While nine players have decided to leave the Nittany Lions in the face of a postseason ban and fewer scholarships, Fagnano saw an opportunity.
For about a week, the redshirt freshman talked with his parents and brother -- Penn State safety Jake Fagnano -- about a transfer.
"With all those guys leaving, it opened up spots and gave me an opportunity," said Jared Fagnano, who lives in Williamsport, Pa. "And I've just always wanted to play football there."
Jared, a preferred walk-on, asked to be released from Akron in early August because he was not invited to preseason camp. Shortly afterward, he reached out to Penn State's coaching staff, who seemed receptive to his addition.
The 5-foot-10, 182-pound wideout will not have a Penn State scholarship this season and will have to sit out a year because of NCAA transfer rules. Still, he has three years of eligibility remaining.
"He wanted to play for Penn State initially back with his high school and recruiting, but things didn't seem like they were going that way for him," his father, Philip, said. "And those sanctions opened up some opportunities."
Jared Fagnano said the thought of transferring first crossed his mind in early August when he wasn't invited to Akron's preseason camp. He said he got lost in the shuffle after some shake-ups with the coaching staff.
Penn State, a school he grew up rooting for, was the natural choice.
"I wouldn't say it was an easy decision because I liked Akron, I fit up there," Jared said. "But it was an easy decision in the sense I could play at Penn State and play with my brother. That's always kind of been a dream for me, just to be on Penn State. I was real excited when I found out I had that opportunity."