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James Franklin discusses impact of Daequan Hardy after historic game

The Penn State football team found a new star on special teams this past weekend, James Franklin commented on his impact after the game.



Penn State, Daequan Hardy, James Franklin
Penn State's Daequan Hardy (25) returns a punt 56 yards for a touchdown during the first half of a NCAA football game against Massachusetts Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in State College, Pa.

The impact of a player is amplified when they return to the field for the first time. This season the Penn State football team was without Daequan Hardy for the first two games of the season. He made his return against Illinois and provided a major boost in the secondary. Securing an interception in the victory. But his impact has now surpassed what he is capable of on defense. Against UMass on Saturday we saw a new skillset on display, his ability to be a dynamic punt returner. After the game, James Franklin commented on Daequan Hardy’s special night.

James Franklin discusses Daequan Hardy and his historic night

To say that Daequan Hardy had the best game of his Penn State football career against UMass is a fair statement. Hardy returned two punts for touchdowns against the Minutemen, one from 56 yards and the other from 68 yards. James Franklin had a lot of joy in his voice when describing the performance.

Franklin said, “Obviously the story of the night is Daequn Hardy. The same guy that me and Terry [Smith] went to watch in the state championship game and earned a Penn State scholarship with how he performed. Scoring all different ways one way as a punt returner. So, that was awesome for us to have success with that and specifically for him.”

Kaden Saunders has been the punt returner for Penn State all season up until the UMass game. He has been very solid at catching the ball, but he has not been very dynamic returning punts. Hardy brought an explosive element that the team needed from that unit. I would not be shocked if Hardy kept the job for the rest of this season.

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Former Editor-In-Chief at Victory Bell Rings, Morgan is the current Site Manager for Basic Blues Nation, host of the Basic Blues Podcast, and co-host of the weekly Penn State Roar Room spaces. Morgan lives in upstate New York with his wife and cats.


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