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Trio Of Nittany Lions Enter Transfer Portal On Opening Day

Penn State football largely avoided the bloodbath.

NCAA Football: Delaware at Penn State Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Some people are starting to call it Black Monday.

The first day of the NCAA’s transfer portal window being open has come and gone, and nearly 1,000 players across college football are looking for potential new homes. Despite a bloodbath at mid-major and top-10 programs alike, Penn State football saw just three players enter their names.

Punter Alex Bacchetta, wideout Cristian Driver, and walk-on cornerback Jace Tutty all entered the portal on Monday. Although they are in the portal, that does not necessarily mean they will leave the program. Student-athletes sometimes enter the portal to test the waters with other coaches or feel out their NIL valuations.

Bacchetta enters the portal with three years of eligibility remaining. The former three-star recruit spent two seasons in Happy Valley and served as the backup punter both years, attempting four career punts. He said in a statement on Twitter that he wishes Penn State the “absolute best.”

Bacchetta’s impending departure may signal a return for starter Riley Thompson next year. Thompson, who spent time playing football at Deakin in Australia, has an unclear amount of NCAA eligibility remaining. If Thompson were to leave, Penn State would have two punters left on the roster in Mitchell Groh and Gabe Nwosu.

But, never count James Franklin out when it comes to bringing in specialists during the offseason. The Nittany Lions’ previous three punters — Thompson, Barney Amor, and Jordan Stout — all came to Happy Valley via the transfer portal.

Driver’s departure does not come as a surprise. He was recruited as a four-star safety and switched to wide receiver after his freshman season — perhaps to take after his dad Donald, who was an All-Pro wideout with the Green Bay Packers. Driver made one catch this season during the Delaware game. His lack of playing time amid widespread struggles in the wide receiver unit showed the team did not yet have confidence in him as a pass-catcher.

It would not be surprising to see additional wide receivers enter the portal over the coming days and weeks. Marques Hagans, who came in as wide receivers coach during the offseason, did not have a big part in building his 2023 room. The unit struggled all year.

Tutty’s entrance to the transfer portal will be largely insignificant to the team moving forward. He did not see any game action after three years with the program and was not on scholarship.

Penn State should be happy with its lack of movement on Black Monday. Rivals like Ohio State, which is set to lose quarterback Kyle McCord and wideout Julian Fleming, saw multiple starters enter their name into the portal. Big Ten schools like Indiana, Purdue, and Michigan State also saw a mass exodus.