Penn State's offensive depth took another blow Saturday night with news that wide receiver Justin Brown will transfer to Oklahoma, just two days before Penn State opens summer training camp.
Joe Schad of ESPN.com reported via Twitter Brown plans to arrive in Oklahoma on Monday. Brown will have one year of eligibility and will be available to play right away for the No. 4 Sooners with the NCAA waiving the transfer rules and restrictions for any Penn State player looking to transfer following heavy sanctions against the Nittany Lions.
Brown caught 35 passes for 517 yards and two touchdowns for Penn State last season. Penn State now must replace their three leading receivers from 2011, with Derek Moye graduating, Brown transferring and Devon Smith previously being removed from the roster due to off-field issues.
At Oklahoma, Brown will be inserted in to an offense led by Heisman candidate Landry Jones at quarterback, who is an experienced and battle-tested player looking for a bit of redemption after last season. Oklahoma has already opened practice, but Brown should manage to catch up relatively quickly once he arrives. But the receiver position is clearly an area of some concern for Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops.
"The areas that we really have to [improve upon] and really work hard through two-a-days are receivers and tight ends, where we are inexperienced," Stoops said following practice on Saturday.
“When you only have one guy in Kenny Stills that’s in a position to play here in the first part of the season, those guys have to step up," Stoops added. "I’m encouraged in the first couple of days, the young freshman receivers look like a good and talented group and are really doing well."
With Brown heading to the Sooners, Stoops will hope that the veteran player will be able to help relieve the pressure on Stills and give some younger players some time to groom to the position.
Penn State has now lost nine players since the sanctions from the NCAA were issued. Running back Silas Redd remains the biggest loss, heading to USC. Quarterback Rob Bolden is now practicing with LSU. Linebacker Khairi Fortt is heading to Cal as the biggest loss on defense to this point.
Oklahoma opens the season as the fourth-ranked team in the USA Today coaches poll, and the Sooners received one first-place vote.
Kevin McGuire is the host of the No 2-Minute Warning podcast, managing editor of Nittany Lions Den and a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.