of his path to PSU.
Franklin was asked Tuesday why it took so long to let Palmer speak with the press and gave a lengthy response about how the school takes a lot of measures to train players on how to deal with the media before letting them do so.
“My job is not just to allow people to get to know our program and also allow you guys to do your jobs, which is tell great stories about Penn State football,” Franklin said. “But it’s also to prepare and educate our players about the process.”
The coach later added, “(Last year) Paris was a first-year player, although he was a junior college player, he’s still a first-year player. And obviously you guys weren’t banging down the door for him this year because he had not been playing.”
Palmer lost his starting job late last season and had not been a starter this year, until injuries on the line put him back in that role. He has played well at left tackle so far, helping the offensive line remain solid despite the injuries.
“We’re proud of him,” Franklin said. “He’s bigger and stronger than he’s ever been. He’s more confident. He’s doing really good in school. He’s just going to be really successful.”
PSU No. 10
The Nittany Lions climbed two spots to No. 10 in the College Football Playoff rankings, released Tuesday night.
Penn State was 12th last week but moved up after losses by No. 10 Nebraska and No. 11 Florida.
“We love all the talk about being ranked and everything, like that’s something special to us,” safety Marcus Allen said. “But it’s like we’re so focused on like the next game that it’s like we don’t really like have our mind wrapped around it that much.”
Barkley for Heisman
Penn State took the first step Tuesday toward a Heisman Trophy campaign for Saquon Barkley, sending out a tweet picturing the running back standing behind a podium that depicts the Heisman character logo.
It read: “Nittany Nation’s ultimate running mate this #election day #voteSaquon #HeismanHouse.”
Barkley has entered the national discussion for the Heisman after putting up big numbers his last four games, including a pair of 200-yard rushing contests and 167 yards against Iowa.
The sophomore has 1,055 yards and 11 TDs through nine games and is averaging 6.3 yards per carry.
No Fridays in ’17
The Big Ten released its slate of Friday night games for next season, and Penn State was not included on it. So it will be at least until 2018 before the Lions have to play a Friday game.
Two games will be played on Sept. 1: Washington at Rutgers and Utah State at Wisconsin.
Other games are Ohio at Purdue on Sept. 8, Nebraska at Illinois on Sept. 29, Northwestern at Maryland on Oct. 13, and Michigan State at Northwestern on Oct. 27.