Stop me if you have heard this one before, but Penn State is losing another player in 2016.
Penn State backup wide receiver Jake Kiley has announced he will play his final year of eligibility elsewhere in 2016. Riley, who graduated from Penn State in December, announced his decision to pursue a graduate transfer on Twitter with a message to fans.
Kiley played just two games since his arrival at Penn State in 2012, just as the program was being hit by NCAA sanctions. Injuries tended to sideline Kiley over the past four years. Had he returned to Penn State in 2016, he would have been buried by a number of younger receivers in all likelihood, so a chance to move on elsewhere and get an opportunity to get some playing time was perhaps a wise decision.
Kiley will be the fourth Penn State player to take advantage of the graduate transfer rule this year. Wide receiver Geno Lewis (Oklahoma), running back Akeel Lynch and linebacker Gary Wooten have also chosen to move on from Penn State as a graduate transfer. In each case, they would have been serving as a backup at best in the fall, so finding a chance to start somewhere else in their final year of eligibility makes sense. None of the transfers from Penn State should be deemed surprising, perhaps with the exception of Troy Reeder‘s decision to move to Delaware (where he will play with his brother for the Blue Hens).
This does not, however, suggest Penn State is particularly deep on its roster. Far from it, actually. Penn State is still working to rebuild depth across the board following an abbreviated sanction phase that reduced the scholarship numbers. Speaking of which, these transfers could have an impact on what Penn State can or will do with its recruiting in the final week before signing day and looking ahead to 2017.
For at least the sixth time this month, James Franklin has seen a member of his Penn State football program become a former member.
The latest to exit stage left is Joe Holmes, who confirmed to the Scranton Times-Tribune that he has decided to leave the Nittany Lions and transfer elsewhere. For Holmes, the reason for his decision was a simple one: a better opportunity for playing time, likely at a lower rung on the NCAA football ladder.
“It was a tough decision for me and my family,” the defensive tackle told the Times-Tribune. “Penn State really helped me grow as a man and as a player.
“I just think I have a better chance to start if I go to the FCS.”
Holmes came to PSU as a walk-on member of Franklin’s first recruiting class in 2014. After redshirting as a true freshman, the lineman was in line to compete for playing time before an injury during summer camp sidelined him for the entire 2015 season.
Holmes is the sixth known Nittany Lion to leave Franklin’s program the past three weeks. Geno Lewis announced his intent to transfer to Oklahoma Jan. 11. A day later, linebacker Troy Reeder bolted for FCS Delaware. Two days after that, running back Akeel Lynch announced on Twitter that he too was bolting.
Linebacker Gary Wooten Jr. and reserve cornerback Daquan Worley have also joined the dearly departed in that span.
Penn State linebacker Troy Reeder is leaving the program and returning closer to home. The redshirt sophomore will be joining the Delaware Blue Hens, according to a report from Lions 247.
Reeder was Penn State’s fourth-leading tackler in 2015 with 67 tackles. For a defense that at times was in need of quality depth, Reeder tended to step up and make plays with some good signs of potential moving forward. At Delaware, he will join his younger brother, Colby Reeder, who committed to Delaware last week. Reeder’s father, Dan Reeder, also played for Delaware. Because Reeder is transferring to a program at the FCS level, he will be eligible to play right away in the fall for the Blue Hens of the CAA.
Reeder’s sudden departure adds to a growing list of roster amendments for Penn State this offseason. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg declared early for the NFL Draft. So did defensive tackle Austin Johnson. Tight end Adam Breneman was forced to retire due to chronic knee issues. Wide receiver Geno Lewis announced a transfer to Oklahoma. Penn State should be OK at the linebacker position in 2016 with Jason Cabinda, Nyeem Wartman-White and Brandon Bell all expected to be back. Penn State will also have a new defensive coordinator with Brent Pry being promoted to the role following the departure of Bob Shoop to Tennessee.
Penn State will also apparently be down a cornerback on the roster in 2016, according to Bob Flounders of The Patriot News;
Penn State wide receiver Geno Lewis will be catching footballs with some other college football team in the fall. Lewis announced his intention to transfer out of Penn State with a statement released on his Twitter account Monday morning. Lewis announced he will transfer to Oklahoma.
“After a long discussion with my family and coaches, I have decided that it would be in my best interest to transfer from Penn State University to pursue my graduate studies and play football with my last year of eligibility,” Lewis said in his statement. “This was not an easy decision but I feel like it is time to move on to the next chapter of my life.”
Because Lewis will be a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play immediately with any other FBS program in the fall. Lewis was Penn State’s fourth-leading wide receiver in 2015 with 196 yards and three touchdowns. This was just one season after being the team’s second-leading receiver with 751 yards and two touchdowns. As a freshman in 2013, Lewis hauled in 18 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns as well. Lewis saw his production take a back step as young receivers like Chris Godwin, DaeSean Hamilton and Saeed Blacknall emerged for the Nittany Lions. Godwin, a sophomore, was a 1,000-yard receiver this season and Hamilton, also a sophomore, led the team with six touchdown catches. All three leading receivers from 2015 are expected to return for Penn State in 2016.
Lewis was the top-rated recruit in Penn State’s Class of 2012, the first under Bill O’Brien just weeks after being introduced as head coach. Penn State’s Class of 2012 was derailed by the Jerry Sandusky scandal fallout that led to the firing of Joe Paterno. Before Christian Hackenberg and Adam Breneman had a chance to be the leaders and glue of O’Brien’s first full recruiting class, Lewis was seen as the jewel of Penn State’s torched Class of 2012. Lewis was the only four-star recruit in Penn State’s Class of 2012.
UPDATE (12:45 pm): Lewis announced he will be moving to Oklahoma. This is the second time in a few years Penn State lost a transferring wide receiver to Oklahoma. Justin Brown transferred from Penn State to Oklahoma when the NCAA gave a free transfer exemption to Penn State players in 2012 with the sanctions dropped on the program.