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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Reluctant recruits: As KU, others eye Penn State football departures, players vow loyalty

Penn State senior running back Michael Zordich, left foreground, and senior linebacker Michael Mauti, right foreground, give a statement in support of their team Wednesday, July 25, 2012, in State College, Pa.

Penn State senior running back Michael Zordich, left foreground, and senior linebacker Michael Mauti, right foreground, give a statement in support of their team Wednesday, July 25, 2012, in State College, Pa.

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Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis on Tuesday might have been one of the only coaches to talk about the idea of adding Penn State transfers to his roster. But he was hardly the only one thinking about it.

According to an ESPN.com article by college football reporters Joe Schad and Don Van Natta Jr., a handful of unnamed Penn State players have been offered “up to 50 scholarships” by football programs across the country.

As his team tries to rally together for the start of the upcoming football season, PSU coach Bill O’Brien told ESPN.com that he would like any coaches interested in talking to his players to call him as a professional courtesy. While reaching out to O’Brien is not required, coaches like Weis have been asked to contact Penn State in some manner. To that end, the article said the Penn State athletic department had been “flooded with faxes and emails from other schools.”

According to the NCAA’s punishment, any Penn State players interested in transferring would be free to do so and would not have to sit out a season. They also would not count against their new school’s scholarship limit. In addition, Penn State is not allowed, in any way, to restrict a player from pursuing a possible transfer.

O’Brien, who called the activity “an NFL free-agent system” in college sports, has become increasingly upset with the way things have unfolded.

“Our players are in our building right now and they don’t want to leave because there are coaches from other schools in the parking lot waiting to see them,” O’Brien told ESPN.com. “These kids don’t want to leave Penn State. They want to play for Penn State. It is my opinion these coaches should leave them alone, but if they don’t want to leave them alone, they should make sure they give me a call before they try to recruit them.”

Based on his comments Tuesday, which emphasized the need for respect and compassion for Penn State’s players and coaches, it’s unlikely that Weis was one of those coaches in the PSU parking lot Wednesday.

However, according to Frank Bodani, of the York Daily Record, KU was one of eight schools to contact Penn State’s Kyle Baublitz, a 6-foot-5, 275-pound defensive tackle who is set to enter his third season with the Nittany Lions. Baublitz’s father, Steve, confirmed to Bodani that his son was contacted by Baylor, Boston College, Cincinnati, Hawaii, Houston, Kansas, Texas Tech and West Virginia. However, on his Facebook page, Baublitz said he was committed to staying at Penn State.

The idea of KU’s adding a defensive tackle certainly would make sense, as Weis and defensive coordinator Dave Campo have said repeatedly that upgrading KU’s D-line was a top priority. Other players that the Jayhawks might be monitoring include offensive linemen and linebackers.

Although the likelihood of any Nittany Lions leaving in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal dipped Wednesday, when more than 30 PSU players held a joint news conference to announce they were staying, a couple of Penn State players said through spokespeople that they were keeping their options open. The most notable of those was sophomore running back Silas Redd, who is contemplating a move to USC.

Still, with a large chunk of the PSU squad standing united in commitment to the school, O’Brien figures to have several familiar faces in blue and white when the Nittany Lions open fall camp on Aug. 6.

“We want to let the nation know that we’re proud of who we are,” said senior running back Michael Zordich, who on Wednesday stood with two dozen teammates and spoke on behalf of those who were staying put. “We’re the true Penn Staters, and we’re going to stick together through this. We’re going to see this thing through, and we’re going to do everything we can for the university. We know it’s not going to be easy, but we know what we’re made of.”

Comments

Lance Hobson 1 year, 9 months ago

I hate to see KU mentioned in this poaching operation. We should have more class than this.

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manginorh00lz 1 year, 9 months ago

Anyone that continues to support Penn State football is supporting what happened in the Lasch building. Players included.

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Sparko 1 year, 9 months ago

Imagine that; Penn State University trying to manipulate or coerce young men to make life crushing decisions. This is why the death penalty HAD to be imposed. They are trading on the kid's loyalty now. Frankly, one of the ideas of penalties is that it would impact FOOTBALL uber alles University. It has not had the desired effect.

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hammr25 1 year, 9 months ago

I'm not sure why a Penn State player would transfer to Kansas. They wouldn't be playing in a bowl game either way.

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DJay23 1 year, 9 months ago

I'm a displaced Jayhawk who lives an hour and a half from the PSU campus. I've been to dozens of PSU games. My wife is a big PSU fan. My father-in-law relies on PSU games on the radio to advertise his business locally. As a teacher I have both colleagues and former students who are Penn Staters. Including the players, none of these people did anything wrong. They are in a smaller way victims of a horrible horrible circumstance. That said, they are all still loyal Penn Staters. Like someone else said don't begrudge them their loyalty.

Do you love KU? Would you still love her if something horrible like this happened in Lawrence? Would it make your heart sick if people associated KU with something horrible like child abuse, justified or not? Ask yourself those questions and then put yourselves in the shoes of the players, students, alumni, and fans. Outside of Central PA, folks don't understand the depth of feeling people have for Paterno. They thought of him as part of their family. Like a grandpa. And that's not hyperbole, and it's been carried down over generations. I've seen SHRINES to the man for goodness sake. If you found out years later that your grandpa did something wrong, would you still love him? Conflicted about him yes, but he's still your grandpa. That's how crazy these people are for PSU. Consider that when you hold your nose in the air toward students who don't want to see a statue taken down.

I'm a huge KU fan, but having been in both places Penn State football is WAY bigger in PA, especially the large portion of the center of the state, than KU basketball is in Kansas. There is nothing else here that people pull for as much as Penn State football. Well maybe the Steelers, but even that is split with the Eagles a little.

I have to say that it disgusts me that people who call themselves Jayhawks would stoop to the level of making jokes about this situation, while at the same time riding on your moral high horses and calling Penn Staters everything short of child molesters themselves. Sandusky deserves death for what he did in my opinion. Paterno made a horrible and selfish decision and his legacy got what it deserved. For it's part, the PSU administration and football team were hit hard too. Let's leave it at that and allow the players, students, and entire region try to rebuild the reputation of a proud institution without the incessant and ghoulish heckling. I especially can't stand seeing it from Old KU.

Those of you who are capable of independent thought and compassion please carry this message on to other Jayhawks.

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Warren 1 year, 9 months ago

Yeah, Penn State football games are going to be on TV. But how much of the broadcast is going to be devoted to the kids playing on the field, and how much is going to be devoted to the child molestation that the football program covered up for 12 years?

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CWGOKU 1 year, 9 months ago

At least shower time at KU would be safer than at Penn State

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Ethan Berger 1 year, 9 months ago

Let's remember a couple things before we judge these college kids who had absolutely nothing to do with Sandusky.

First, the kids have forged friendships and brotherhoods with each other. They have girls on campus, for some its a school they love even though 4 guys made a terrible terrible mistake. They didn't touch those boys, they committed to Penn State. I applaud them for staying loyal.

Second, just because they go to Penn State doesn't mean they all touch kids. Unfortunately the media has help lead this charge in believing everyone at Penn State was involved. All the Men who were involved are being punished by the US law. Lets be honest, if anything like this happened at KU, this board would be screaming at the NCAA. I've seen the reaction from academic suspensions, I think the majority of you guys calling this kids stupid would be reacting the same way as Penn State right now.

Third, Penn State is a good football program, not a football factory. They only send a couple players to the pros every year and most don't pan out. Tamba Hali and Sean Lee are the most recent success in the past like 7 years. So the kids who would be pros, will be pros almost not matter what.

Since when is it in our judgement to judge kids who want play with each other?

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clevelandjayhawker 1 year, 9 months ago

Someone posted about this yesterday- Why/how in the world could you ever shower in that locker room? Knowing what happen in some of the facilities and having to use them would make me want to puke, infact it makes me sick to type about it.

I like that our coach is honest (sometimes too honest), I would think there are a lot of open spots for the guys that do want to transfer. And us having a new coach means there are no set starters and he has no loyality to favor anyone (other than Crist, but no one is taking his spot)

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Chris1955 1 year, 9 months ago

This "we are Penn State", us against the world attitude, is precisely why I wanted the NCAA to issue the death penalty against the football program. This was pretty predictable behavior based on student reaction to Paterno's firing by rioting at PSU, the "threat" of Voldemort's err... Paterno's statue being removed, etc.

I would suspect that the vast majority of PSU fans are feeling that their school was unfairly penalized over this affront to near universal human morals, sexual child abuse. Now, the many of the PSU fans are going dig in their heels and assume a self righteous, holier than thou attitude. I fear they have made the "We are Penn State" mantra even worse.

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Nitt10 1 year, 9 months ago

Some of you are funny. Since Penn St players can't go to a bowl game, they should transfer to ku so they can what, not go to a bowl game? Nice logic.

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jayhawkinmullen 1 year, 9 months ago

Two questions? Who is the red haired geek next to Jared Allen? Why would anyone want to be apart of that mess. They are going to be forever linked to child molestation. All in the name of sticking together. That ship has sunk move on.

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waywardJay 1 year, 9 months ago

Let's not begrudge them their loyalty, It's honorable, even if it is stupid. Theres alot to gain, for example In Silas Redd's shoes. and chances are there are a few more players like him on that team. Great talent, who will likely thrive given other situations.

That's 30 kids of what 80.... that's not a great number, really. how many of those are seniors and Juniors? The two talkers are seniors, and they may have less to gain by leaving.

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Jay Dogger 1 year, 9 months ago

Hey Matt, I'm pretty sure Silas Redd is going to be a Junior. His ESPN profile page list stats for 2011 & 2011.

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JayDocMD 1 year, 9 months ago

I'm as excited at the prospect of adding another quality player or two as the next fan. But unless they are stuck behind someone on the PSU depth chart and wont get PT, what exactly does a junior or senior gain by coming to KU? Bowl game? Unlikely. TV exposure? I'd wager there will be more PSU games on national TV than KU. If they are an NFL talent, coming to KU doesn't improve their draft stock. There's a slightly better arguement for an underclassmen to take a look at KU - but I'd be surprised if we see it.

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willie_fu_fu 1 year, 9 months ago

I agree manginor, alot of these players can say this now but in a couple years when they are playing with a bunch of walk-ons and losing games everyweek they will regret it. Plus that could hurt their nfl chances aswell.

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Jason Keller 1 year, 9 months ago

Kansas is an absolute perfect fit for a senior ex-Nittany Lion. No offense to our team, I think we've really improved roster wise but it would still be relatively easy to earn playing time and KU has two coaches with maybe some of the deepest NFL ties of any two coaches in the NCAA. Wins really aren't that important for a guy trying to get into the league. You don't want to go 2-10 but you can stand out on a .500 team and get some looks.

As mangino already stated, some of these kids are making a poor decision to stay at Penn State. You have to admire their loyalty though.

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manginorh00lz 1 year, 9 months ago

Too bad these guys don't have more time to think about it. They are running on raw emotion right now and many will ultimately make poor decisions because of it.

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