Sunday, August 31, 2014
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The departed: An update on Penn State transfers

They were not there as the Bill O'Brien era began with an uninspiring loss to Ohio of the MAC Conference. Instead, they were sprinkled throughout the country, some more than 2,000 miles away from Happy Valley, as they debuted with their new schools.

The departed: An update on Penn State transfers

Former Penn State running back Silas Redd, now with USC. (AP Photo/Grant Hindsley)
Former Penn State running back Silas Redd, now with USC. (AP Photo/Grant Hindsley)

They were told they could leave their embattled football program with no penalties -- and many took the NCAA up on the offer.

 

After the NCAA slammed Penn State with unprecedented sanctions, several Nittany Lions transferred. Each had a different reason, but each wanted a fresh start. 

 

They were not there as the Bill O’Brien era began with an uninspiring loss to Ohio of the MAC Conference. Instead, they were sprinkled throughout the country, some more than 2,000 miles away from Happy Valley, as they debuted with their new schools. 

 

Here’s a look at how they fared:

 

Silas Redd: Redd, the shifty running back who ran for 1,241 yards last season, was undoubtedly the most important player to transfer from Penn State. He was wooed by USC coach Lane Kiffin and chose to play his senior year in Southern California, where the Trojans were the preseason No. 1. USC thumped Hawaii, 49-10, in their season opener and Redd seemed to pick up right where he left off. He ran for 56 yards and a touchdown in a team-high nine carries. He also recorded one reception for 41 yards, and fumbled the ball once. Redd told the LA Times he watched the Penn State game. "It's a tough loss for those guys," he said.

 

Justin Brown: Brown would have been Penn State’s No. 1 wide receiver this season, as he was the top returning wideout from the 2011 campaign. But the Delaware native chose to go to Oklahoma, where he was designated as a top punt returner. He returned one punt for 26 yards, but only gathered a total of four yards in his other two attempts. The Sooners, ranked No. 6 in the country, were a bit sloppy in a 24-7 win over UTEP. Brown had four catches, including one for 13-yards on the first play of the third quarter.

 

Anthony Fera: Fera was an all-Big Ten punter last season who became the first Penn State player in more than 30 years to handle field goals, kickoffs and punts. That left Penn State in a bind when the Texas native decided to transfer closer to home and play for No. 15 Texas. However Fera did not play in the Longhorns’ opener, a 37-17 win against Wyoming, because of a groin injury he sustained in training camp.

 

Kevin Haplea: Haplea, of Annandale, N.J., was mostly a blocking tight end for Penn State last season. He was instrumental in helping Redd rush for more than 1,000 yards last season. Haplea chose to go to Florida State, where he debuted for the Seminoles in their 69-3 rout over Murray State. Haplea recorded one catch for three yards.

 

Khairi Fortt: The linebacker from Connecticut chose to leave Linebacker U and travel across the country to play for Cal. The Golden Bears lost to Nevada, 31-24, in their opener but Fortt was not on the field. He had a knee procedure in the spring and is currently undergoing rehab. He might be able to play this season, or coach Jeff Tedford might redshirt the linebacker so he has two years of eligibility remaining. 

 

-Emily Kaplan

About this blog
Joe Juliano has been a staff writer for The Inquirer for 20 years, covering college sports, golf and the Penn Relays.

Joining Joe this season will be John Stuetz, an intern for The Inquirer and senior at Penn State majoring in print journalism and marketing. This is John's third season covering the Penn State beat. He previously covered the Nittany Lions for the Daily Collegian, the university's student newspaper. A native of Glenside, Montgomery County, John graduated from Cheltenham High School.

For Joe, this will be his fifth season on the paper's Penn State beat. He previously covered the Nittany Lions for United Press International from 1976 to 1984.

Reach Joe at jjuliano@phillynews.com.

Joe Juliano Inquirer Staff Writer
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