3 more Nit­tany Li­ons play­ers, in­clud­ing po­ten­tial starter Wade, pon­der trans­fer

Centre Daily Times - - Front Page - BY JOHN MCGONIGAL jm­c­go­ni­[email protected]­tredaily.com

Three more Nit­tany Li­ons have re­port­edly joined wide­out Juwan John­son in the trans­fer por­tal.

Safety La­mont Wade, cor­ner­back Zech McP­hear­son and wide­out Bran­don Polk have all en­tered the por­tal, ac­cord­ing to a re­port Sun­day from Cole Cubelic of the SEC Net­work. McP­hear­son also con­firmed on Twit­ter that he in­tends to trans­fer af­ter grad­u­at­ing in the spring.

Wade, McP­hear­son and Polk can still de­cide to re­turn to Penn State in 2019; the por­tal is there so they can ex­plore their op­tions and other coaches can con­tact them with­out Penn State’s in­ter­fer­ence. But re­turn­ing, while pos­si­ble, is cer­tainly not likely at this point.

For Polk, the po­ten­tial trans­fer is un­der­stand­able. The red­shirt ju­nior, who con­trib­uted un­der three of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tors, fell out of the wide re­ceiver ro­ta­tion de­spite seven starts in 2018. He was plagued by dropped passes, but will be re­mem­bered for a cru­cial fourth-down catch in

State’s close win against Ap­palachian State in Week 1.

McP­hear­son, a red­shirt ju­nior, was used spar­ingly this sea­son. But with Amani Oruwariye mov­ing on, the cor­ner­back would have been in line for an in­creased role next year.

Still, if McP­hear­son and Polk leave, they’re mi­nor losses in the grand scheme of things. James Franklin has brought in enough cor­ners (Dono­van John­son, Trent Gordon, Keaton El­lis, Mar­quis Wil­son) and wide re­ceivers (Justin Shorter, Ja­han Dot­son, Daniel Ge­orge, Cam Sul­li­vanBrown, John Dun­more) to fill the void.

But if Wade de­parts, that would be a big­ger blow.

Wade – a for­mer five-star prospect out of Clair­ton – was ex­pected to com­pete for the start­ing safety role with Nick Scott mov­ing on. Penn State’s high­es­tranked de­fen­sive signee since Mau­rice Evans in 2006, per 247 Sports, Wade moved from cor­ner to safety last off­sea­son and grew in the po­si­tion as 2018 pro­gressed. He never started, but con­trib­uted in sub­pack­ages and served as the gun­ner on punt cov­er­age.

Prior to the Cit­rus Bowl, Penn State de­fen­sive coorPenn


di­na­tor Brent Pry said Wade had a “tremen­dous op­por­tu­nity” ahead of him.

“La­mont’s an ex­plo­sive player. He’s a phys­i­cal player. His im­prove­ment and his ex­pe­ri­ence he’s gained on spe­cial teams has re­ally helped him,” Pry said. “I’m ex­cited to see what hap­pens this spring.”

Cor­ner­backs coach Terry Smith said with Scott leav­ing, the staff was look­ing for Wade to step up in 2019. Red­shirt se­nior John Reid added at a Cit­rus Bowl prac­tice that Wade was a “sponge” learn­ing the safety po­si­tion and that he “has the trust of all the play­ers.”

Again, Wade might still have that op­por­tu­nity to start for Penn State in 2019. He doesn’t have to leave Happy Val­ley. But by en­ter­ing the trans­fer por­tal, it seems he’s con­sid­er­ing start­ing else­where.

ABBY DREY [email protected]­tredaily.com

Penn State safety La­mont Wade – a for­mer five-star prospect out of Clair­ton – was ex­pected to com­pete for the start­ing safety role with Nick Scott mov­ing on. Wade is con­sid­er­ing trans­fer­ring.

ABBY DREY [email protected]­tredaily.com

Penn State cor­ner­back Zech McP­hear­son gets a kiss be­fore the Nit­tany Li­ons’ game against Ohio State last sea­son. McP­hear­son con­firmed he in­tends to trans­fer.

ABBY DREY [email protected]­tredaily.com

Penn State re­ceiver Bran­don Polk talks to wide re­ceivers coach David Cor­ley. Polk re­port­edly joined wide­out Juwan John­son in the trans­fer por­tal.

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