One thing is for certain this off-season: nobody knows. First and foremost, nobody knows exactly what this new term that’s invaded our lives like an extra-terrestrial, the transfer portal, means. Is it a good thing or is it bad thing? Is the sky falling or are the clouds getting ready to break? Does Tommy hold the keys to the car, or will Clifford give him a run for his money? Okay, okay, that last one is up for debate on another day and at another time. Opinions are what they are, but the truth at the moment is, nobody knows what’s going on.
The fact of the matter as it stands today is this, the current roster is in a stage of upheaval. Combined with the five who declared early for the NFL draft, Penn State Football has had a total of 16 players put their names in the now-infamous transfer portal, or have already declared their intent to find new homes. Needless to say, Nittany Nation is currently at wits end. We’re on the edge of despair despite, with all due respect, most of those players being buried on the depth chart with the exception of Juwan Johnson, Lamont Wade, and a select few others. Some of us have already tumbled off the ledge, unable to conquer the winds of change that have gripped our message boards ever since the new year began.
For what it’s worth, the intent of this new transfer rule (that quietly went into effect on October 15thof last year) was to strip the schools and coaching staffs of the ability to deny a player the opportunity to leave on his own free will, which had become a growing trend among the major players of college football’s elite. What it’s led to instead at this stage in the game, is a mass exodus of players looking for more playing time on greener pastures and what looks more and more like the birth of college football’s version of free agency. Some of us have simply wished them well in their future endeavors and continued to trust the process, while some have taken the stand that this generation simply isn’t willing to put in the hard work that it takes to climb the ladder.
Perhaps there’s a hint of truth in there somewhere but the fact remains it’s not up to us to dictate what’s best for the player and his family. No matter how bad we want them to call Happy Valley their home away from home throughout the entire duration of their time as student-athletes. It’s safe to say that it would do us all a little good to hear from head coach James Franklin on the current state of affairs, especially those of us that think there’s chaos and turmoil going on behind the closed doors of the Lasch Football complex. There’s not, for the record, but I totally get the sentiment given nobody knows much of anything at all at this point.
In reality, the word on the street is that FrankLion is one step ahead of it all and has been crisscrossing the country assembling the counter-attack. By the time the second and final Signing Day rolls around on the first Wednesday of February, all signs point towards Penn State toppling the Buckeyes decade long reign of having the highest ranked class in the Big Ten. In other words, stay tuned friends, the winds of change have struck like lightning but this roller coaster of an off-season has plenty of twists and turns left. Trace and Saquon have left the building. Tommy’s on deck. This week, we celebrated the four-year anniversary of the reinstatement of 409. Ahh, the winds of change. By now, we should all be used to it.