Noah Cain Already Showing ‘Flashes Of Really Good Things’
Less than three months after coming to Penn State as the No. 6 high school running back in the country, Noah Cain is already preparing to battle for carries in Happy Valley.
Sophomores Ricky Slade and Journey Brown are two promising young running backs on Penn State’s roster that seem to be ahead of Cain on the depth chart, but that hasn’t stopped the early enrollee from impressing his coaches and teammates.
Slade got plenty of carries last season while backing up Miles Sanders. The 5’9″ speedster ran for 247 yards and six touchdowns in 2018, including a 27-yard burst for a score in his collegiate debut against Appalachian State.
Brown didn’t get as many opportunities as Slade last season, getting only eight carries and scoring once. However, he’s taken reps with the first team early on in spring ball.
Another running back competing for carries is CJ Holmes, who sat out last season after transferring to Penn State from Notre Dame, so the competition to replace Sanders appears to be wide open.
Although he clearly has plenty of competition ahead of him, Cain has worked hard and already turned some heads so far. The IMG Academy product seems ready for college football from a physical standpoint. Standing at 5’10” and weighing 208 pounds, Cain won’t be an easy guy to bring down. To make matters worse for opposing defensive coordinators, Cain also has the speed to break free down the sidelines and in the open field.
He gave a glimpse of that in high school while competing against elite competition at IMG Academy in Florida. Cain put up huge numbers throughout his time there, including 47 career touchdowns and 3,751 total rushing yards.
“Noah Cain is picking up well. He’s looking good, too,” senior linebacker Cam Brown said at practice on Wednesday night. “He’s a little bigger than I thought he was going to be, honestly.”
Head coach James Franklin is happy with Cain’s progression so far. On top of Cain’s abilities on the field, plenty of intangible have stood out to Franklin.
Many first-year players tend to put too much pressure on themselves once they arrive at college. They expect things to fall right into place and may not have the patience to deal with fighting for a spot in the lineup. However, Franklin said this hasn’t been an issue with Cain. He’s had the right approach from the start, which is a promising sign out of the gate.
“He’s blended really well with the guys. He’s got a really good way about him,” Franklin said. “I kind of describe him as like an old soul with his demeanor. I see flashes of really good things from him.”
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As THON weekend approaches, a fundraising year like no other in THON history wraps up.
“Whether this team is a No. 3 seed or or a No. 4 seed, they’re going to have a real opportunity to be in the Sweet Sixteen. If you’re a Penn State basketball fan, that’s like the Final Four. That week of hype and attention gives a team a brand.”
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