Danny O'Brien

O’Brien confirms O’Brien interest in Penn State


And the transfer plot thickens.

At Penn State’s pro day Wednesday, first-year head coach Bill O’Brien confirmed that former Maryland quarterback Danny O’Brien is interested in the Nittany Lions as a potential transfer destination.  O’Brien, the coach, said that O’Brien, the player, had reached out to the program, but did not go any further so as to keep his coloring inside the NCAA lines.

Since announcing last month that he had requested and been granted a release from his Terps scholarship, at least 15 schools have expressed interest in the 2010 Freshman All-American.  However, three programs have emerged as the perceived front-runners — Penn State, Wisconsin and Vanderbilt.  While the latter is viewed as the leader for the QB’s services due to the relationship between the player and the Commodores’ head coach, the pro-style offense being installed in Happy Valley and O’Brien’s connection to Tom Brady has turned PSU into major players for the transfer.

“I told the team I’ll do anything I can to improve the team within the rules,” Coach O’Brien told reporters.

For those curious, and to clear up some earlier Twitter confusion, it is not an NCAA violation for O’Brien to confirm O’Brien’s recruitment.  From the 2011-2012 NCAA Div. 1 Manual, Article 13.10.2:

Comments Before Signing. Before the signing of a prospective student-athlete to a National Letter of Intent or an institution’s written offer of admission and/or financial aid, a member institution may comment publicly only to the extent of confirming its recruitment of the prospective student-athlete. The institution may not comment generally about the prospective student-athlete’s ability or the contribution that the prospective student-athlete might make to the institution’s team; further, the institution is precluded from commenting in any manner as to the likelihood of the prospective student-athlete’s signing with that institution.

Getting back to O’Brien, the player: his high school coach confirmed to CFT last week that the QB will take “three or four” official visits, although he politely refused to specify the schools on O’Brien’s vacationing to-do list.  O’Brien is expected to take his first official visit at some point this week or, at the latest, next week.

A final decision could happen by mid-April, and should happen before the end of that month, the coach told CFT.

Rutgers hires law firm specializing in NCAA violations; NCAA not digging around just yet

Kyle Flood
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The first month of the football season at Rutgers has had its share of off-field stories worth keeping an eye on, so the news on Tuesday that the university has hired Bond, Schoeneck & King, a law firm with a history of working on NCAA violation cases, is certainly a bit of an eye-opener. The NCAA is not, at this time, investigating Rutgers. Instead, this is a move to investigate a pair of concerns related to the football program so that they may be properly reported to the NCAA if and when needed.

“Rutgers has retained outside counsel with expertise in NCAA infractions to help identify any potential rules violations,” Rutgers senior vice president for external affairs Peter McDonough said in a report published by NJ.com. “This is an ongoing and rigorous process that helps us to identify any shortcomings, to self-report them as required by NCAA rules and to remedy them as best practices demand.”

According to the report from NJ.com, Rutgers is focusing on one allegation of an arrested player failing multiple drug tests while on the team and accusations related to the program’s ambassador program. The name of the former player was not identified in the report. The ambassador program has come into scrutiny following the evolving case related to wide receiver Leonte Carroo.

The hired firm tends to serve as a liaison with the NCAA, but Rutgers will be given a final copy of the firm’s investigation for review. If Rutgers determines any NCAA violations were commited as determined by the report, that information will be passed on to the NCAA. The information revealed or uncovered in the firm’s investigation will determine if the NCAA will have to do some of its own digging, or merely adopt the firm’s report at face value and decide on any appropriate punishment from there.

Rutgers WR Carroo expected to have assault charges dropped

Leonte Carroo
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Rutgers wide receiver Leonte Carroo could have a charge of simple assault dropped by a New Jersey court today. The woman he is accused of slamming to the concrete has agreed to drop the restraining order request and has asked the assault charge against the Rutgers receiver be dropped as well. NJ.com reports today the woman and Carroo each appeared in a family court on Tuesday, and the woman told the judge she is not scared of Carroo.

So, what does this mean for football? Simply put, it means Carroo may be eligible to play again as soon as this weekend. That would be good timing, as Rutgers is set to host Michigan State this Saturday night.

Carroo has been sitting out while serving an indefinite suspension while this legal process plays out. Carroo has missed each of the last two games for Rutgers, against Penn State and Kansas. Rutgers was off this past weekend. If this legal process does play out as it is expected at this point, Carroo could be reinstated quickly and promptly, making him eligible to return right away. Carroo is one fo the best players on the roster, so having him back and eligible to play is very good news for the Scarlet Knights offense.