Offensive lineman Antonio Logan-El, a former Maryland recruit who caused a stir last year with his dramatic, nationally televised decision to sign with Penn State, will ask coach Joe Paterno to be released from his scholarship and will reconsider the Terps, he said yesterday.
"A big issue for me was being away from my family," said Logan-El, who committed to Maryland as a high school sophomore but called an audible on National Signing Day in unforgettable fashion. " ... There were a lot of different variables. It just didn't work out in the end."
Logan-El (Forestville) is not listed on Penn State's most recent roster, which was updated Wednesday.
It's not known if Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen would consider the freshman after he embarrassed the program with his spectacle at ESPN Zone in Baltimore last year. The coaching staff is not allowed to comment on recruitable athletes.
Logan-El, who was tabbed the top offensive lineman in the state by Rivals.com, said he would come home this weekend to discuss his options with his family. He said he would transfer or stay in State College, Pa., to finish his degree in criminal law and justice.
In late January 2006, he held a news conference and was dressed in a black suit with a Maryland-red tie. He was surrounded by Terps fans waving pom-poms and signs - including Gloria Friedgen, who held her cell phone up to a speaker so her husband could hear because NCAA rules prohibited him from attending.
Logan-El held up a red Maryland cap and said a few nice words about the program, then dropped it on the floor. He then held up a picture of himself and Paterno and committed to Penn State, a move that earned him the wrath of some Maryland fans.
One even called him a traitor at his announcement, and Gloria Friedgen grabbed her coat and stormed out of the restaurant.
Apparently, things didn't work out in Happy Valley.
Logan-El said he missed about six weeks of winter conditioning because of three family problems that occurred in a week.
He said his father, whom he was just introduced to, went through a windshield in a car accident, and his grandfather, whom Logan-El is closest to, was hospitalized with an illness. Days later, his mother, suffering from migraines, was tested for a brain tumor. The test was negative.
Logan-El said Paterno gave him time off, but "was skeptical about letting me come back to the team, which was a total shock to me and my family."
He said Paterno later told him he could not participate in the annual Blue-White scrimmage. At the start of spring practice March 23, Paterno said Logan-El had to decide if he still wanted to play football.
"I didn't do anything wrong," Logan-El said. "I was coming to all my appointments with my conditioning coach. My grades were fine, I had a 3.0 GPA. I've never been in any trouble up here. ... I didn't understand it."
He said he is happy with Penn State in regard to academics.
"If I never play football another day in my life, I will feel some hurt and pain, but I found something I do love," he said, "and that is school and academics."