2 biggest losses for Penn State football in the transfer portal

James Franklin did a great job keeping his roster intact this offseason, but there were still a couple of losses to the transfer portal that will make things tougher in 2024.
Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Dante Cephas (3)
Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Dante Cephas (3) / David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
1 of 2

When it comes to game day, there are plenty of reasons to complain about James Franklin. However, in the offseason, he routinely accomplishes what is nearly impossible in modern college football, he keeps his team together. 

Not only did Franklin not lose a single high school commit on signing day, locking down all 25 in Penn State’s class which ranked 14th in the country, but he also only lost five players to the transfer portal. 

Since the inception of the transfer portal, the offseason has been defined by the constant roster churn, even a team like Georgia is losing 20 players to the portal this offseason. Of course, Georgia is more well-positioned to withstand the losses than any program in the country, but that’s beside the point. Franklin kept his team together when almost nobody else could. 

Still, there are two losses from the roster that are going to hurt the 2024 Nittany Lions, both from the same position. 

. Senior. . WR. 463. . Dante Cephas. Dante Cephas. player. Dante Cephas

Let me just start here; Dante Cephas was a disappointment in 2023. The Kent State transfer never really got his footing at the Big Ten level and only finished with 22 catches for 246 yards and no touchdowns. Yet, with Penn State’s desperation at wide receiver, he is still a tough loss. 

Cephas was benched for the Peach Bowl and promptly entered the transfer portal. He has since been snatched up by Kansas State, a team that has undoubtedly convinced itself that Cephas’s underwhelming season said more about Penn State’s offensive ineptitude under Mike Yurcich than it did Cephas’s talent. 

Chris Klieman and his staff might be right about that. No Penn State wide receiver performed up to the expected level in 2023, so what was Cephas supposed to do, be the only outlier?

More than likely, the reason for the lack of a passing game, which ranked 79th in the country, was two-fold. It was both a lack of talent at receiver and a poor offensive scheme. Both of those reasons make Cephas an intriguing pickup for Kansas State and a disappointing loss for the Nittany Lions, no matter how ugly his one-year stop in Happy Valley was.