On Sunday, the Pennsylvania State Nittany Lions football team was deluged with news from many different directions.
John Donovan Relieved of Duties:
James Franklin released a statement on Sunday afternoon that offensive coordinator John Donovan has been relieved of his duties and that he will begin a nationwide search for the Nittany Lions next offensive coordinator.
Penn State's offense struggled mightily at times under John Donovan who's play-calling was often critiqued by fans, analysts, and writers alike. Donovan had spent the past five seasons on James Franklin's staff which includes Franklin's three years at Vanderbilt.
Barkley, Nassib Bring Home Big Ten POY Honors:
Two members of the Penn State Nittany Lions have brought home Big Ten Player of the Year awards on Sunday.
Freshman running back Saquon Barkley brought home the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award after rushing for 1,007 yards and seven touchdowns on 165 carries over eight and a half games. Barkley finished his freshman regular season with five games of 100+ rushing yards including 195 and 194 yard performances against Rutgers and Ohio State. He also broke the Penn State freshman rushing record of 1,002-yards held by D.J Dozier since 1983.
Senior Carl Nassib brought home the Defensive Player of the Year award after recording 15.5 sacks this season. His total leads college football this season despite only being part of a handful of plays the past two weeks due to injury.
Both Barkley and Nassib were two bright spots of Penn State's 7-5 (4-4) season that at times showed so much promise. A lack of depth at crucial positions and questionable coaching decisions ultimately helped lead to several disappointing outcomes.
Penn State lost two commitments this weekend, both being from the state of Michigan. Top rated kicker Quinn Nordin has officially announced a decommitment and did remove "Penn State commit" from his Twitter bio on Saturday, as he made an official visit to Michigan.
Top rated cornerback Lavert Hill also decommited from the Nittany Lions this weekend. Hill announced his decommitment via Twitter Sunday night citing that he "committed too early" and has reopened his recruitment. His decision will be announced during the U.S Army All-American Game on January 9th.