In the first 24 hours or so after the NCAA announced the sanctions on Penn State, there was a feeding frenzy expected for Penn State football players who had the freedom to transfer without sitting a year. Some top targets are almost viewed as rentals — juniors and seniors.
No surprise that PSU Coach Bill O’Brien is putting on a brave front, and talking of keeping the players together. It’s not so easy with the present recruiting class, as you would expect. But so far it seems to be working with plenty of present players saying they are not leaving.
Starting quarterback Matt McGloin, starting cornerbacks Stephon Morris and Adrian Amos, running back Bill Belton and wide receiver Allen Robinson all said they are staying at Penn State through social media.
Offensive tackle Mike Farrell, a Shady Side Academy graduate, and Fox Chapel product Miles Dieffenbach each told the Tribune-Review that they will remain at Penn State.
This shouldn’t be a big surprise. It also shouldn’t stop coaches at other schools from staying in touch with these players. This is a year-long courtship. Not a two week window.
Think about this. The sanctions have just been handed down. There is less than 2 weeks before training camp opens. You really think a lot of kids are going to be comfortable and able to easily make a life-changing decision to change schools this soon. After spending most of the past 6-11 months with an “us-versus-them” mentality about the whole Penn State scandal? After getting to know the new coaching staff for the past 7 months? There is to be a huge fallout right away? They are going to up-and-go somewhere else this close to the start?
Most won’t go anywhere this year. And they don’t have to. Per the NCAA on Penn State players freedom:
Penn State football student-athletes can decide to transfer from now until the 2013 season (before participating in preseason practice with Penn State) and play immediately at the new school.
This is not a 2-week window to decided their entire future to stay or go. That would be insane and unfair. Emotions are too strong right now. Ties and loyalties still in place. They have this whole season to play at Penn State if they wish. And then they can re-evaluate what they want to do after their season ends on November 24. They will still be able to transfer without penalty for 2013.
They have a chance to play for Bill O’Brien. They can find out if he’s yet another pro coach in the college game along the lines of Weis, Wannstedt, Gailey, Sherman, Groh, etc. Guys that have the NFL pedigree but coach to a 7-5 mean in college. Find out for themselves if their campus life will be enough, when they know that the on-the-field stuff won’t get easier.
What happens after this season when a top assistant and recruiter like Larry Johnson, Sr. gets a slew of new offers. Yes, he’s a PSU alum, but will he sacrifice his own ambition for it?
That’s why I expect (hope) that Coach Chryst won’t stop staying touch with Diffenbach, Belton, Eugene Lewis and others. This will be playing out over the next 10-12 months, not just a week.
The hardest part for the Penn State coaches will be keeping the players after this season. Not keeping them before it.