Dakota Royer leaves the football team, but stays enrolled at Penn State

Linebacker Dakota Royer is leaving the Penn State football program.

In a statement obtained by Blue-White Illustrated, Royer said that he became the latest casualty of players leaving the sanction-hit program to focus on his academics. A redshirt sophomore, Royer was considered a tight end on the Nittany Lions roster but was recruited by the program as a defensive end and then made the move to outside linebacker. He will remain on a scholarship and plans to graduate next spring.

"Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, it is with great regret that I feel it necessary to remove myself from the team," Royer said in the statement. "I want to thank my teammates for their support and camaraderie, as well as Coach O'Brien and his staff for the opportunity. I will exercise my rights from the NCAA and continue my education at Penn State, and plan to graduate in May. My best wishes go out to the team for a very successful football season."

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a program source said that Royer was frustrated with the football situation at Penn State and that the coaching staff "had killed the game for him." Considered the No. 10 player in the state of Pennyslvania for the class of 2010, Royer was a four-star recruit out of Manheim Central High School.

Royer is taking advantage of remaining on his football scholarship while no longer being on the team's roster. Under the NCAA sanctions handed down last month as part of Penn State's cover-up of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, student-athletes on the football team can chose to leave the program and still retain their scholarship. Royer is the first player to take advantage of this opportunity.

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