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Penn State Football: Hamler Okay, Simmons Set For Return Debut

by on October 09, 2018 2:52 PM

Penn State is planning on a key return this weekend as defensive end Shane Simmons is slated to play, according to James Franklin.

Simmons missed the Nittany Lions’ first five games of the 2018 season due to an undisclosed injury suffered in training camp. Franklin expects Simmons to play somewhere between 10 to 15 plays 

“We’re real excited to have Shane back,” Franklin said on Tuesday. “He’s more of a complete player than he has been in the past, and he’s up to above 250 pounds now. He’s always been a pass rusher, but we also think he’ll do a really good job defending against the run.”

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The sophomore made nine appearances as a freshman and a consistent force on the Nittany Lions’ defensive front. He finished the 2017-18 season with 15 total tackles, 4.5 of which came for a loss. The loss of Torrence Brown due to a season-ending injury had slotted Simmons into a larger role, expected to take the starting job full-time prior to his own injury.

In addition wideout KJ Hamler is expected to play this weekend, Franklin confirmed (or at least did not deny the assertion, a potential gamesmanship answer). Hamler left the Ohio State game in the fourth quarter following a high hit and did not return as the Nittany Lions eventually fell to the Buckeyes for the second straight season.

Hamler has been Penn State's most explosive player this season with 13 receptions for 308 yards and four touchdowns including a 93-yard reception against Ohio State. He has recorded a touchdown in four of Penn State's five games so far this year.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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