Aug. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Wide receiver Devon Smith, who left Pennsylvania State University’s football team in June, transferred to Marshall University, the Huntington, West Virginia, school said.
“Devon is a great young guy, has tremendous talent and is one of the fastest players in the country,” Marshall coach Doc Holliday said in a statement on the school’s website yesterday. “He is a member of the Marshall family now and we’re excited about it.”
Smith, a senior, left the Nittany Lions for personal reasons, Jeff Nelson, a spokesman for the State College, Pennsylvania, school, said in an e-mail. Nelson didn’t give details.
Smith was charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in March, according to ESPN. It’s not clear whether the arrest and his departure from the team were related.
He is eligible to play next season because the National Collegiate Athletic Association waived its provision that would have required Penn State transfers to sit out a season as part of sanctions related to the case of former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted of sexually molesting young boys.
Smith caught 25 passes for 402 yards and two touchdowns in 13 games last season. As a sophomore, he had 27 catches for 363 yards and one touchdown, and ranked second in the Big Ten with a 12.9-yard punt return average.
Smith had a sideline collision with Joe Paterno during a 2011 practice, injuring the then-Penn State coach’s shoulder and hip, according to USA Today. Paterno, who was fired for his part in the school’s handling of the Sandusky case, broke a leg in 2006 after a collision during a game at the University of Wisconsin.
Marshall begins its season at West Virginia University on Sept. 1.
Penn State’s top two scorers, Anthony Fera and Silas Redd, left for other schools after the NCAA announced sanctions related to the Sandusky case.
Fera transferred to the University of Texas, while Redd committed to the University of Southern California. Fera and Redd combined for 104 of the Nittany Lions’ 251 points last season, with Fera making 14 of 17 field-goal attempts while earning second-team All-Big Ten honors as a punter.
The NCAA sanctions include a four-year bowl ban. The program also lost 20 scholarships annually after college sports’ governing body determined school officials tried to cover up Sandusky’s child abuse.
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