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Penn State Transfers: Latest Buzz on Silas Redd and Other Potential Departures

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistJuly 24, 2012

Penn State Transfers: Latest Buzz on Silas Redd and Other Potential Departures

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    The NCAA's sanctions against Penn State's football program allow current players to transfer from the university immediately with no penalty, and permission-to-contact rules have been lifted for any college coach hoping to nail down their services.

    This will be the buzz in Happy Valley for weeks to come. Nittany Lions fans will be on edge as they wait to see which players will stay and who will decide to move on to greener pastures.

    Let's take a look at the latest buzz surrounding Penn State's current players.

Ryan Nowicki Heading to Illinois

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    Offensive lineman Ryan Nowicki has punched his ticket out of Happy Valley and will be finishing his college football career with Illinois.

    Richard Obert of the Arizona Republic reported the sophomore's decision via Twitter.

    OL Ryan Nowicki just told Illinois coaches he will be playing for them, leaving Penn State

    — Richard Obert (@azc_obert) August 2, 2012

    Nowicki red-shirted during his freshman season. He was a three-star recruit out of Glendale, Arizona, according to Rivals.com.

    Obert noted in an earlier post that Illinois was not the only school interested in Nowicki, but used a strategy he described as a "full-court press" to bring the lineman to Champaign. 

Khairi Fortt Defecting to Cal

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    Khairi Fortt, starting linebacker for the Penn State Nittany Lions has decided to take the NCAA up on their offer to allow all players to transfer to another Division-I program.

    The junior linebacker is bringing his talents to Berkeley, California where he will become the newest member of the Cal Golden Bears football program.

    According to Fortt’s father (via ESPN), the young man had almost 40 offers on the table in the aftermath of the Penn State sanctions.

    Dave Ruden, sportswriter for the Stanford Advocate, caught up with the middle LB and asked about his decision. This is what Fortt had to say:

    “Basically I wanted to take a leap of faith and trust in God. This is what's right for me and my family. The way you go through life is the way you handle adversity. The friends I've made here are friends for life. Some people have different paths.”

    When asked how he feels about leaving his former team, Fortt was extremely respectful.

    "Coach O'Brien and his staff have brought a whole new energy. It has been a great 7 months. They have improved the intensity a lot. It's just unfortunate I have a different route I have to take. This is no disrespect to them or a reflection on Coach O'Brien.”

    While the linebacker is heading to California this week, it may take some time for him to actually see the field. According to Ruden, there is a chance that Fortt redshirts as he isn’t fully healthy from knee surgery.

    Fortt said he is leaving for Cal Sunday. Still recovering from knee surgery. Still possibility he could redshirt. #PennState #Cal #GoBears

    — Dave Ruden (@DaveRuden) August 1, 2012

    Keep it tuned here for the latest news, information, updates, opinions and analysis on Khairi Fortt and other players departing from Penn State after the NCAA levied massive penalties on the university.  

Rob Bolden Has Sights Set on the Bayou

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    UPDATE: Tuesday, July 31 at 7:54 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

    We already had a pretty good idea of where Rob Bolden's status stood in Happy Valley courtesy of The Daily Collegian:

    PSU spokesman Jeff Nelson has confirmed "Rob Bolden is not on the roster at this time." He declined to comment on Bolden's future plans.

    — Collegian Footblog (@psufootblog) July 30, 2012

    But now we can add to the reports concerning Bolden's future destination. Times Picayune reporter Jim Kleinpeter reported this on Tuesday:

    Former #PennState QB Rob Bolden expected to report to #LSU for fall practice on Wednesday, source says. #secfootball. nola.com/lsu/index.ssf/…

    — Jim Kleinpeter (@JimKleinpeter) July 31, 2012

    This shouldn't come as a surprise. Like I said earlier, we knew Bolden was on his way out. We even knew that he was visiting LSU's campus, but this adds further evidence to his exact situation. 

    Bolden struggled mightily in two years with the Nittany Lions, and it's hard to see his fortunes change against bigger, faster SEC defenses. 

Silas Redd to Leave Penn State

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    UPDATE: Tuesday, July 31 at 5:52 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

    ESPN's Joe Schad reported Penn State's long feared, and worst-case scenario, transfer via Twitter on Tuesday:

    Silas Redd to USC. Official.

    — Joe Schad (@schadjoe) July 31, 2012

    This isn't terribly surprising. He was Penn State's best offensive player and their best NFL talent. USC had a definite hole in their depth chart, and Redd more than plugs that spot.

    The Trojans had five ball-carriers without a collegiate carry on their roster prior to Redd's decision, and his experience will be a welcome addition to their backfield rotation. 

    Last year he rushed for just over 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns. He gives an added punch to USC's talented offense and another body in their stable of athletes.

Silas Redd's Last Stand

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    UPDATE: Tuesday, July 31 at 12:20 p.m. EDT by Adam Wells

    After much deliberation, we appear to be nearing an end to the Silas Redd drama at Penn State. According to Joe Schad of ESPN, Redd is expected to meet with Bill O'Brien today with an official announcement coming shortly after that.

    Silas Redd probably will meet with BOB between 3 and 5 ET and we may have final announcement by 6 pm ET

    — Joe Schad (@schadjoe) July 31, 2012

    Schad reported on Monday that Redd was looking towards going to play at USC. He has been flirting with them since the NCAA announced the sanctions against Penn State. 

    At least now we might be able to put an end to all the wondering and look ahead to Redd playing football again. 

Silas Redd

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    UPDATE: Monday, July 30 at 6:30 p.m. EDT by Richard Langford

    With rumors still swirling that Silas Redd is leaning towards transferring to USC, ESPN's Joe Schad tells us that Redd and Penn State coach Bill O'Brien are expected to meet. 

    Expect Silas Redd to meet w Bill O'Brien in person tomorrow in State College

    — Joe Schad (@schadjoe) July 30, 2012

    Redd very well may enter that meeting planning on telling Bill O'Brien he is going to go to USC, or maybe he still has an open mind about the situation. Either way, it is time for O'Brien to get together his best recruiting pitch...for a player that is already on his team. 

    It is certainly a unique situation. 

     

    UPDATE: Thursday, July 26 at 1 p.m. EDT

    While there is no official word on Redd's status, ESPN's Joe Schad has reported that a meeting with USC head coach Lane Kiffin could be making the running back's future very complicated. 

    Here is what Schad reported about Redd and Kiffin's meeting:

    Penn State RB Silas Redd met with USC coach Lane Kiffin for three hours in Connecticut today and a source said "it went really well."

    — Joe Schad (@schadjoe) July 26, 2012

    Schad also offered this tidbit about how USC was going about courting Redd:

    USC laid out an extensive presentation on how Redd would fit in as USC, including Power Point presentation and video clips.

    — Joe Schad (@schadjoe) July 26, 2012

    Despite the USC love Redd is feeling, Schad also gave an update from Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien about any future plans:

    Asked if he had an update on Redd, O'Brien said "No."

    — Joe Schad (@schadjoe) July 26, 2012

    Things will get very interesting with Redd over the weekend, so stay tuned. 

    --------END OF UPDATE-------------

     

    Desmond Conner, a reporter for The Hartford (Conn.) Courant, claims Silas Redd will stay in Happy Valley this season and enter the NFL draft next year.

    Hearing #PennState RB Silas Redd, of Stamford, is staying put for this season then possibly on to #NFLDraft

    — Desmond Conner (@desmondconner) July 24, 2012

    Although there's been speculation that Redd could head to the University of Southern California, Conner knows the area and likely knows what's going on with Penn State's best Connecticut native.

    A report on USCfootball.com states the mutual interest between the two parties. The report mentions Redd's connection to several members of the USC roster including fellow Connecticut product quarterback Max Wittek.

    Redd would certainly compete for time with the Trojans alongside Curtis McNeal, but Penn State fans would be happy to see him stay.

Penn State Suffers First Official Defection

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    The first Nittany Lion has officially departed Happy Valley. According to NBC Sports reporter John Taylor, redshirt freshman safety Tim Buckley will move on from the program.

    In a press release, North Carolina State announced that safety Tim Buckley has transferred from the Nittany Lions to the Wolfpack  Because of the NCAA sanctions, Buckley will be eligible to play immediately in 2012.

    The report then goes on to state Buckley's connections to the Wolfpack program. He played high school football in North Carolina so he will have a chance to play in front of a comfortable crowd. 

    Buckley wasn't expected to receive a ton of time for Ted Roof's defense this year, but this is more about symbolism. Buckley is the first player to announce his departure, and that's really the first negative result of the NCAA's sanctions thus far.

    Stay tuned for more updates as this situation works itself out.

Robert Bolden Visits LSU

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    Penn State quarterback Rob Bolden went on an official visit to LSU this weekend, becoming yet another addition to a laundry list of Nittany Lions who may be finishing their college football careers elsewhere, according to NOLA.com.

    Update: Sunday, July 29 at 10:30 p.m. EDT by Sam Quinn

    The chances of Bolden playing for Penn State next season are bleaker than ever. According to the PSU football blog (via Twitter) Bolden is not on the roster:

    PSU spokesman Jeff Nelson has confirmed "Rob Bolden is not on the roster at this time." He declined to comment on Bolden's future plans.

    — Collegian Footblog (@psufootblog) July 30, 2012

    There is no concrete information other than Bolden's absence from the roster, but it certainly can't be comforting to the Penn State football program that another player seems to be on the cusp of departure for another team.

    Losing Bolden wouldn't be catastrophic for the team, but it's not a good thing that players will have to deal with swirling rumors regarding their teammates' prospective exits.

    ---End of Update---

     

    PSU players who decide they want to transfer will not be forced to sit out next season as part of the sanctions that were imposed upon the program by the NCAA.

    Bolden had a mediocre 2010, throwing for 1,360 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions, while playing in just seven full games before suffering an injury.

    Bolden regressed in 2011 behind Matt McGloin, who was named the starter after his injury. He threw for just two touchdowns and posted a sub-40 completion percentage over 135 attempts.

    At 6'3", 214 pounds, he has the frame to play in the SEC, but it remains to be seen whether he has the requisite skills to do so.

Anthony Fera Considering Texas

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    Forth Worth Star-Telegram reporter Jimmy Burch (per ESPN) is reporting that Anthony Fera has contacted the Texas Longhorns.

    ESPN reports that Penn St K/P Anthony Fera has contacted #Texas about possibility of transfer

    — Jimmy Burch (@Jimmy_Burch) July 26, 2012

    Fera made 14-of-20 field goals last season, while also handling punting duties. He averaged 42 yards per punt on the season, and he would be missed on the Penn State roster.

    Texas is thin at both kicking positions. Senior Alex King is joined by four freshman and two sophomores on the Longhorns' current depth chart. Fera would find playing time.

    The Nittany Lions would likely turn to Sam Ficken for placekicking duties. He could be asked to punt as well. He's a sophomore, and he made his only field-goal attempt last season.

    Penn State doesn't want to see any players leave, and this one hurts. The Nittany Lions offense isn't explosive, and Fera's leg allows them to play ball-control football. Without him Penn State's defense will play with its back against the wall on a more constant basis.

Coaches From All Over the Country Courting Penn State Players

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    UPDATE: Wednesday, July 25, 3:30 p.m. EDT by Eric Ball

    There have been a variety of ways coaches from other programs have been recruiting Penn State players in the last few days.

    To nobody’s surprise, former Pittsburgh and current Arizona State coach Todd Graham is among the coaches courting Penn State players.

    According to Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic, a list has been sent to the Nittany Lions of players the school would like to contact.

    Among the players on the list, according to the report, is Glendale, Arizona native Ryan Nowicki, an offensive lineman. CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman reports that linebackers Ben Kline and Nyeem Wartman are also on the list, which makes sense considering the Sun Devils lost four players at the position from last year.

    While Arizona State may be sending lists, Big Ten rival Illinois decided to show up on Penn State’s campus to actively recruit players.

    ESPN.com’s Joe Schad and Don Van Natta recount the scene Wednesday at State College:

    [Penn State head coach Bill] O'Brien and his colleagues walked past a group of six coaches carrying University of Illinois bags and suitcases. A Penn State official told ESPN.com that no words were exchanged between O'Brien and the Illinois contingent. O'Brien declined to identify the players who have been offered up to 50 scholarships, but Illinois assistant athletic director Kent Brown acknowledged a group of Fighting Illini coaches are on Penn State's campus to recruit "a player or two—maybe more."

    The report states that O’Brien has acknowledged some of his players have received "as many as 50 scholarships offers" from other teams.

    While this may be a cruel reminder of how cutthroat college recruiting can be, something doesn’t seem right with the way some schools are going about the process.

    ---------End of Update----------

Student-Athletes Release a Statement

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    UPDATE: Wednesday, July 25, 12:20 p.m. EDT by Donald Wood

    While there have been serious questions raised about which star athletes in the Penn State football program would jump ship after the NCAA sanctions came down, some positive news has come to light.

    About 25 student athletes came out Wednesday and issued a statement saying that they would stand behind their school through the toughest of times.

    PSU’s official YouTube page released footage of the players' statement.

    As tough as the next four years will be for Penn State, the words expressed in this video show that many of the student athletes are sticking by their program.

    While most college football fans would not have hard feelings toward a football player if he wanted to take his talent elsewhere in search of bowl games and national championships, that's not the case for the many Nittany Lions in this situation.

    Instead, these young men have decided to stand tall with their fellow Nittany Lions and take this as a challenge. There will be some players that leave the program, but it appears that many will stay in Happy Valley.

    ---------End of Update----------

Michael Zordich

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    Michael Zordich is staying at Penn State, according to WPVI-TV sportscaster Jeff Skversky.

    Michael Zordich tells @6abc his son Michael, who is a @PennStateFball Senior will not transfer. Zordich will play 1 more year at PSU

    — Jeff Skversky (@JeffSkversky) July 24, 2012

    Zordich entered Happy Valley as a linebacker, but has switched to fullback during his Penn State career. He hasn't been used a lot (35 carries in three years), but he has found the end zone five times since 2010.

    You have to think that Zordich's senior status has a lot to do with his decision. He's shed a lot of blood, sweat and tears in Beaver Stadium.

    Zordich's departure would have been surprising. He wouldn't command his current leadership position at any other campus in the country.

Gerald Hodges

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    Losing Gerald Hodges would be a major blow to Penn State's defense, but he doesn't appear to be going anywhere.

    According to CollegeFootballNews.com reporter Rich Cirminiello, all indications point to Hodges' return to Happy Valley.

    Appears that #PennState LB Gerald Hodges will NOT be transferring...too disruptive ... will tough it out, prepare for career in NFL

    — Rich Cirminiello (@RichCirminiello) July 24, 2012

    Hodges has been named to multiple award watch lists for this coming season. He's one of the best all-around linebackers in the country, and any program would be lucky to have him.

    It looks like Hodges will not disrupt his current college situation.

Matt McGloin

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    Matt McGloin is adamant about his commitment to Penn State's football program, according to WPVI-TV sportscaster Jeff Skversky.

    Penn State QB Matt McGloin is staying at PSU: "Even though these penalties are extremely harsh, I am a Nittany Lion and will remain on"

    — Jeff Skversky (@JeffSkversky) July 24, 2012

    McGloin threw more interceptions than he did touchdowns last season, but his loyalty will be appreciated by Bill O'Brien. He's a veteran player, and Penn State will take any players they can at this point.

    This is one decision that doesn't seem remotely close to the fence. Expect to see McGloin behind center.

Khairi Fortt

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    Khairi Fortt could be the next Nittany Lion to jump ship.

     

    UPDATE: July 31 at 2:30 p.m. EDT by Ben Chodos

    Reports claiming that linebacker Khairi Fortt is California-bound may not be accurate.

    CBS Sports' Bryan Fischer reported via Twitter that Fortt's father denies that his son's mind is made up.

    RT @daveruden: Just spoke to Khairi Fortt's father, who said the report that Khairi has decided to transfer to Cal is untrue

    — Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) July 31, 2012

    The Nittany Lions still have hope of retaining their talented tackler. As this situation shows, the Penn State transfer drama remains wild and unpredictable.

    ---END UPDATE---

     

    UPDATE: July 31 at 1:20 p.m. EDT by David Daniels

    Ryan Gorcey of Rivals reported that the now-former Nittany Lion linebacker is moving west. He tweeted.

    SOURCE: Khairi Fortt has decided to transfer from #PennState to #Cal.

    — Ryan Gorcey (@RGBearTerritory) July 31, 2012

    Out of Connecticut, Rivals rated Fortt as the nation's No. 5 linebacker in the class of 2010.

    Translation: that hurts. And when a player as talented as Fortt leaves, others usually follow. Penn State will feel the pain of this loss in the future while California will reap its benefits.

    ---END UPDATE---

     

    Khairi Fortt has a chance to finish the last two years of his college football career someplace else, but it appears that he's still weighing his options. Stamford Advocate reporter Dave Ruden had this to say concerning Fortt's future in Happy Valley:

    Guy Fortt said UConn, California & Baylor schools pursuing Khairi the heaviest. Guy also said he's impressed with new #PennState coaches.

    — Dave Ruden (@DaveRuden) July 24, 2012

    Fortt is certainly an intriguing player. He's incredibly talented, but has never really gotten his chance to play behind Penn State's star-studded linebacking corps.

    You can expect several schools to give Fortt a call. He would start for most schools, and he has everything to gain from a change of scenery.

Garry Gilliam

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    Tight end Garry Gilliam appears to be staying based on a Twitter conversation on Sunday.

    @CL_PAYNE getting my multiple degrees sir, I don't major in football

    — Garry Gilliam™ (@GarryGilliam89) July 22, 2012

    Gilliam's response is aimed at a barb toward his "majoring in football."  Penn State is an academic institution, and it's important for everyone to keep that in perspective. Gilliam's response was well-timed and true.

    He stood up for himself and the academic integrity of his university, and he had every right to.

Nyeem Wartman

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    UPDATE: Friday, July 27 at 3:10 p.m. EDT by Ben Chodos

    Penn State recruit Nyeem Wartman announced on Twitter that he would honor his commitment to the Nittany Lions. 

    I will remain at #PennState ... I don't run from a fight, i embrace them. #WEARE #LBU #PENNSTATEPROUD #RESTORETHEROAR

    — Nyeem Wartman (@Ny_PSU_9) July 27, 2012

    Wartman is a 6'3", 220-pound linebacker who was given three stars by Rivals.com. He did not come to his decision lightly. 

    George Howanitz—Wartman's coach at Valley View High School in Archbald, Pennsylvania—said the following, via Joby Fawcett of the Scranton Times-Tribune.

    When I talked to him when everything came out (Monday), I think he had a lot of different emotions. He didn’t know what to do. Then they had those team meetings and that helped him get through. I think that a lot of the players said they were going to stay and that helped him make his decision.

    Wartman is following the lead of the upperclassmen in keeping his promise to Penn State and refusing to back down from adversity.

    --------END OF UPDATE-------------

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