By Joe McIntyre
Former Maryland quarterback Danny O’Brien has contacted Penn State about a possible transfer to the Nittany Lions next season.
During Penn State’s Pro Day Wednesday afternoon, head coach Bill O’Brien confirmed that the Lions were among a number of schools the quarterback has talked to about playing for in 2012.
“Danny does have an interest. He was obviously granted a release by the University of Maryland and contacted us,” O’Brien said. “He’s contacted a few other schools, so I’d say we’re one of many schools he’s looking at.”
O’Brien is scheduled to earn his undergraduate degree this spring but has two years of eligibility remaining. And if he enters a graduate program that is not offered at Maryland, he could be eligible to play next season. Along with the Lions, he is said to have received interest from Wisconsin, Vanderbilt and UConn, among others.
The Kernersville, N.C. native’s best season with the Terps came in 2010 when he threw for 2,438 yards with 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions on 192-for-337 passing. In 2011, he tossed only seven touchdowns with 10 interceptions on 150-for-266 passing for 1,648 yards while missing three games and playing sparingly in others.
Though he is not aware of any timetable for Danny O’Brien to make his decision, Bill O’Brien said as long as it’s within the rules, he’s going to do whatever it takes to improve his football team.
“Whether it’s a recruiting idea or a scheme or a transfer, I’m definitely going to look into it,” O’Brien said. “So that’s the part of the process now with Danny O’Brien.”
The QB would be joining a Lions group that has some questions at the quarterback position heading into next season. Soon-to-be junior Rob Bolden struggled mightily in the team’s bowl game against Houston, and to-be fifth-year senior Matt McGloin didn’t overly impress in 2011, either. Redshirt junior Paul Jones has the potential to compete for the starting job if he can remain academically eligible, which has been a problem for him so far in his career. O’Brien did say, though, that as of Wednesday afternoon, Jones was eligible.
Vanderbilt was thought to be one of the frontrunners for the quarterback, but that appears to have dwindled as Maryland filed a complaint against the Commodores claiming that improper contact was made before O’Brien and other Terps were released from their scholarships.
Wisconsin had a successful 2011 campaign with N.C. State transfer Russell Wilson under center. His only year of eligibility was last season, though, and because of his success, the Badgers could be an attractive option for O’Brien.