Eighteen players who were on Penn State football rosters in 2017 or 2018 were listed in the NCAA’s transfer portal as of Thursday, Times-Shamrock has learned.
Only one regular contributor on the 2018 team whose name appears in the portal, senior linebacker Jarvis Miller, hadn’t been previously reported. He announced recently that he will be a graduate transfer at the University of Massachusetts.
The number of players to enter the transfer portal — a database of athletes who have informed a program they want to explore the possibility of a transfer — is a hot topic among Nittany Lions fans who wonder whether the expanding list of willing transfers is a by-product of something within the state of the program or simply a sign of things to come as the NCAA is giving players more control over their immediate futures.
This is the first year athletes can seek a transfer without needing permission from their current program. Under an NCAA rule that went into effect in October, Division I and Division II athletic departments are required to enter an athlete’s name into the portal within two days of notification of desire to explore a transfer.
Once a name is in the database, coaches from other programs are allowed to contact them. Players who enter their names into the portal aren’t required to transfer, but NCAA rules allow their current programs to pull their scholarship once their name is in the database.
Two players kicked off the Nittany Lions following the 2017 season, linebacker Manny Bowen and receiver Irvin Charles, are on the list. Bowen, who went to camp with the team in August before being removed from the roster again, committed in November to play his graduate transfer season this fall at Utah.
Defensive end Torrence Brown, who injured his knee in 2017 and hasn’t played since, entered the portal as well, looking for one more shot to play.
There are also a handful of players who came to Penn State as walk-ons — cornerback Jabari Butler, long snapper Matt Aloni and receiver Brandon Clark.
In addition to Bowen, a few other players listed in the portal — safety Isaiah Humphries (California), linebacker Dae’lun Darien (Maryland), offensive tackle Sterling Jenkins (Duquesne) and linebacker Brelin Faison-Walden (UNC-Charlotte) — have announced they have transferred.
Recently, wide receivers Juwan Johnson and Brandon Polk and defensive back Ayron Monroe all confirmed they plan to leave the program. Johnson even visited Pac-12 power Oregon.
Of the current transfers, Bowen, Monroe, Johnson, Polk, defensive back Zech McPhearson, Miller and Brown will be immediately eligible as graduate transfers, since they have each graduated from Penn State or have announced they are expected to do so by the end of the spring semester.
Others still must abide by the NCAA rule that prevents transfers without a degree from playing immediately, requiring them to sit out the following season if they switch from one Football Bowl Subdivision program to another.