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Penn State Football Mailbag: Kicking, Tommy Stevens, Bandon Polk And More

by on April 04, 2017 2:00 PM

It's April which means that the Blue White game is only weeks away. In that light it's time to open the mailbox once again and take a few reader questions as spring practice continues into its second week. 

As always if you have any questions of your own you can either send a tweet to @Ben_Jones88 or hit the contact button down below.

What is the plan for all things kicking between Julius, Davis and Barbir?

I imagine that the kicking duties will look the same as they did last year. Davis has been as reliable as any Penn State kicker and Julius has become more consistent with his kickoffs. The obvious sticking point with most fans in this regard is simply the fact Barbir was such a highly rated prospect. But considering that Davis has performed well under pressure it's hard to imagine him giving up the job, especially true considering that Barbir has multiple years of eligibility remaining.

But as always, kicking is a performance based position more than most, so nothing is set in stone.

Which incoming recruit has the biggest impact this year?

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Lamont Wade in the secondary stands to be the most obvious answer here. James Franklin has said about as many positive things as he's ever going to say about a freshmen that hasn't played a snap off college football yet. All told Wade passes the eye test, seems to be on the right track and is in an area of need for Penn State. This is a good incoming class, but Penn State didn't lose many starters and has players already waiting in the wings, so Wade might be one of just a few freshmen to get a real shot at playing in 2017.

Does Brandon Polk carve out a role in the slot behind DaeSean Hamilton?

Polk really is the forgotten man in this grouping but with his speed and an entire year off to recover from injury it certainly seems like he is poised to finally make an impact on the offensive side of the ball. It might take him a little while to get back up to speed both mentally and physically, but with a lot of talent in the receiving corps but few jobs tightly secured, it stands to reason Polk will be in the thick of things, especially at the slot.

Do you forsee a transfer or a position change in the future for Tommy Stevens?

Logistically if Stevens was going to transfer this season it would have happened already, but I am a little surprised he hasn't. It seems probable that Trace McSorley will return after this season [He could go to the NFL, but isn't really a prototypical NFL quarterback and knows it] and in turn effectively render Stevens to a backup role his entire career. Stevens far and away passes the eye test in practice and could start at any number of programs, Penn State included. It might not be that Stevens wants to leave, but it's starting to make the most sense career wise. As far a position change Stevens would probably have to undergo some physical changes first. He's tall but not built for much defensively and with how many already established receivers Penn State has it's not as though he could find a meaningful role there.

All of that being said I wouldn't be surprised if Stevens is on the field in some capacity this season more than he was in 2016-17.

Is James Franklin held in as high regard by the other sport's coaches as he is by Guy Gadowsky?

While it isn't something openly talked about, I don't think there is much doubt Franklin is respected by the coaching community at Penn State. Franklin might not be as revered by his fellow coaches as Bill O'Brien was, but both were at Penn State during very different times. O'Brien was effectively the athletic department's ringleader during the post-scandal fallout while Franklin has generally been immune to those kinds of responsibilities. To compare the two is unfair because their situations were greatly different, but at the end of the day I think it's safe to say Franklin is respected, just for different reasons and in a different climate. 

Sterling Jenkins? Wasnt he one of the most sought after OL recruits?

Jenkins' rating had always been the result of his size. You can't coach a kid to be massive, but even if you could that's only half the battle. So the rest of it is a little self-explanatory. Jenkins appears to have some, but not all of the tools he needs to start. That could change, but Jenkins was never highly rated because he was a finished product.



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