As of the middle of last week, there had been six current or incoming Penn State players who have officially taken advantage of liberal transfer rules the NCAA handed down as part of the sanctions on the football program.
Unfortunately for first-year head coach Bill O’Brien, that number is now up to nine, with one of the latest yet another big loss offensively.
As has been rumored for the past several days, wide receiver Justin Brown has decided to leave the Nittany Lions and will play instead this season for Oklahoma. The Sooners were one of the first schools to contact Brown after the sanctions were announced last week and offer him a scholarship.
Brown flew into Oklahoma City Monday night, per a tweet from the player, and was on the practice field with his new Sooner teammates Tuesday morning.
“We are excited that Justin wants to finish his college career here at OU,” head coach Bob Stoops said in a statement. “Justin started 11 games last season and was a productive performer on offense and special teams. We are confident that he can quickly integrate with our team. We’re looking forward to the experience and maturity he will add to our receiving corps.”
Speaking to the media following practice, Brown said it was important to him to get the approval of his now-former Penn State teammates for the transfer. He added it meant a lot to him when he got that stamp of approval.
The transfer comes as good news to the injury-depleted Sooners — “Wow, this guy is special,” Stoops said he told receivers coach Jay Norvell — but it serves as yet another crushing offensive blow for the Nittany Lions. Brown would’ve been Penn State’s leading returning receiver after catching 35 passes for 517 yards and two touchdowns last season.
Additionally, offensive lineman Ryan Nowicki decided to officially leave the program Monday as well and is headed to Illinois. Nowicki became the first Penn State player to transfer to another Big Ten school.
There was some good news on the personnel front for Penn State late this past week, though, as a pair of running backs – incoming freshman Akeel Lynch and senior Curtis Dukes — have both reaffirmed their commitments to the Nittany Lions. Brown had been expected to decide between Penn State and Iowa this past weekend.