Penn State's three-man quarterback competition in 2013 has been trimmed to two.
Penn State announced Wednesday afternoon that quarterback Steven Bench has been granted a full release from his scholarship. Just days ago head coach Bill O'Brien was saying Bench will be in competition for the starting quarterback job in 2013 as spring practices wrapped up.
"I have been meeting with all the players this week with my evaluation of where they are at related to football and academics and to discuss what they need to work on this summer," O'Brien said in a statement released by the school via email and on the team's athletic website. "After meeting with Steven, he informed me he wants to play elsewhere. We want what is best for Steven. I want to thank him for his contributions to the program. We wish Steven the best in the future and will assist him anyway we can."
Bench played briefly in his freshman season behind Matt McGloin and had about the same production in the Blue-White game as junior college transfer quarterback Tyler Ferguson.
Penn State will now head in to the summer with Ferguson looking to compete with incoming freshman recruit Christian Hackenberg. Hackenberg is one of the top-rated quarterback recruits in the country in the Class of 2013, and it was possible Penn State would try to redshirt him in the fall. That possibility now looks like a long shot with depth concerns all of a sudden deeper than expected.
Bench is the fourth quarterback to transfer from Penn State in the past two years. Rob Bolden and Paul Jones each transferred last season, and Kevin Newsome transferred to Temple the previous season.