WR Justin Shorter no longer on PSU’s team
Receiver Justin Shorter is no longer with the Penn State team and will not play in the regular-season finale Saturday against Rutgers after he entered the transfer portal Tuesday.
“I want nothing but success for him and his family,” coach James Franklin told reporters after practice Wednesday night. “I want that for all of our guys.
“But I also know the journey is different. The journey is different for all of them. I think sometimes guys come in and they expect the journey to play out a certain way, and when it doesn’t, it’s hard. But that’s life. That’s how life goes.”
Shorter came to Penn State as a five-star recruit, so big things were expected of him. But he played only four games and had three catches last season, and he wound up redshirting. He had 12 catches in 10 games this season but was never a significant part of the offense.
Franklin brought up former PSU tight end Mike Gesicki when discussing how some players battle through their situations, while others look to flee it.
“If we had the transfer portal when Mike Gesicki was here, would it have played out the way it did, which he had a really tough year?” Franklin said. “He battled through it, came back, had an unbelievable year and just saw the other day caught a touchdown pass (for the Miami Dolphins).
“I do believe strongly that college athletics — and athletics probably in general but specifically college athletics — I felt like really taught adversity and battling through things,” the coach continued. “(The transfer portal) has changed that dynamic, and I think the best stories to me are the guys that have battled through it.”
Franklin was asked if Shorter will be able to return to the team if he exits the transfer portal. The coach explained that he and the team’s leadership council came up with a policy about that issue that is “not a black and white deal,” but yet involves a lot of factors.
“Every situation is different based on how they leave, how they communicate, why they’re leaving,” Franklin said.
Quarterback Sean Clifford explained what happened that knocked him out of Saturday’s loss at Ohio State. He’s been battling a leg issue and was replaced by Will Levis.
Clifford is a game-time decision this week against Rutgers.
“The whole game I was kind of having trouble being mobile in the first place,” he said, “and there’s a big part of our game plan that relies on the quarterback being able to use their feet. … I wasn’t going to put our team in a bad situation, especially how my movement was going.
“From start to finish I really did not have the movement that I wanted to. So, they went with Will, and I was 100% with that decision. It was just affecting everything I was doing. I couldn’t play the game I wanted to.
“People have seen how I play, I like to be mobile, I like to be moving around, creating plays outside the pocket when I have to. I just felt that I was not able to do that.”
Franklin and FSU
Florida State has been in contact with James Franklin’s camp about its job opening, according to a report by 247Sports.
Franklin’s name frequently gets linked to potential jobs at this time of year, and this year the two main ones are USC and Florida State.
The Seminoles fired coach Willie Taggart during the season. USC may or may not fire coach Clay Helton after the season, although one report Wednesday noted that Helton’s bosses at the school may want to give him another year.