Rumors were abound last night about Penn State junior wide receiver leaving practice for undisclosed reasons. Today, Bill O’Brien has confirmed that the 6’1″ 198 pound Kersey is indeed no longer with the football team.
I’m told that following an exchange with head coach O’Brien, Kersey left practice and has now left the team “for personal reasons.” He had recorded six catches for 44 yards this year but had only one of those catches in the matchup last weekend against Virginia. In 2011, he recorded just five catches for 108 yards but was expected to play a more prominent role in the offense following the departures of Derek Moye, Justin Brown and Devon Smith.
Wide receiver is one of the few positions of depth for the Nittany Lions, though it is also a position of youth. The theory is that redshirt freshman Matt Zanellato will be the first player in line to benefit from the departure of Kersey. Matt doesn’t possess the speed that Kersey does, but he has terrific hands and is a big target at 6’3″ 200 pounds.
This move could force freshman standout Eugene “Geno” Lewis into action, despite O’Brien’s desire to redshirt him. Another freshman wideout, Trevor Williams, could also see his playing time increase in the absence of Kersey.
If there’s one thing this team is accustomed to, it’s adversity. While Shawney Kersey was a veteran of this team, he had been involved in issues while Joe Paterno was head coach and was good friends with other departed players, Curtis Drake and Derrick Thomas. His off-field issues had played a part in him only having 12 career receptions during his time at Penn State.
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