Archive for Thursday, July 26, 2012

Reluctant recruits: As KU, others eye Penn State football departures, players vow loyalty

Penn State senior running back Michael Zordich, left foreground, and senior linebacker Michael Mauti, right foreground, give a statement in support of their team Wednesday, July 25, 2012, in State College, Pa.

Penn State senior running back Michael Zordich, left foreground, and senior linebacker Michael Mauti, right foreground, give a statement in support of their team Wednesday, July 25, 2012, in State College, Pa.

July 26, 2012

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Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis on Tuesday might have been one of the only coaches to talk about the idea of adding Penn State transfers to his roster. But he was hardly the only one thinking about it.

According to an ESPN.com article by college football reporters Joe Schad and Don Van Natta Jr., a handful of unnamed Penn State players have been offered “up to 50 scholarships” by football programs across the country.

As his team tries to rally together for the start of the upcoming football season, PSU coach Bill O’Brien told ESPN.com that he would like any coaches interested in talking to his players to call him as a professional courtesy. While reaching out to O’Brien is not required, coaches like Weis have been asked to contact Penn State in some manner. To that end, the article said the Penn State athletic department had been “flooded with faxes and emails from other schools.”

According to the NCAA’s punishment, any Penn State players interested in transferring would be free to do so and would not have to sit out a season. They also would not count against their new school’s scholarship limit. In addition, Penn State is not allowed, in any way, to restrict a player from pursuing a possible transfer.

O’Brien, who called the activity “an NFL free-agent system” in college sports, has become increasingly upset with the way things have unfolded.

“Our players are in our building right now and they don’t want to leave because there are coaches from other schools in the parking lot waiting to see them,” O’Brien told ESPN.com. “These kids don’t want to leave Penn State. They want to play for Penn State. It is my opinion these coaches should leave them alone, but if they don’t want to leave them alone, they should make sure they give me a call before they try to recruit them.”

Based on his comments Tuesday, which emphasized the need for respect and compassion for Penn State’s players and coaches, it’s unlikely that Weis was one of those coaches in the PSU parking lot Wednesday.

However, according to Frank Bodani, of the York Daily Record, KU was one of eight schools to contact Penn State’s Kyle Baublitz, a 6-foot-5, 275-pound defensive tackle who is set to enter his third season with the Nittany Lions. Baublitz’s father, Steve, confirmed to Bodani that his son was contacted by Baylor, Boston College, Cincinnati, Hawaii, Houston, Kansas, Texas Tech and West Virginia. However, on his Facebook page, Baublitz said he was committed to staying at Penn State.

The idea of KU’s adding a defensive tackle certainly would make sense, as Weis and defensive coordinator Dave Campo have said repeatedly that upgrading KU’s D-line was a top priority. Other players that the Jayhawks might be monitoring include offensive linemen and linebackers.

Although the likelihood of any Nittany Lions leaving in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal dipped Wednesday, when more than 30 PSU players held a joint news conference to announce they were staying, a couple of Penn State players said through spokespeople that they were keeping their options open. The most notable of those was sophomore running back Silas Redd, who is contemplating a move to USC.

Still, with a large chunk of the PSU squad standing united in commitment to the school, O’Brien figures to have several familiar faces in blue and white when the Nittany Lions open fall camp on Aug. 6.

“We want to let the nation know that we’re proud of who we are,” said senior running back Michael Zordich, who on Wednesday stood with two dozen teammates and spoke on behalf of those who were staying put. “We’re the true Penn Staters, and we’re going to stick together through this. We’re going to see this thing through, and we’re going to do everything we can for the university. We know it’s not going to be easy, but we know what we’re made of.”

Comments

Jayhawk1958 2 years, 9 months ago

Let the players decide. They didn't do anything wrong. And shame on NCAA for allowing this lax transfer rule.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 9 months ago

As long as coaches can leave at the first hint of a better opportunity, so should players.

Brian Conrad 2 years, 9 months ago

your statement makes no sense ... the players did nothing wrong so why should the NCAA force them to stay?

JustNoticed 2 years, 9 months ago

His statement of support is totally negated by his hat being on backwards.

Robert Rauktis 2 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, kinda like your fly is down, the weight or gravity for the statement is undercut. Might as well wear a big red nose.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 9 months ago

"Might as well wear a big red nose."

Everybody around here has a big red nose-- figuratively, anyway. Honk!!!

msezdsit 2 years, 9 months ago

I don't know why any recruit would leave Penn State for KU unless they just wanted to divorce themselves from the drama. They would be about as likely to play in bowl game or win a conference title at KU as they would at Penn State during their eligibility even if they are incoming freshman. Sad but true.

Jayhawk1958 2 years, 9 months ago

Better then going to that armpit called Misery....Have fun getting blown out by 'Bama at Ferrot Field.

Evan Ridenour 2 years, 9 months ago

I had the same thought. Even with the punishments, playing at Penn State is still MUCH better than playing at KU.

Neither program will be playing in a bowl game, BUT, Penn State players play in front of 100,000 fans and receive significantly more exposure from the press. No advantage to switch to KU....

Brian Conrad 2 years, 9 months ago

think it is wrong when a coach like OBrien does not really have the best interest of the players in mind... some of these kids will greatly hurt chances of NFL hopes with zero tv or bowl exposure. can understand and admire the Seniors.... but they should not presure a freshman. yes the recruiting world is not great, but again any freshman that is pressured to stay , well the school is not looking out for the best interest of the young man. and oh by the way.. Penn State deserves no tears .. the entire program was sweeping under the rug a monster ! doubt KU will get any of these fellows , but think it is very OK for Weis to talk to them. and by the way Penn State may Have been better ... but lets see what comes in four years as they loose recruits by the dozens in the future. next years recruiting class for PSU will be worse than any team in the nation.

Brian Conrad 2 years, 9 months ago

also PSU players have zero chance to go to a bowl for 4 years... 6-6 and KU players will be in a bowl... chances are good for that to happen in next 4 years .. Weis is no Gill he will recruit and win few games in big 12 and few in the non con. PSU will be lucky to win a game four years from now.. you are thinking of the past . the NCAA has made sure PSU will be in the tank. as they should .. the penalties handed out were intended to be worse on the school than the death penalty. this is not the usual slap.

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