Well, that was an interesting few hours yesterday, eh? I was in the car when the news broke, and found out by way of a text message from Tim, who got our story on the transfer up quickly. Before I go on any further about the ramifications of the move for the Lions, let me just say what a great kid Steven is. He has always been great to to VBR, and is just a real stand up person. Like all of his classmates who signed in 2012, during the heart of the storm, he will forever hold a special place in my mind. His dream is to start for an FBS school, and based on the comments by his father to The Patriot News, that won’t be the case at PSU. I hope all of you join in wishing Steven all the best wherever he ends up.
Now, what does Penn State do going forward? In the immediate future, it is of course turn to JUCO transfer Tyler Ferguson, and incoming star freshman Christian Hackenberg. Ferguson was good, bad, and everything in between in the public’s first glimpse at the sophomore from California in the Blue-White Game. Hackenberg has long been seen as a future star at quarterback, but Wednesday’s revelation might could make that future much sooner than anyone would have anticipated. It had long been expected that either Bench or Ferguson would start, with the other backing up, and Hackenberg redshirting. Now, PSU will be going just 2 deep with scholarship QBs, while run ons D.J. Crook and Austin Whipple will be joined by Jack Seymour this summer lay in reserve.
If the talk is true, and O’Brien plans to work both Hackenberg and Ferguson with the first team, it would seem pretty clear that Hackenberg is a legit contender to start this fall. And even if he does not, he’s likely just a snap away from playing, and burning any possible redshirt.
Moving forward, all that talk of whether or not PSU needs a QB in the 2014 recruiting class goes out the window. Unless Seymour impresses on his arrival, PSU needs a 3rd scholarship quarterback. The first choice is very clearly IMG Academy signal caller Michael O’Connor, who visited PSU earlier this spring, and picked up an offer shortly after. O’Connor said at the time that Charlie Fisher and O’Brien told him they were only taking 1 QB this year, and he was their top choice. Indications earlier this month were O’Connor intended to make his decision sooner rather than later as well.
OBrien should also be commended for the timing of this. While it leaves PSU is a bit of a quandry from a depth standpoint, he was also very upfront with Bench. He could have very easily waited until the fall when all 3 were in camp, when the transfer rules revert back to “normal”. Instead of that, he informed Bench of his decision as soon as it was made, allowing him to transfer without losing a year, as well as when other programs are not as set with their own rosters as they would be by the fall.
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