Some Penn St. players have contacted Arizona
LOS ANGELES – University of Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez said Tuesday that his coaching staff has talked to some Penn State players about the possibility of transferring after the school was hit with severe NCAA sanctions following the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal.
Rodriguez made it clear that the players contacted Arizona first.
“We know a couple of the guys,” Rodriguez said at Pac-12 Media Day at Universal Studios’ Gibson Amphitheater. “I don’t know if any will come. It’s an emotional situation for them. Everything is going to happen quick, so the timing may not be good for anybody.”
Penn State players are allowed to transfer and retain immediate eligibility under NCAA rules.
ASU’S QB ANSWER COMING SOON
Arizona State football coach Todd Graham said he expects to whittle his quarterback race down to two players “quickly” once camp begins.
“The longer it goes without naming a star, I don't like that,” Graham said at Pac-12 Media Day. “As soon as we can do that, we need to do that, because it settles everything down. You need a leader and a quarterback.”
Mike Bercovici is thought to be leading the race for the starting job but Graham has said repeatedly that he expects to use a second quarterback in some situations. That would appear to be a nod to redshirt freshman Michael Eubank, whose running abilities will make the Sun Devils more versatile at the position.
ONYEALI EXPECTED BACK FOR CAMP
Graham said suspended defensive end Junior Onyeali has not been re-instated yet after he was suspended in January "for not meeting the high standards of the Sun Devil football program."
“He's done everything we asked him to do in his plan of improvement, and that's something I'm proud of. In this situation, we gave him a very difficult plan of improvement to go through, and he's done everything. He was a 3.0 (GPA) student this spring. Very impressed by that. He's got a few more checks to make here this last part of the month, but I expect him to report with our team on (August 2).”
RODRIGUEZ WEIGHS IN ON PENN STATE
Rodriguez coached against Penn State while he was the head coach at Michigan from 2008 to 2010. Here’s his take on the NCAA's sanctions against the school.
“You get hit with the scholarship reductions; you get hit with the loss of the bowls and, obviously, the monetary fine. It's going to be tough for that school to recover," Rodriguez said. "But nothing is going to be nearly as tough as what those victims went through.”
The NCAA imposed several sanctions in the wake of the Freeh report, detailing the university's inaction in the face of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse charges.
The NCAA fined Penn State $60 million, imposed a four-year bowl ban and cut scholarships from 85 to 65 for the 2014 through 2017 seasons. The impact on recruiting will be felt for years to come and the effects have already started. On Monday, elite cornerback recruit Ross Douglas decommitted and switched to Michigan.
“As tough as the situation is for (Penn State), they'll recover,” Rodriguez said. “It may take some time, but they have a great coaching staff. (New coach) Bill O'Brien will do a tremendous job. They have a terrific university, a great community. I have been there many times. I was there as a player, as an assistant coach and there as a head coach competing against them. They will be able to rally.
“Will it take some years? Probably. But at the same time I think there are a lot of lessons to be learned, and the lessons go beyond athletics. It's more than an athletic issue, it's a societal issue. Hopefully, everybody can learn from that and be better going forward.”
ASU running back Cameron Marshall pronounced himself 100 percent after missing much of spring ball following ankle surgery.
“Heading into camp, this is the best I’ve felt in a whole year,” said Marshall, who played through ankle and knee injuries all of last season.”
Marshall headlines perhaps the deepest position on the Sun Devils roster. Behind him, the Devils have Deantre Lewis, who is coming back from a shooting incident, James Morrison, who earned Graham’s praise this spring for his bruising running, junior college transfer Marion Grice and incoming freshman D.J. Foster, the program’s top recruit, out of Scottsdale Saguaro High.
To no one's surprise, USC and Oregon were picked in the preseason poll of media members to meet in the 2012 Pac-12 Championship Game, with USC the overwhelming choice to emerge as the winner.
The Trojans were picked to win the South Division on 117 of 123 ballots, while Oregon had the same number of first-place ballots in the North. USC got 102 of 123 votes to win the title game, with 18 going to Oregon.
The remaining three? Strangely enough, they went to Arizona State, which was picked to finish fifth in the six-team South Division.