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Penn State lost another big recruit on Tuesday night as reports surfaced that 2013 offensive tackle prospect Dorian Johnson had decommitted from the Nittany Lions. Johnson was a key four-star recruit expected to anchor the offensive front for Bill O'Brien's once burgeoning 2013 class. Jeremy Sellew of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review first spread the news on Twitter:
— Jeremy Sellew (@jsellew10) August 8, 2012
@pantherlairBelle Vernon Area's Dorian Johnson announces decommitment from Penn State. Pitt back in running along with Ohio St. and VaTech
As the Trib's Scott Brown noted, Pitt could emerge as the likely landing spot for the Belle Vernon product. The Panthers' offensive coordinator, Joe Rudolph, is a Belle Vernon alum and will continue to work that angle with Johnson. Pitt was originally in Johnson's top two with the Nittany Lions before he made his initial commitment to PSU at the end of June.
Three key contributors reaffirmed their commitment to Penn State's football program on Friday night in a nice boost for coach Bill O'Brien. Touted freshman Akeel Lynch figures to play a role in the PSU backfield with Silas Redd now at USC. Lynch was considering a potential switch within the conference to Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa Hawkeyes, but he sent out a tweet saying he'll be donning a PSU uniform this fall. Via @ALynch_22:
Along with Lynch, senior Curtis Dukes is expected to get time in the backfield to make up for Redd's departure. Dukes was considering a transfer to Syracuse but he also confirmed to OrangeFizz.net that he will be staying in Happy Valley. Lastly, outside linebacker Mike Hull also decided against a transfer to Pitt in favor of staying on board with the Nittany Lions.
A day after losing running back Silas Redd, the Penn State football program watched another player walk away from the school. Incoming freshman defensive tackle Jamil Pollard will play for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights rather than the Nittany Lions, reports ESPN.
Pollard, who hails from New Jersey, had several offers on the table for his services. His former high school coach Clyde Folsom made the announcement regarding his former player.
"I just felt like part of him wanted to be at Rutgers from the very beginning," Folsom said. "And I just felt like this may have been an opportunity to make the move, and he did.
"I don't know if it was any of the sanctions against Penn State or if it was just an opportunity, or a combination of everything."
Rated a three-star prospect by ESPN, Pollard committed to Penn State as a junior, but had his scholarship revoked because of his grades.
SB Nation's college football hub is tracking the players leaving Penn State.
Former Penn State running back Silas Redd issued a lengthy text statement surrounding the announcement of his intent to transfer to USC. The star running back indicated how tough the past week has been, as he went back-and-forth on his decision to stay in Happy Valley or head to Los Angeles. Lane Kiffin and the Trojans' coaching staff clearly put the full-court press on Redd, and in the end he decided that a move to USC was the right decision for his future.
In his statement, Redd was effusive in his praise for the Nittany Lion football family and fan base, expressing his deep gratitude as he fulfilled a lifetime dream to play for PSU. Here's another snippet of his statement, which cited some of his reasoning for transferring, via Dave Ruden of the Stamford Advocate:
We have weighed the pros and cons of staying at Penn State and leaving Penn State, attending USC and not attending USC, and I can honestly say that, ultimately, this decision is about so much more than football. I continue to have aspirations for my life, and as my family and I considered the bigger picture - both on and off the field - it became clearer to me that USC will be the best fit for my academic, athletic, and personal needs over the next two years. I look forward to future successes, and to the continued support of everyone around me.
You can read the complete statement here.
Coming on the heels of Silas Redd's decision to transfer to USC, Penn State reportedly lost another player on the offensive side of the ball on Tuesday night when word came down that tight end Kevin Haplea had decided to transfer. Rich Scarcella reported the news for the Reading Eagle:
Kevin Haplea, the most experienced tight end on the Penn State roster, has decided to transfer, a source told the Reading Eagle.
Haplea visited Florida State last week, but it was unclear to where he will transfer.
Haplea played in every game the past two seasons but entered fall camp as the No. 2 "F" tight end of the depth chart. While it's not a major loss for the Lions, Haplea joins Rob Bolden and Redd as three offensive players exiting Happy Valley in the past two days.
After days of speculation, Penn State junior running back Silas Redd will transfer to USC, according to multiple reports on Tuesday afternoon.
Dave Ruden of the Stamford Advocate first reported the story.
Redd rushed for 1,241 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore last season for the Nittany Lions. But as part of NCAA sanctions levied by NCAA President Mark Emmert last week, which included a $60 million fine and a four-year postseason ban, all Penn State players are free to transfer without penalty.
The Connecticut native will, as a result, be eligible to play immediately for the Trojans this season.
He spent the past weekend visiting the USC campus, reportedly spending time with quarterback Matt Barkley and wide receiver Robert Woods.
In 2011, Fortt played in every game, recording six tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks over the course of the season. In the TicketCity Bowl against the Houston Cougars, Fortt recorded two tackles for loss, including a sack.
This is most likely not the last domino to fall when it comes to the players leaving Penn State because of the penalties handed down by the NCAA. Penn State has to wonder how many more players will depart.
Head coach Bill O'Brien added a late commit to Penn State' 2012 recruiting class on Thursday in Brennan Franklin, a 6-foot-2 linebacker from Peoria, Ariz. Franklin, who signed a tender offer, becomes the first player to commit to the Nittany Lions program in the wake of NCAA sanctions announced earlier this week.
He will be eligible to play this season but will likely redshirt and leaves for State College on Friday. Beforehand, he was set to play this season at Eastern Arizona College after receiving no offers from either in-state schools, Arizona or Arizona State, or any school from a BCS conference.
"It's a dream for every linebacker to play there," Franklin told the Arizona Republic.
"I know there's a mess out there, but it's one of the best schools to go to. If I went to New Mexico or New Mexico State or Indiana, they wouldn't be he going to a bowl game anyway. I get to play in stadium with 107,000 people. I get a great degree at the end of the day."
Penn State is currently facing a four-year postseason amid other penalties. Franklin, though, didn't appear overly concerned.
The first report of an active Penn State football player transferring has surfaced. There have been plenty of rumors about schools expressing interest in current Nittany Lions, but Bill O'Brien had yet to experience a defection. According to John Gambadoro, a radio host in Arizona, redshirt right tackle Ryan Nowicki will be transferring, likely within the conference to Illinois. Nowicki is a Phoenix-area native and was a three-start recruit in 2011, who will now likely be moving from State College to Champaign:
Penn State Redshirt freshman Right Tackle and Cactus product Ryan Nowicki has decided to transfer and is highly likely headed to Illinois— John Gambadoro (@Gambo620) July 24, 2012
Earlier on Tuesday, 2012 recruit Ross Douglas decommitted from PSU and announced his commitment to Michigan. Nowicki is the first player already in the program to leave.
New Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien can breathe a sigh of relief as Adam Breneman, the top tight end recruit in the country is sticking with Penn State according to Lions247, a site dedicated to covering recruiting at the university.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Breneman from Camp Hill, Pa., is not only O'Brien's best recruit, he's widely been considered the most important recruit in the 2013 class and his commitment to play his college ball in Happy Valley could be the glue that keeps the class together. Wide receiver Eugene Lewis, like Breneman, has already affirmed his commitment to playing football at Penn State next season.
The sanctions imposed by the NCAA on Monday is expected to affect not only incoming football players to the university, but also existing players as they are free to transfer schools without penalty and will be eligible to play immediately.
WNEP.com reports that Eugene Lewis, a top-rated wide receiver recruit from Wilkes-Barre, will honor his commitment to play ball for the Nittany Lions next year, according to his father, Reverend Eugene Lewis, Sr.:
"I definitely don`t think he`s struggling because 'Gene is the type of person, he`s committed to you, he`s committed to you and his relationship," said Lewis. "His character is just like that, he loves Penn State, he loves the campus, he loves everything about it."
On Monday morning, the NCAA announced the sanctions to be put on Penn State as a result of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal. The university was hit with a $60 million dollar fine, loss of scholarships, bowl bans for the next four seasons and vacating of 112 wins dating back to 1998. Recruits and current players are now allowed to leave Penn State without penalty, so it's significant that a high-profile recruit like Lewis is indicating he's willing to stay.
Coming on the heels of today's severe NCAA penalties, it was only a matter of time before rumors of potential Penn State transfers started trickling out. One of the first names to surface is star running back Silas Redd, who according to Joe Schad of ESPN, is mulling a transfer to Southern Cal. Via @SchadJoe:
PSU RB Silas Redd (1,241 yards) considering transfer to USC, per sources— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) July 24, 2012
Redd was certainly expected to be a face of the program on the field as it transitioned into the Bill O'Brien era. He's on the list as one of Penn State's attendees at Big Ten media day this week.
The junior has two years of eligibility remaining and rushed for over 1200 yards last season as a cornerstone of the Nittany Lions' offense. According to Schad, Redd met with head coach Bill O'Brien today. USC, however, has also notified PSU of its interest in pursuing Redd and bringing him on board in Los Angeles.
Greg Webb, a 6-foot-4, 290-pound defensive tackle recruit from the state of New Jersey, rescinded his commitment to begin playing college football in Happy Valley in 2013 and instead chose a point further south, Chapel Hill, at the University of North Carolina according to StateCollege.com.
Webb was sought after around the country from some of the biggest college football programs according to the report:
Webb had more than 30 scholarship offers from schools such as Alabama, Ohio State, Rutgers, Temple and Iowa, among several others, and was the seventh commit of Penn State's 2013 class.
With the release of the Freeh Report, Penn State's independent investigation into the culture and subsequent cover-up of Jerry Sandusky's involvement with minors by Joe Paterno and the university's administrators, only time will tell how this scandal will affect football recruiting, although the Webb decommitment may be unrelated:
Unlike many of the class figure heads such as Camp Hill tight end Adam Breneman, Webb was never particularly vocal following his commitment, and the combination of his family's plans to move farther south and Penn State's lack of interest in high school teammate Dajaun Drennon, likely played a larger role in his decommitment than Penn State's scandal.
The Nittany Lions' new leader has impressed many with recruiting success in the face of unprecedented turmoil. It's important, however, to keep his early results in proper context.