I lead off this week’s update with #9 in my crosshairs once again because a few days ago it was announced that he had been extended an invite to this year’s NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis along with fellow senior Amani Oruwariye and early entrants Miles Sanders, Shareef Miller, Connor McGovern, Ryan Bates, and Kevin Givens. Of course, we wish them all the very best and have no doubt they'll give it their everything, but it’s Trace that has the most to prove to those on the outside and I’m squarely in his corner as he slays the giants of doubt once more. “He just needs a shot,” is what I’ve quietly thought from a distance and so far he’s had every chance to take that shot and run with it. This year’s Combine begins on February 26th and ends March 4th.
In other news of note, Signing Day was officially last Wednesday and saw the Nittany Lions put a bow on another Top-10 class. Although most had already signed their letters of intent back on the first Signing Day in December, 11 of whom are already enrolled and on campus, James Franklin and crew upped the ante by adding Florida wideout TJ Jones, Pittsburgh athlete Daequan Hardy, and future Wild Dogs Smith Vilbert out of New Jersey. They also added Maryland's D'Von Ellies, and raw dark horse Joseph Darkwa out of Germany, of all places. FrankLion opened his tenure at Penn State by demanding we Dominate the State but by the looks of the Class of 2019 and beyond, he’s got his sights set on not only PA, but the rest of the nation, and across the pond as well. It was a class that finished just behind Michigan in the Big Ten but had an overall ranking that was bettered by only Alabama and Georgia on a national level.
As for the current Nittany Lions, the 2019 season is well underway as winter workouts got off to a roaring start last week under the watchful eye of strength and conditioning guru Dwight Galt. Spring hasn’t sprung just yet but it’s only a matter of time before spring ball blooms and a road trip to this April’s Blue-White game becomes reality. One of those Lions at work, Lamont Wade, jumped head first into the infamous transfer portal and managed to find his way back home to Happy Valley. Another, Tommy Stevens, was officially handed the keys to the offensive juggernaut heading into the spring. It’s his job to lose according to his coach, and much like his predecessor, there seems to be a cloud of doubt coming from some of us that always know better than the professionals (insert my trusty old eye-roll emoji). All they need is a shot, I say, as they both take aim to prove the doubters wrong.