Penn State suffers last-minute transfer portal loss to defensive backfield

Penn State safety King Mack entered the transfer portal right before it closed on May 1, and he may not be the last Nittany Lions to head out the door.
Penn State Spring Football Game
Penn State Spring Football Game / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

One of Penn State’s top recruits from its 2023 high school class, King Mack, a safety from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has entered the transfer portal after his true freshman year in Happy Valley. Last year, Mack made three tackles and only played 70 total defensive snaps. 

The spring transfer portal window closed on May 1, but the paperwork can take up to 48 hours to process, so Mack made a last-minute decision to test his value on the open market. While the portal is officially closed, Mack has time to make a decision about where he will play in 2024 and a return to the Nittany Lions is still likely on the table. 

Mack figured to have a much bigger role next season as a true sophomore at 5-foot-10 190 pounds. Of his 70 snaps, 49 came as a free safety while only six came in the slot. Still, he could have been in contention to start at the nickel position, likely over Cam Miller. However, Mack may not have liked his trajectory in Tom Allen’s new defensive system. 

The former four-star was also heavily recruited by Michigan State, but the coaching staff in East Lansing has completely turned over with Jonathan Smith from Oregon State taking over the program. Harlon Barnett who primarily recruited him for Michigan State, according to 247 Sports, is now an assistant for David Braun at Northwestern.

The loss of Mack will hurt the depth in the defensive secondary, but James Franklin did need to shrink his roster in time for next season, so there is a chance that other departures will follow.

Two former Penn State quarterbacks in the transfer portal . Two former Penn State quarterbacks in the transfer portal . dark. Next