But why is O’Brien so confident?
The NCAA sanctions placed on Penn State still allow players to transfer to another FBS school without sitting out the year.
This offer was obviously very enticing to some players last year, including Silas Redd and Justin Brown most notably.
So what makes this year different, and more specifically what are the best reasons why players should stay?
Here’s a list that starts with the present then leads to how staying in Happy Valley can affect a player’s future.
This all began last summer with Penn State’s senior team leaders making this video.
The team and the community all got behind the Lions and a #OneTeam sign added to Beaver Stadium.
With Penn State looking to get past its dark past, this #OneTeam mantra kept the team together as the community began to gather behind it.
Now this #OneTeam concept is now an emblem in which fans back their team.
This kind of support isn’t something a player can get anywhere, and it’s a key reason why players should stay.
As O’Brien found out in his first season with Penn State, the support for the team in Happy Valley is one of a kind.
This sense of community can be one of O’Brien’s strongest arguments against any player leaving.
The Big Ten is one of the most competitive conferences in college football.
Both the SEC and Pac-12 are very competitive as well, but the Big Ten brings its own brand of football.
Many honored and decorated players have come out of the conference, and it seems to produce All-Pro linemen every season.
Playing in the Big Ten conference puts players on a big stage against top talent.
Being in a conference such as the Big Ten gets players ready to play in the NFL.
Any player looking to leave Penn State doesn’t guarantee they will face a Big Ten schedule such as Penn State does.
The Big Ten is a power conference, and transferring out of that can hinder the future of any player.
Tied directly into playing in the Big Ten is exposure.
Most Big Ten games are broadcast regionally, if not nationally, leading to introduction to a wide audience.
The Big Ten has its own television network that plays highlights and games throughout the regular season.
Getting your name out into the football world is a key part for any player that is looking to play at the next level.
Ultimately, many players have big stakes in getting their name out there. For example, Matt McGloin went from an unknown walk on to being interviewed by Kirk Herbstreit in little more than a year.
The fact is that McGloin played on a bigger stage and was afforded more exposure.
Now he is in NFL rookie camp trying to sign with a team.
That is what the kind of exposure at Penn State can offer players.
Bill O’Brien joined the New England Patriots’ coaching staff in 2007 and helped guide a Tom Brady-led offense to the Superbowl in 2011.
Through his time with New England, O’Brien has strong connections with the NFL.
Along with O’Brien’s connections, Penn State has a long list of recent players that have played or are currently playing at the next level.
All of this translates to a better chance to find a spot on an NFL roster.
In fact, adding the previous two slides with the NFL connections from both O’Brien and former players makes for an environment very conducive to producing drafted players.
For many young college football players, getting a chance to play professional football is a lifelong dream.
One of the best arguments that O’Brien can make is that Penn State can help make that dream a reality.