Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose

This past year was an interesting year for Penn State Football. It was James Franklin’s second year as head coach, and he was still largely getting his feet on solid ground. Much in the same way that Franklin was learning the ropes here at Penn State, the squad was still adapting Franklin’s coaching style, beliefs, and values.

Skating past a 500 season to 7-6 and 4-4 in the Big Ten, Penn State held strong this past season against some formidable opponents like Northwestern (Loss, 23-21), Rutgers (Win, 28-3), and Georgia (Loss 24-17). If anything, despite a few bumps and bruises, the tenacity with which Penn State attacked every game should speak volumes of its ability to conquer even the most impressive of teams.

Franklin gave a season review press conference this past week in which he touched on a variety of topics pertaining to recruiting, coaching changes, and vision for the program.

“We’re working really, really hard to build a program here that will be able to sustain long-term success,” said Franklin. “But that vision takes time. We’re committed to building this program the right way…We’re not going to take any short cuts.”

Part of building that long-term started this semester with a crew of four stellar early-enrollees: tight end Danny Dalton (Marshfield, Mass.), offensive tackle Alex Gellerstedt (Dublin, Ohio), guard/center Connor McGovern (Larksville, Pa.), and quarterback Jake Zembiec (Rochester, N.Y.).

Dalton comes with an impressive record that includes being named Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior, and selected first team All-State in 2014 and 2015. He also earned the impressive title of’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. He led his high school team to a D2 South Section Championship with an 11-1 record, notching 11 touchdowns himself throughout the season.

Gellerstedt arrives as a force to be reckoned with. He earned All-Ohio Division I first team honors from the Associated Press as a senior and was the 17th ranked recruit in Ohio by ESPN. Gellerstedt comes to Penn State as a three-star rated tackle.

McGovern, a standout guard/center was a two-time team captain who is rated number two among centers in the country and number six among prospects in Pennsylvania by McGovern is also credit with helping his high school win the Wyoming Valley Football conference title in 2015 with a 10-2 record.

Zembiec, a standout quarterback, has the opportunity to earn the starting spot in the 2016 season thanks to his impressive statistics. A two-time team captain, Zembiec led his team to the State Class AA State Championships as both a sophomore and as a senior with astonishing 13-0 season both times. He will play as part of the USA Football U-19 National team this January 31 in Dallas. He is the number 10 quarterback in the country and holds the title of number one in New York.

The Penn State Football family also welcomes Coach Matt Limegrover and Coach Tim Banks aboard as offensive line and co-defensive coordinator, respectively.

Franklin has unwavering confidence in the progress Penn State has made and will continue to make, a point he made clear this past week.

“As coaches and as fans…you always want more, and we will always strive for more,” commented Franklin. “It…makes a whole lot of sense where we’re at right now and where we’re going.”

There you have it, Penn State. We will see you on Saturday, September 3 in Beaver Stadium to beat Kent State!