UPDATE: JUSTIN BROWN TO MEET WITH BILL O’BRIEN ON FRIDAY AFTERNOON.
Following the departures of running back Silas Redd and kicker/punter Anthony Fera, wide receiver Justin Brown could be the third Penn State starter to defect from the team.
Once originally thought to be considering Illinois and Cincinnati, it appears that Brown will play in 2012 at either Penn State or Oklahoma. While a transfer to Cincinnati or Illinois wouldn’t make much sense on the surface, catching passes in Bob Stoops’ wide open offense from NFL-hopeful QB Landry Jones could be seen as a way to bolster Brown’s professional stock.
However, new Penn State wide receivers coach Stan Hixon may be capable of that, himself. Hixon was the receivers coach at LSU when Josh Reed won the Biletnikof Award for being the top WR in college football. He was also in charge of the position for the Buffalo Bills during the emergence of both Steve Johnson and David Nelson, both of whom came from off the radar to have breakout seasons.
Over the last two seasons, Brown has averaged 34 catches for less than 500 yards and has 3 total touchdowns in that time. Part of that is certainly due to the lackluster play at QB.
While losing a starting wide receiver is damaging on the surface, Penn State is very deep and athletic at the position. Brown says he does not have a timetable set for a decision.
A much larger blow would be the loss of incoming freshman RB Akeel Lynch. The running back position is already thin and the Nittany Lions are not in great position to land a top prospect in the 2013 class.
Lynch was originally committed to Boston College before flipping to Penn State but Iowa appears to be his most likely destination if he leaves. Iowa has their own depth issues at RB and Lynch would be in line for immediate playing time, similar to his situation at PSU.
One source has indicated that Lynch is “all but gone” but as I’m writing this, he remains on the roster.
The departure of Lynch would leave Curtis Dukes and Bill Belton as the only two running backs on scholarship.