Devlin's departure puts Penn State in arms race

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

The transfer of a backup quarterback usually doesn't set off alarm bells, but Penn State has to be a bit concerned about its quarterback situation after Pat Devlin cleaned out his locker Wednesday.

Devlin and his parents reportedly met with head coach Joe Paterno on Monday to discuss his status.

"By the end of the meeting, Pat Devlin had informed Paterno that he was leaving, the source said. With one game to play, however, Devlin's decision over whether he would play in the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl against Southern Cal was left dangling.

[Wednesday], according to another source close to the team, Paterno asked Devlin if he had reached a verdict. The sophomore said he had not. Paterno made the decision for him, and by the end of the day, Devlin's locker was cleaned out."

All-Big Ten quarterback Daryll Clark was granted a fifth year of eligibility before the season and will return in 2009, but Penn State has no one behind him. Third-stringer Paul Cianciolo is a senior who will back up Clark in the Rose Bowl, his final collegiate game.

Recruiting now becomes paramount for Penn State, and it's an area that still creates anxiety in Happy Valley despite the program's renaissance this fall. The Lions' mediocre 2009 class currently features only one quarterback, Curtis Drake from Philadelphia.

Penn State undoubtedly will try to add another signal caller.

Tahj Boyd backed out of his commitment to Tennessee after meeting with new coach Lane Kiffin and would be an excellent late pickup for the Lions. Former Michigan commit Kevin Newsome also is a possibility. Newsome has Penn State among his top group of schools, and the chance to back up Clark next fall and start in 2010 could push him toward Happy Valley.