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Keyvone Lee's future with Penn State Football uncertain

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After nearly 600 student-athletes entered the NCAA transfer portal on its opening day this window, the numbers are only continuing to rise as bowl season draws to a close. Although Penn State football largely avoided giving up any talent early on, with the lure of a Rose Bowl appearance in the back window, the danger hasn’t completely gone away.

In particular, the situation surrounding second-year running back Keyvone Lee continues to get risky.

Even with up-and-coming real freshmen Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen behind him, Lee started the 2022 season as the Nittany Lions’ starting running back. Lee’s contributions in Penn State’s season opener with Purdue included a game-winning touchdown catch with 57 seconds left.

Lee started in the Nittany Lions’ second week game against Ohio, but was less utilized than his freshman counterparts. The following week, Singleton usurped Lee as the team’s named starter.

Things only got worse for the second year when Lee left his team’s Oct. 15 contest with Michigan, succumbing to an undisclosed injury. This injury kept Lee out of action for the remainder of the regular season.

In an isolated sense, Lee’s injury doesn’t necessarily pose signs of an imminent departure, however, his glaring absence at the Rose Bowl conceal the circumstances.

At Penn State’s hometown media day in December, Franklin offered an off-the-cuff update on Lee’s health, though he was only asked about the statuses of linemen Olu Fashanu and Caedan Wallace. .

“I’m even going to throw a bonus one in there – Olu, Caedan and Keyvone,” Franklin said. “We expect to have all three. We’ll see. We’ll see how it goes. »

That sentiment lingered through the run-up to Penn State’s Rose Bowl appearance in 2023. The day before kickoff, Franklin was still adamant that Lee would be available for the playoffs.

“We’ll see how this rotation plays out,” Franklin said. “These two running backs [Singleton and Allen] obviously have played and played very well but having Keyvone available is really important. He trained extremely well, so it was great.

Lee failed to register a Rose Bowl appearance.

If Lee had been kept off the field without pregame fanfare, there would be no cause for alarm. The fact that Franklin made multiple references to Lee’s availability is puzzling.

At Granddaddy of Them All, Penn State running backs put on a show. In just seven carries, Singleton had 120 rushing yards and two touchdowns – including an 87 yardwhich seemed Saquon Barkley Canal. Allen also scored one of his own, generating 53 total offensive yards in the process.

Yet as the team sent Drew Allar and the reserves into the field to keep the clock ticking, Lee was nowhere to be found. Junior running back Redshirt Tank Smith took the final shots at running back instead.

Lee also projected different signals regarding next year’s status. Throughout this season, Lee has posted messages teasing both staying and leaving – including a tweet since deleted professing a desire to roll him back and a read retweet “Some people take you for granted, then realize later that you were rare.”

With or without Lee, the running back room of the Nittany Lions will be younger and younger. With Singleton and Allen already, Penn State will add real freshmen London Montgomery and Cameron Wallace.

Lee is the only remaining scholarship in the 2020 Penn State group after fellow class of 2020 Caziah Holmes transferred to the State of Florida and junior Devyn Ford has left the team four games in the 2022 season.

Ultimately, Lee will be the one to make the final announcement, of course. And if recent tweets are any indication, he’s in no rush to reveal his whereabouts.

Sam is a senior from Ashburn, Virginia with a major in journalism and political science and a minor in German and creative writing. He’s a Dallas Cowboys fan who relishes the misery of Eagles fans. All hate messages can be sent to [email protected] or @SamFremin on Twitter.

He may or may not read every comment he receives.


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