Despite Heavy Sanctions, Penn State Football Remains Largely Intact (For Now)

Penn State RB Silas Redd Is Likely Departing the Program. Who Else Will Join Him?

Remember last week when we thought the entire Penn State football team was headed for greener, less-sanctioned pastures? Well, for right now, it appears that will not be the case anymore.

Since the initial announcement of PSU’s “almost death-penalty” 62 current scholarship players have publicly stated they’re staying with the program (spreadsheet courtesy of Nittany Lions blog Black Shoe Diaries). Six top recruits from the class of 2013 all showed some impressive solidarity the other day when they reaffirmed their commitment to the school via Twitter. After all the doomsday predictions and sky-is-falling rhetoric about the beleaguered program, the first player to officially leave the program only did so yesterday.

But is that just the beginning of what may be a larger wave of fallout? Tim Buckley, former PSU safety and Raleigh native, officially jumped ship to his hometown NC State yesterday. While just a two-star player out of high school, Buckley was not sticking around to see how much playing time he could gain by other defections and now finds himself much closer to home (though not much closer to starting right now). Buckley’s departure may not make ripples in the big scheme of things, but it’s a warning shot for the other two big names in PSU transfer conversations.

Along with Buckley’s move to the Wolfpack, it was also reported that four-star DT Greg Webb, who’d previously provided a soft verbal commitment to Penn State, is now headed to North Carolina. Webb’s in extremely high regard as a prospect and potentially top-10 at his position nationally. He was not part of the contingent of six to declare their Twitter loyalty the other day. And obviously, neither was star running back Silas Redd. The team’s top rusher last year, Redd’s been considered as good as gone since last week and now, we may be able to confirm by today. If Redd heads to USC, it not only shores up the one truly weak area for the Trojans, but it may get some others rethinking their decisions to stick around.

Again, for the most part, Penn State’s current and future football team has stuck together and appear ready to rebuild the program under a new leader. But remember, this heavily sanctioned team has yet to play a game yet. Maybe — and this is completely hypothetical — after one 6-6 season in which the team is run through the media whipping cycle, players start to get tired. Perhaps the idea of not participating in the postseason doesn’t seem all that terrible to players now, but maybe it will after a season knowing you’ll get no rewards for your efforts. There’s also the ill-advised idea to schedule a 13th game in Hawaii each season (with what money, Bill O’Brien?!), which could also swing current players and recruits back in favor of the team. As much as it looks like this team may be out of the woods, there’s still plenty that can happen, with the pendulum easily swinging in any direction. If I’m an ACC head coach, I’m still keeping tabs on these players as the season begins.

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4 thoughts on “Despite Heavy Sanctions, Penn State Football Remains Largely Intact (For Now)

  1. Conventional wisdom says that since one player has been “the first” to go, others may now feel easier leaving. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but it could be.

    Penn State is going to continue to get players, because there are kids who have grown up loving PSU football, and the sanctions won’t change that. But I will be surprised if they get nearly as many four stars and up moving forward … many of those players will want to play in a bowl (understandably so) and will do what’s best for them, which is probably to go somewhere other than Penn State. The school may end up with recruiting classes that are much more composed of 2-star and 3-star athletes in the future, and may rarely pull in a four-star player for a while.

    If Pitt, Syracuse and Maryland (and perhaps Temple & Rutgers) can field strong teams, that will also give local PA players an option of a (relatively) local team to go to that is decent. Pitt is probably the best option (still in PA, and obviously very close to some of the HS players). Maryland may be the best option for Philly kids (yes, Rutgers and Temple are closer, but the Big East is not what it once was).

    I’d be surprised if PSU is able to schedule Hawaii. I don’t think the NCAA will go for that.

    • Right. Yeah, I definitely think there’s more to come in this story. Just hoping the kids who leave head east (ACC) instead of the midwest (B1G).

      I think the Hawaii thing can happen, only because it wasn’t specifically stated (as it was with USC) that they couldn’t do so. But again, where is that type of money coming from? They’re talking about more quality opponents. But who would schedule a game with PSU right now without demanding a hefty fee in return?

      • I can understand the “lower tier” teams (i.e. the “non-power conference” teams) scheduling Penn State. They’re still a big name, and they might think that people (the general public) would be rooting for them over PSU. They could potentially demand a home game in return (and bargain for a costly buyout clause). Who knows.

        With folks going to LSU, USC, Cal, NCSU, FSU, Rutgers … it looks like the rush to leave Penn State has begin.

        • Agreeing on that first point. And as we’ve both talked about, there’s still plenty more to see out of Penn State. Transfers are picking up steam and any top-tier player they’ve got left might start looking elsewhere. The second-stringers will likely be content with their new-found starting positions. More than anything though, surprised at the lack of local flavor we’re seeing from the transfers. Two CA schools, two Carolina schools (counting the decommit for UNC), LSU, FSU — ends up it’s the nationwide “free agency” that pundits predicted.

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