PSU's Royster believes he will be a successful pro

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PSU's Royster believes he will be a successful pro

Friday, February 25, 2011
Posted: 5:03 p.m.

By Reuben Frank
CSNPhilly.com

INDIANAPOLIS Evan Royster knows the biggest knock on him is that hes just not fast enough to be a big-time NFL running back.

He also believes a Penn State-record 3,932 rushing yards means just a little bit more than his 40 time.

I trust that the scouts and coaches out there know what kind of player I am, Royster said Friday afternoon at the NFL Scouting Combine. Thats what those guys get paid for. There are definitely a lot of things (other than 40 time) that go into what kind of player you are.

Its not that Royster is slow. But hes not going to run a 4.2 or 4.3 when the running backs sprint here at Lucas Oil Stadium. Then again, 2010 NFL rushing leader Arian Foster ran 4.73 at his Pro Day. You never know.

Its not like Im going to come out here and run a 4.7 or something like that, Royster said. I dont really know what to expect out of my 40. Id like to get in the low 4.5s or high 4.4s.

Roysters 3,932 rushing yards broke the school record of 3,398 yards set from 1979 through 1982 by Curt Warner.

That was very big for me, Royster said. To be at the top of the list, a list with some very good running backs on it, that was really a big deal for me. Thats something I can tell people every day.

Depending how things go at the Combine, Royster could be drafted anywhere from the end of the second round to early in the fourth. But you cant argue with the production. Hes the only back in Penn State history with three 1,000-yard seasons, and he produced despite having to share time in Joe Paternos rotation something that wasnt easy for him to get used to.

Rotating was definitely tough at times, but it does help the team because it keeps defenses off-balance, Royster said. But it did take some getting used to. Im a back that in high school and at times in college, I need to get into a rhythm, and thats not always easy to do when youre rotating. But if it helped us win, it was fine with me.

Penn State football history is full of terrific college tailbacks who struggled at the next level. Ki-Jana Carter was the first pick in 1995, Blair Thomas was the second pick in 1990, Curtis Enis was the fifth pick in 1998 and D.J Dozier was the 14th pick in 1987. All were busts.

Eagles fans remember Tony Hunt, a third-round pick in 2007 who was out of the league after just 14 carries.

There have been some pretty good ones, too, like Franco Harris and Larry Johnson. But the reputation is out there that Penn State backs wont make good pros.

Pure coincidence, Royster said. I dont think it means anything. Im sure you could pick out any school and find some guys that didnt perform in the NFL. Im out to prove that it is a coincidence and that Im not going to be one of those guys.

Royster finished his career in State College with 32 touchdowns and 15 100-yard games all of them Penn State wins.

He said one challenge facing him this week is proving he has the mentality to be an NFL player. Royster is a soft-spoken, quiet kid off the field, and he said he needs to prove in the interview process this week that he has the personality to succeed as a professional.

A lot of people question my desire, he said. Thats crazy. I think I play with a lot of desire. I think the coaches and scouts will see that.

Royster said he often hears comparisons with Bears running back Matt Forte, another tailback without blazing speed he ran a 4.59 at the 2008 Combine and he said hell be glad to become a player like Forte.

If I can turn myself into that guy, that would be great, he said. Thats the goal.

E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com

Baylor to fire football coach Briles, re-assign president

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Baylor to fire football coach Briles, re-assign president

WACO, Texas -- Baylor University's board of regents said Thursday that it will fire football coach Art Briles and re-assign university President Kenneth Starr amid questions over the school's handling of sexual assault complaints against players.

The nation's largest Baptist university said in a statement Thursday that it had suspended Briles "with intent to terminate." Starr will leave the position of president on May 31, but the school says he will serve as chancellor.

The university also placed athletic director Ian McCaw on probation.

Baylor asked a law firm last year to conduct a review of its handling of sexual assault cases following allegations that the football program mishandled several cases of players attacking women.

The university's statement said the review revealed "a fundamental failure."

Baylor has faced increasing criticism in recent months for its handling of reports of rape and other violent incidents involving football players and students. One victim has sued the university, saying it was deliberately indifferent to her allegations against a former player who was eventually convicted of sexually assaulting her.

Starr ordered an investigation last year but has been mostly silent amid mounting criticism over the school's handling of the complaints, which erupted under his leadership. He took over as the university's president in 2010, about a decade after the former prosecutor investigated former President Clinton's sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewisnky.

The football team, whose players were at the center of the upheaval, enjoyed unprecedented success under Briles' tenure, including two Big 12 championships in the last three years. That success brought a financial windfall, and in 2014, Baylor opened a new, $250-million on-campus football stadium. But Briles' program has also been criticized for recruiting or accepting transfer players without regard to the harm they might cause fellow students.

Starr rode the waves of the program's success, and often ran on the football field with Baylor students in pregame ceremonies. But as investigations began into the school's handling of sexual assault allegations against players, Starr provided only brief comments, even as criticism of the school mounted.

In a February statement issued by university, Starr said "our hearts break for those whose lives are impacted by execrable acts of sexual violence." And at a prayer breakfast last month, Starr told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "I am in favor of transparency. Stand up, take your medicine if you made a mistake."

Baylor's Board of Regents was recently briefed by a law firm hired to investigate how the school responded to assault incidents, and the school on Thursday released a summary of its findings. Starr initiated the review in 2015, after former football player Sam Ukwuachu was convicted of sexually assaulting a female soccer player.

Ukwuachu, who was convicted in 2015, transferred to Baylor after he was dismissed from Boise State. Ukwuachu's former girlfriend testified during his rape trial in Texas that he had struck and choked her when he attended Boise State.

Ukwuachu's former coach, Chris Peterson, now the coach at Washington, said he "thoroughly apprised" Briles about the circumstances of Ukuwachu's dismissal. Briles disputed that account, saying he talked with Peterson and there was no mention of the incident.

The school is also facing a federal lawsuit from a former student claiming the school was "deliberately indifferent" to rape allegations levied at a former football player Tevin Elliott, who was convicted in 2014 of sexually assaulting the woman.

The uproar following Ukwuachu's conviction caused Baylor to initiate the review by the Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton, and to announce a $5 million effort to improve efforts on how it responds to sexual assault, including adding another investigator and more staff.

But the Ukwuachu case was just the start of months of revelations of football players being involved in violent incidents with little or no repercussions. At least seven other woman have publicly come forward to say the school ignored their sexual assault allegations.

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Josh Hart discusses NBA draft process, returning to Villanova

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Josh Hart discusses NBA draft process, returning to Villanova

Josh Hart said the decision wasn’t easy.

But he’s happy with it.

After withdrawing his name from the NBA draft to return to school (see story), Hart is excited to focus on Villanova, graduation and then the NBA dream.

“I love the school, I love the teachers, the student body, the support, my teammates that we have coming back,” the 6-foot-5 guard said Wednesday on Comcast SportsNet’s Philly Sports Talk. “So it was a tough one and I just thought at the end of the day, I think going back for my senior year would be in the best interest of my parents and myself.”

As a junior, Hart helped Villanova win its second national championship in program history by leading the Wildcats in scoring with 15.5 points per game while shooting 51.3 percent from the field.

Hart received plenty of feedback from NBA teams. He said shooting and ball handling are what he hopes to improve.

As far as his draft stock …

“There were teams interested maybe in the first [round], and then there were teams that said they would take me in the second,” Hart said. “But there’s a whole month before the draft, a lot of teams didn’t know exactly what they were doing with their picks — whether they were trying to trade up for a pick, trying to trade down, trying to trade a pick for a player. Several teams said that they would take me.”

For more from Hart on the draft and Villanova, watch the video above.

Delaware hires Martin Ingelsby as new head basketball coach

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Delaware hires Martin Ingelsby as new head basketball coach

Delaware has its new head basketball coach in Martin Ingelsby.

Ingelsby, a native of Berwyn, Pennsylvania, comes from Notre Dame, where he played from 1997-2001 and coached for 13 seasons, seven as an assistant.

Ingelsby played his high school ball at Archbishop Carroll and is the son of Tom Ingelsby, who played for Villanova from 1970-73.

Delaware is coming off a 7-23 season and 2-16 mark in CAA play, which led to the firing of head coach Monte Ross.

The Blue Hens, who announced the hire Tuesday, will formally introduce Ingelsby in a press conference Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Bob Carpenter Center Auditorium.