A few gut punches

With spring practice under way, the next era of Penn State has officially begun under Bill O’Brien, but off the field it’s been a rough stretch for the Nittany Lions.

Redshirt freshman defensive end Shawn Oakman was kicked off the football team late last month, with charges of disorderly conduct, harassment and retail theft filed last week. The apartment of senior wide receiver Devon Smith and former defensive end Jack Crawford was found to have drugs in it during a search on March 14. No charges have been filed against either Smith or Crawford, but O’Brien was aware of the situation and declined to comment during Monday’s press conference.

Recruiting, off to a hot start with the commitments of quarterback Christian Hackenberg, tight end Adam Breneman and defensive end Garrett Sickels in the past month, has slowed a bit. While offensive lineman Brendan Mahon and defensive end Curtis Cothran committed to the Nittany Lions in the past week, once thought to be PSU leans Mike McGlinchey, an offensive lineman from Philadelphia, and Ryan Switzer, a wide receiver from West Virginia, both decided to go elsewhere. McGlinchy committed to Notre Dame during a visit over the weekend and Switzer is off to North Carolina.

Also, former Maryland quarterback Danny O’Brien, a two-year starter for the Terps but in search of a new school and eligible to play immediately because he finished school at Maryland and intends to go to graduate school, picked Wisconsin over Penn State on Wednesday. What makes it even harder to swallow for PSU fans was that O’Brien was at Penn State on Monday to take in the Nittany Lions’ first practice of the spring.

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