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Theo Johnson delivers postgame speech that stunned James Franklin

Following Penn State’s win over Rutgers yesterday tight end Theo Johnson delivered a thoughtful speech to the team, expressing his gratitude for James Franklin.



Penn State football, Theo Johnson, James Franklin
Penn State tight end Theo Johnson hugs family members, including his mom Amy Johnson (left), during a senior day ceremony before an NCAA football game against Rutgers Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in State College, Pa.

Emotions were high for many Penn State football players yesterday. For some, it was the final time they would run onto the field at Beaver Stadium. For others, it was the last time they played with some upperclassmen in Happy Valley. Either way, the Nittany Lions were able to keep their emotions in check during the game against Rutgers. Even when starting quarterback Drew Allar left the game with an undisclosed injury, the team never flinched. But following the game it was senior captain Theo Johnson who delivered a powerful speech that left James Franklin speechless.

Theo Johnson delivers postgame speech that stunned James Franklin

Following the 27-6 Penn State football game win over Rutgers, James Franklin spoke to the media. Which is part of his normal routine when it comes to postgame pressers. But it’s what he said that surprised some within the Penn State community. It was none other than tight end Theo Johnson who made a speech after the game that left James Franklin ‘speechless.’

Franklin said, “I wish you guys could’ve been in the locker room right there. Theo Johnson speaking to his teammates was phenomenal, Dvon Ellies, their messages were powerful to their younger teammates. So, that was really cool to see and I’m proud of them.”

When speaking to Theo Johnson after the game he was asked what his message to the team was. Johnson said, “I pretty much just said after every game coach Franklin always tells us how much he loves and appreciates us and I feel like sometimes he doesn’t get that in return. I just wanted to tell him how much we love and appreciate him. He gave everyone in that room a chance and for some guys, he saved their lives. So, I just wanted to tell him how much I appreciated him and how much our team appreciates him for everything he does for us.”

You can watch Johnson’s full postgame press conference on our YouTube channel below.

Theo wasn’t alone

It wasn’t just Theo Johnson who shared those feelings for head coach James Franklin. Kobe King also reiterated a similar message to the media yesterday. King said, “There’s a lot on Coach Franklin’s shoulders. … He does a lot that goes unseen. I love that guy.”

It’s great to hear how much James Franklin has been able to impact these players.

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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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