Penn State notebook: Ferguson to explore transfer options
The process has started for Penn State to lose a quarterback from the program for the second time this year.
Backup Tyler Ferguson has been granted permission to speak with other schools, a Penn State spokesman confirmed, meaning the Nittany Lions will likely enter next season without one snap of college-level experience behind starter Christian Hackenberg.
Ferguson appeared in five games this season after losing out to Hackenberg, a freshman, in a preseason competition for the starting job.
Ferguson transferred to Penn State from the College of the Sequoias (Calif.) in January. He beat out Steven Bench, who then transferred to South Florida, in the spring. At one point during August, coach Bill O'Brien said Ferguson was slightly ahead of five-star recruit Hackenberg.
O'Brien waited to announce his starter until the Aug. 31 opener against Syracuse. Ferguson played the third series against the Orange but fumbled on his third play and did not play again. He appeared only in “mop-up” duty the rest of the season.
He completed 10 of 15 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown for Penn State.
Ferguson will have two years of eligibility remaining should he transfer, although he would have to sit out a year if he goes to another FBS program. Freshman walk-ons D.J. Crook, Austin Whipple and Jack Seymour are the only other quarterbacks on the roster, although Florida prep star Michael O'Connor has verbally committed to Penn State.
More honors for Urschel
Senior guard and co-captain John Urschel was announced as one of two repeat academic all-Americans this week.
A 4.0 GPA student, Urschel joined Oklahoma center Gabe Ikard in being selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America two years in a row.
“I have tried to represent my team, university and family as best possible during my time at Penn State,” Urschel said in a statement. “I am very appreciative of all of my professors, coaches, teammates, friends and family for their support and helping me in everything I do.”
Urschel has earned bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics and is working on a second master's as he teaches an undergraduate-level course this semester. An NFL prospect, he has said he ultimately wants to earn a doctorate.
Urschel is the 11th Penn State player to be recognized as such twice. In all, 63 Lions players have been honored, second-most among FBS schools.