When Penn State running back Silas Redd checks his Twitter mentions Monday evening, this is some of what he'll find.
A note from a UConn fan encouraging him to "come to UConn now" to take advantage of available playing time at running back. A message from an Oregon supporter urging him to join Kenjon Barner in the backfield to give the Ducks a potent one-two punch. And best of all, a doctored photo of Redd clad in a Tennessee uniform from a Vols fan eager to see the Doak Walker Award nominee in orange next season.
Redd, like every current Penn State player or incoming recruit, essentially became the college football version of a free agent Monday morning when the NCAA hit the program with unprecedented sanctions as a result of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Since the Nittany Lions cannot play in a bowl game the next four years, their players are free to bolt for another school at any time during that window without having to sit out a year as is customary for transfers.
CBSSports.com reported that Penn State has virtually no ability to restrict their current players from transferring just weeks before the start of fall camp. Players must only inform Penn State of their interest in exploring their options and opposing coaches need only to send the Nittany Lions a list of players they intend to pursue.
It's unclear how many Penn State players will consider leaving since they aren't talking to the media, but it's safe to say some of the Nittany Lions' stars will have plenty of options to consider.
Redd, a junior, rushed for 720 yards in one five-game stretch last season. Gerald Hodges, an all-league linebacker last year, posted 106 tackles, including 10 for a loss. And Michael Mauti, a talented but injury-prone linebacker, is healthy enough to be an asset to someone next season whether it's at Penn State or elsewhere.
The first casualty for Penn State after Monday's sanctions from the NCAA is cornerback Ross Douglas, a high school senior from the Cleveland area who announced he's backing out of his commitment shortly after the penalties were revealed. Douglas, a four-star recruit, initially chose Penn State in February.
If current players are also going to head elsewhere, they'll have to decide in a hurry. Fall camp starts in early August and there are visits to be made and paperwork to be filled out before any departures could become official.
One Penn State player who won't be leaving is cornerback Stephon Morris, who tweeted Monday, "I'm not going anywhere. We Are Penn State forever. That's final!! Love this University, more important I bleed Blue & White!!"
The loyalty from Morris is commendable. In the coming days, we'll see if his teammates feel as strongly about Penn State as he does.
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