College players transferring to new teams is nothing new. Players get frustrated for various reasons and decide to seek greener pastures elsewhere.
But with the advent of the transfer portal, and with the loosening of restrictions on player movement, players transferring has taken center stage in college football.
Now, coaches need to not only recruit players out of high school, but they must also recruit players from the portal - while also continuously recruiting players already on their team, lest they dip their toe in the portal water.
Take a look at just the last four articles on BSD relating to player decisions:
First, we have defensive lineman Davon Townley, who had already entered the portal, deciding he wanted to return to the Blue and White.
Then, we have running back Keyvone Lee, who despite some earlier tweets about running it back, has placed his name into the portal.
Next, there’s safety Keaton Ellis, who mulled over his options and decided that staying at Penn State for another year would be in his best interest.
Lastly, wide receiver Dante Cephas, perhaps the most highly touted receiver in the portal, made the call for the Lions and will be joining the team for the 2023 season.
Four players. Four different outcomes. Never mind the what ifs of the teams that were courting Cephas or Townley, or who perhaps put a bug in Lee or Ellis’ ears.
Add in that
beer NIL money is flowing like wine, and it’s apparent that we’ve come to a point where college football really is a minor league system for the NFL. Luckily, Penn State appears to have set itself up fairly well, both with a savvy coaching staff and athletic department, as well as working on improvements in NIL funding and the ever-present facilities arms race.
In any case, the portal will continue to be something that we all keep an eye on, and that Penn State must manage effectively. So far, James Franklin has done a stellar job, landing players like Jordan Stout, Arnold Ebiketie, Chop Robinson, Mitchell Tinsley, and now Dante Cephas.
Here’s hoping Penn State can keep it up.