Quarterback Bench to transfer from Penn State
Penn State's quarterback situation started to sort itself out Wednesday but probably not in the way coach Bill O'Brien had hoped.
Sophomore Steven Bench, Penn State's top backup last season, will transfer after getting beaten out this spring by junior-college transfer Tyler Ferguson.
Penn State has released Bench from his scholarship. He will transfer at the conclusion of the spring semester.
Bench, who played sparingly behind the record-setting Matt McGloin in 2012, wrote on his Twitter account that he will “go to a school that will give me the opportunity to compete for the QB spot and reach my potential.”
Bench's departure leaves Ferguson as the only scholarship quarterback on the roster — and leaves Penn State perilously thin.
The Nittany Lions also have invited quarterback walk-ons Austin Whipple and D. J. Crook. Highly touted freshman Christian Hackenberg is scheduled to arrive at Penn State in late June.
Hackenberg, a five-star recruit, will be given a chance to compete for the starting job this year, but Ferguson will enter preseason practice as the No. 1 quarterback.
Ferguson, a 6-foot-3, 199-pounder, and Bench had been in a dead heat during spring practice. Neither appeared to separate himself during Saturday's Blue-White game.
Bench completed 9 of 15 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown; Ferguson completed 9 of 15 passes for 90 yards and a pair TDs. O'Brien gave Ferguson the edge at quarterback following a comprehensive review of Penn State's 15 spring practices.
“After meeting with Steven, he informed me he wants to play elsewhere,” O'Brien said in a release. “We wish Steven the best in the future and will assist him any way we can.“
Ferguson, a redshirt sophomore, threw for 2,614 yards and 22 touchdowns last season at the College of the Sequoias in California. He enrolled at Penn State in January after O'Brien made a late run at the Bakersfield, Calif., native.
Note: Penn State added wide receiver to its projected 2014 recruiting class when Chris Godwin of Delaware gave the Nittany Lions a verbal commitment. Godwin, DeAndre Thompkins and Mt. Lebanon's Troy Apke give Penn State three wide receivers among its six verbal commitments.
Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @ ScottBrown_Trib.