As the transfer portal continues to reshape the dynamics of college athletics, Penn State has seen a notable number of players seek new opportunities elsewhere. Whether driven by the pursuit of increased playing time, a change in the coaching staff, or personal considerations, these departures have contributed to the evolving composition of the Nittany Lions’ roster. By examining each player’s departure and the implications it holds for the team, we gain valuable insights into the impact of the transfer portal on Penn State and the broader landscape of collegiate sports. We present a detailed list of the 12 players who have left the Penn State football program via the transfer portal this offseason.
1. Christian Veilleux-QB (Pittsburgh) When Drew Allar and Beau Pribula were brought in last season and Allar beat out Veilleux to be the backup for Sean Clifford, this became one of the easily anticipated departures imagined. What might have caught some people by surprise was the destination of Pitt. He immediately moves into a battle for the starting QB spot with fellow transfer Phil Jurkovec and Nate Yarnell. After their spring camp, however, it looks as though he was relegated to the backup role once again. As I’ve matured a little bit, I no longer wish these departing players ill will, but I have to wonder if Veilleux was trying to send a little dig at the Penn State staff when he chose Pitt.
2. Devyn Ford-RB (Notre Dame) Similar to Veilleux, Ford saw his position on the depth chart and playing time drastically cut by last year’s incoming crop of outstanding freshman running backs. He left the program having played in only four games last season. His destination was recently announced to be Notre Dame University. With this move, he looks to add depth to the backfield room behind the starter, Audric Estime.
3. Keyvone Lee-RB (Mississippi State) Lee lost his position as starting running back and this was also no surprise whatsoever when he announced he would be relocating to Mississippi State. I think he works hard he has a great chance to start for the Rebels, as their running game last season didn’t set the world on fire. I completely understand his motives for leaving, but this one made me slightly disappointed, as I’ll always remember Gus Johnson going bonkers in last year’s Purdue game.
4. Jaden Dottin-WR (Toledo) A former highly-touted 4-star ESPN recruit, Dottin was never able to move up the pecking order in Penn State’s wide receiver room. In his three seasons in Happy Valley, he only recorded two catches in one game, last year against Ohio. He’ll have to opportunity to face the Bobcats again by moving to their MAC foe, Toledo (the rhyme was unintentional). The Rockets have some issues of depth in their wide receiving corps and Dottin may have the chance to contribute immediately.
5. Jimmy Christ-OT (Virginia) Also a former 4-star ESPN and Rivals recruit, the two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection Christ announced his decision to transfer to Virginia immediately after this year’s Blue-White game. Originally from Dominion High in Sterling, he returns to his home state with three seasons of eligibility remaining. He’ll battle for the starting right tackle position with another transfer, former Houston Cougar Ugonna Nnanna.
6. Maleek McNeil-OL (Not available) The 3-star recruit from Walter Panas High School in Cortlandt Manor, New York disappeared from the Penn State football roster following their 30-0 shutout victory over Maryland on November 12. Originally seen as a developmental project, McNeil’s physical transformation had been impressive, losing approximately 40 pounds since enrolling last June. He has not announced a destination.
7. Rodney McGraw-DL (Louisville) A 3-star edge rusher coming out of Elkhart High School in Indiana, McGraw appeared in five games as a red-shirt freshman last season, with an assist and one tackle. He elected to move closer to home and enters a Louisville program where he should provide depth to the defensive line rotation.
8. Fatorma Mulbah-DL (West Virginia) Playing his high school ball at Susquehanna Township in Harrisburg, PA, the red-shirt sophomore appeared in 12 games last season for the Nittany Lions, primarily on special teams. He’ll fight for the starting defensive tackle position for West Virginia and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he starts his first game in Beaver Stadium, just on the opposing side.
9. Jamari Buddin-LB (New Mexico State) The former 4-star recruit from Belleville High School in Michigan, it seemed like Buddin was on the verge of being a significant contributor for the fabled “Linebacker U”. He appeared in nine games last season, recorded eight tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss and had a fumble recovery in the 30-0 shout victory over Maryland. The Aggies do not have a lot of depth in their linebacking corps and Buddin should help them immensely.
10. Storm Duck-DB (Louisville) I was tempted to not include Duck, as this is his second transfer this season. He originally came to the Lions from UNC. He announced his re-entry into the portal following the Blue-White game and landed at Louisville. He’ll join fellow ex-Penn State’er Rodney McGraw there.
11. Marquis Wilson-DB (Purdue) Hailing from Windsor High School in Connecticut as a 4-star recruit, Wilson saw extensive playing time for the Lions over the past four seasons. In 2021, he became the first player since 2017 to play both sides of scrimmage in a single game, as a defensive back and wide receiver. He returned to the secondary last season and recorded 20 tackles, two defended passes and one forced fumble. He’s predicted to become a starting cornerback for the Boilermakers.
12. Jeffrey Davis Jr.-DB (Stony Brook) Part of Penn State’s 2021 recruiting class, Davis was a 3-star recruit from Kingswood-Oxford High School in West Hartford, Connecticut. He appeared in one game for the Lions. He moves on to the Stony Brook Seawolves, part of the Colonial Athletic Association at the FCS level.