Few Power Five football programs have seen as many players leave this off-season via the transfer portal as Penn State. With Nittany Lions departures numbering in the double-digits, head coach James Franklin addressed the recent exodus.
In a recent interview with ThePhiladelphia Inquirer, Franklin stated that the recent wave of departures was likely a result of a "perfect storm" of problems. He explained that the introduction of the transfer portal along with many recruits losing their jobs to younger players may have prompted the various moves.
"We had a number of young players that started, and that can create some challenges within your locker room when you've got a bunch of young players coming in and earning starting jobs," Franklin told the Inquirer's Joe Juliano.
"So it kind of was a perfect storm of a new rule going in place, and a bunch of young players starting."
Ten Penn State players have already found new destinations. Top quarterback prospect Tommy Stevens is heading to Mississippi State while four-star wideout Juwan Johnson is heading to Oregon.
Franklin went on to lament that the transfer portal is making it easier for players to avoid having to face adversity.
"I get it from both perspectives," Franklin said in the Inquirer interview. "But one of the things that I worry about a little bit is I do think college athletics, and specifically football, have a very important role in our society of teaching how to overcome adversity, mental toughness, physical toughness.
“Most of these guys have been bigger, stronger, faster, smarter than everybody, and for the first time in their life, they’re challenged with that. They’re around a bunch of guys that are like that. And they learn to buckle down and find a way to overcome the adversity.”
The Nittany Lions are coming off their third-straight season of nine wins or more, and are set to bring in another superb recruiting class in 2019.
However, the loss of so many players - especially Stevens - means that the Penn State depth chart is going to look very different this coming season.
We'll see whether Franklin can coach so many young studs to another Big Ten title.