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Published: Wednesday, August 1, 2012, 5:11 p.m.

Penn State loses two more players

PHILADELPHIA — A slow but ominous exodus from Penn State’s scandal-savaged football team continued Wednesday with the departures of a talented freshman lineman from South Jersey and a key reserve linebacker.
According to his high school coach, West Deptford High’s Jamil Pollard, a four-star defensive tackle who already was attending classes at Penn State, will transfer to Rutgers, a school that had recruited him heavily.
And Khairi Fortt, a linebacker who had two years of eligibility remaining, revealed that he will transfer to California, the second Nittany Lion in 24 hours to leave for a Pac-12 school.
On Tuesday, tailback Silas Redd, who rushed for 1,241 yards in 2011, announced that he was joining Southern California, a team ranked No. 2 in a Sporting News preseason poll released Wednesday.
These two most recent defections mean that four players have walked away from the program new coach Bill O’Brien is trying to hold together in the face of unprecedented NCAA sanctions.
A fifth, quarterback Rob Bolden, a onetime starter who had fallen to third string on the depth chart, had been dropped from the roster before he decided to attend Louisiana State.
Last week, in response to the Freeh report’s findings in the Jerry Sandusky child sexual-abuse scandal, the NCAA punished Penn State with a four-year bowl ban, a $60 million fine, and the loss of 40 scholarships over the next four years.
In doing so, the regulatory body announced that Nittany Lions players could transfer and immediately become eligible at their new schools. The deadline for those decisions is Monday’s start of Penn State’s summer camp.
“Our team is sticking together,” O’Brien said in a tweet from a Penn State athletics spokesman. “Over 90 percent of our football team is sticking with us.”
Pollard, 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds, had made an oral commitment to Penn State as a junior, before the university backed away because of academic concerns. But his grades improved in his senior year, and this spring he signed a letter of intent with the Nittany Lions.
Rutgers and Boston College also had recruited him heavily.
According to his coach, Clyde Folsom, six or seven Division I schools, including Nebraska, Georgia, Purdue, and Texas Tech, had contacted Pollard after the NCAA’s sanctions against Penn State were announced on July 23.
“I think Rutgers was always in his heart,” Folsom said. “I don’t think he’s leaving Penn State because he can’t play in a bowl game or can’t win a championship or because of the athletic scholarship reductions. That all weighs into it. But I think everything that happened was more of an opportunity for him than a reason to leave.”
Pollard, a Rutgers spokesman said, won’t report to his new school until after Tuesday’s end of summer classes at Penn State. The Scarlet Knights’ camp begins Sunday.
In a statement released by his father, Fortt said that he “was ready for a change” and that California had been one of the schools he had considered while he was a sought-after recruit in Connecticut.
“He will miss Penn State,” said his father, Guy Fortt.
A sophomore last fall, Fortt, who wore LaVar Arrington’s No. 11, played in every game as a reserve, finishing with 33 tackles and 21/2 sacks.
“I connected with those guys (at California) very well,” Fortt told the Stamford (Conn.) Advocate. “They seem like great people. The environment there is fantastic and I got a good vibe.”
Story tags » College Football

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