Penn State has had a lot of success with recruiting football players from the D.C. area. When the NCAA handed down harsh sanctions on July 23, many Penn State-bound players began to rethink their decisions.
The NCAA has decided to allow current Penn State players to transfer immediately without sitting out a season, due to the unusual set of circumstances surrounding the case. Recruits who have signed with Penn State have the same option as current players.
Damascus High School linebacker Zach Bradshaw was rocked by the news of the NCAA sanctions. He made a verbal commitment to Penn State just four weeks ago.
“I had heard that [the sanctions] were going to be severe, but it was still surprising,” Bradshaw said. “But I guess I thought this was in the realm of possibility.” On the same day that the NCAA announced its sanctions, Bradshaw received an offer from Michigan State. He initially chose Penn State over South Carolina, Virginia and Northwestern.
“I’m just going to do what I think is best for me and what my family thinks is best for me,” Bradshaw said. “What other people do is not going to affect my decision.”
Bradshaw is not the only player weighing his options. Lineman Brian Gaia of the Gilman School in Baltimore was scheduled to report to State College in a few weeks for his first year at Penn State. But according to USA Today, Alabama coach Nick Saban contacted Gaia’s high school coach Biff Poggi inquiring about Gaia.
“We’re on hold right now,” said Gaia’s father, Tim. “He has not made any decisions. We’re still gathering information.”
Rivals.com recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said he expects Penn State to retain only a few of its recruits from the high school class of 2012 and even fewer from the class of 2013. New Jersey defensive lineman Greg Webb (2013) who decided to pull out of his commitment to Penn State, has chosen to attend the University of North Carolina. The father of Ohio cornerback Ross Douglas (2013) said his son has chosen to reopen his recruitment process.
“I’d say the (2013) class is probably going to crumble,” Farrell said. “It’s not really cool to be at Penn State right now.”
College coaches don’t have the freedom to contact players directly. They are required to go through an intermediary, typically a high school coach.