Penn State has enjoyed a fertile recruiting pipeline into Maryland high school programs during the past decade, and the most recent classes have been no different.
But now, the future is unclear for several players from Baltimore who have made State College their home, although none have directly expressed interest in leaving the school.
Former Calvert Hall players Adrian Amos, Da'Quan Davis and Trevor Williams and Gilman graduate Brian Gaia are all currently weighing their options and not rushing into a decision after the NCAA sanctioned the Nittany Lions with a four-year bowl ban, significant scholarship loss, a $60 million fine and the forfeiture of all wins from 1998-2011. Players are allowed to transfer without penalty. Phone calls to players and their families Monday were not returned.
"I think everybody in that situation is going to assess their own situation in their own personal way," Calvert Hall coach Donald Davis said. "[I told them to] to be receptive, be open and I believe they'll make the best decision for them."
Immediately following the announcement by the NCAA, Penn State players met with coach Bill O'Brien and left the Lasch Football Building on campus Monday morning without commenting to reporters. According to the sanctions handed down by the NCAA, Penn State players can transfer to other schools, including Big Ten programs, and be eligible to play right away. Transfers among Division I schools are normally required to sit out a year.
"I knew when I accepted the position that there would be tough times ahead," O'Brien said in a statement. "But I am committed for the long term to Penn State and our student athletes. Today we receive a very harsh penalty from the NCAA and as head coach of the Nittany Lions football program, I will do everything in my power to not only comply, but help guide the University forward to become a national leader in ethics, compliance and operational excellence."
Owings Mills coach Steve Lurz, meanwhile, has been fielding calls about Donovan Smith from a number of different college coaches. But Lurz said that a decision on whether or not his former offensive lineman will transfer will be made between Smith and his family.
Smith, a redshirt freshman who is expected to start at left tackle this season, tweeted last night that he is committed to staying at Penn State regardless of the severity of the sanctions.
"Stop asking if im transferring im staying at PSU no matter what I love my school #WeAre."
Smith was a four-star recruit and the No. 104 ranked player in the country in 2011 according to Rivals. Many schools would benefit his services, and as long as the scheme is similar, Lurz believes his former player could see the field immediately at many schools.
"He had a starting position locked down at Penn State, but he would go into learning new offensive terminology and scheme," Lurz said. "[If he were to transfer] he's only going to have camp to win the job. He's got the skills. Other than that I think he's ready to go."
As for Gaia, Gilman coach Biff Poggi said he has also been in contact with a number of college programs, including Alabama. Gaia had offers from West Virginia, Rutgers, Virginia and Maryland, among others, according to Rivals.
"You need to slow down in situations like this and not be rash," Poggi said. "And I know there's a lot of stuff going on right now. That's between these kids and their families. We've had a lot of calls from other programs about him and we're just going to take it slow and make an appropriate decision."
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