Regardless of what some of the Penn State internet writers would have you believe, not every Penn State performance is a tryout for “free agency” in the offseason. In fact, shows like the one that Allen Robinson is putting on this season may reinforce players decisions to remain at Penn State. Luckily for the current team, the players who left in July/August are proving to the current roster that the grass isn’t always greener.
First, Khairi Fortt (Cal) and Anthony Fera (Texas) are hurt, so we’ll take them out of the conversation.
Tight end Kevin Haplea left Penn State for Florida State, where he has one reception for three yards through three games. Meanwhile, five Penn State tight ends have at least one catch, including converted quarterback Paul Jones. Three of them have touchdowns. If you’re a tight end at Penn State, you’re going to see the field, you’re going to get targets and you’re going to get touchdowns. Still, Haplea does get to live in Florida and he does play on a good team.
Quarterback Rob Bolden left spring practice as the third string QB and transferred to LSU. He is listed as the third string QB on LSU’s roster, however, three different signal callers have thrown passes for the Tigers, and none of them are named Rob Bolden. He may be looking at a redshirt season. At Penn State, Matt McGloin is playing the best ball of his career and true freshman Steven Bench has moved up the depth chart and saw action against Virginia. O’Brien has shown that he will put the best players on the field regardless of everything else.
Justin Brown left for Oklahoma, where it was expected that playing in an offense with Landry Jones would bolster his draft stock and give him a shot at a championship. Through two games, Brown has six catches for 87 yards. Allen Robinson has had that many yards in each of the first three games. Would it be wise for a receiver to leave an offense where he is targeted double-digit times per game?
Silas Redd left for the chance to play for a national championship at USC. In their loss to Stanford last week, Redd had 13 carries for 17 yards. His dream of a national championship is still alive, but it will be an uphill climb. More people know Silas’ name now than they did three months ago, but that only goes so far.
Ryan Nowicki has not yet played in Illinois.
Tim Buckley hasn’t seen the field at North Carolina State.
Of course, these decisions are made based on more than just football. It’s small-minded of me or anyone else *COUGH*Ron Musselman*COUGH* to pretend otherwise. Ryan Nowicki had friends in the Chicago area. Tim Buckley, who would likely have seen significant snaps at Penn State by now, is from North Carolina. Redd, Brown, Bolden and Haplea all have shots (some more distant than others) at winning a national championship. They’ll likely all play, or at least travel to a bowl this season, as well.
On the other end of it, Silas Redd has been vocal about the negative aspect of his parents not being able to be his games. A transfer means leaving your teammates, friends and home. It means getting acclimated to new surroundings and a new campus, all while learning a new playbook and forming new relationships. It’s so much more than the “I’m good, they’re good, this will be easy” mentality that many people view it as.
Will guys like Allen Robinson and Deion Barnes be recruited this offseason? You better believe it. However, they should take a second to remember why it is that these schools are calling and who helped put them in that position. When you’re “the man” at one place, leaving to be “just another guy” at another may not be the best route. For the present or the future.
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