Penn State Football: OL Ryan Nowicki Transfers to Illinois, Seriously, Illinois?

Adam JacobiBig Ten Football Lead WriterAugust 2, 2012

The Penn State transfer train keeps churning along, but after the hullabaloo surrounding the coaches' aggressive recruiting tactics came up last week—to the point that Jim Delany had to bring it up in a meeting with coaches and athletic directors prior to Big Ten Media Days on Thursday—one of the last teams anybody expected to see coming up with a transfer from Happy Valley was Illinois, one of the biggest aggressors toward Penn State's players.

And yet, redshirt freshman Ryan Nowicki, an offensive tackle from Glendale, AZ, wants out of Penn State—and he's calling the Illini's number.

Here's more from the Patriot-News:

It was a matter of when, not if, that red-shirt freshman Ryan Nowicki would transfer from Penn State, and Thursday afternoon became the when, as reports circulated that the offensive lineman has left Penn State, and is headed to Illinois. Nowicki's name has been taken off the official Penn State online roster, and he is the first player to transfer within the Big Ten conference.

The Arizona Republic's Richard Obert was the first to report the news, tweeting "OL Ryan Nowicki just told Illinois coaches he will be playing for them, leaving Penn State."

In terms of immediate impact, this isn't going to affect Penn State very much. Nowicki wasn't on the post-spring two-deeps, and out-of-state guys like him are often susceptible to transfer whenever there's a coaching change at any program, regardless of whether or not the NCAA is currently beating the program senseless with a baseball bat.

And yet the Illinois brand would seem so toxic because of the Illini's tactics that it's no small shock that Nowicki ended up going there. He had listed the Illini as a favorite as of last week, per the Arizona Republic, but Nowicki was also considering other schools that were both closer to home and less of a "not a good look" factor.

Also, remember how graciously Penn State players accepted the departure of Silas Redd to USC? Redd was a guy who meant a lot to the success of the 2012 team; Nowicki probably wasn't. But whereas the support for Redd was near universal, Nowicki doesn't quite have the same level of support from his teammates.


One thing u don't do is Jump from big ten school to another big ten school.

— Stephon Morris (@12_darKnight) August 2, 2012


Mr. Morris will likely be upset, then, to learn that incoming freshman tailback Akeel Lynch is deciding between staying at Penn State and transferring to Iowa. That decision's coming by Sunday, according to The Gazette

So Illinois—who came after Penn State players with all the grace and care of a drunk man pawing anything with long hair at a bar at closing time—gets a transfer from PSU after all. What a world.