Junior tight end Kevin Haplea is the latest Penn State player to transfer in the wake of crippling NCAA sanctions. His father confirmed reports that Haplea will continue his career at Florida State this fall.
Haplea played in every game for the Nittany Lions in 2011 and recorded three catches for 21 yards and a touchdown, but his biggest role was blocking for PSU’s leading rusher, Silas Redd. Redd, who had 1,241 yards and seven touchdowns last season, is transferring to USC.
Haplea was the No. 2 blocking tight end on the depth chart for Penn State at the end of spring practices.
He will have two years of eligibility remaining at FSU thanks to the NCAA transfer exception allowing Penn State players and commits to transfer to other FBS programs without penalty.
The Seminoles needed additional depth at the position after losing last year’s seniors Beau Reliford and Ja’Baris Little to graduation. The only lock at the position is sophomore Nick O’Leary, who led the tight ends with 12 catches for 164 yards in 2011.
Tomahawk Nation speculates that Haplea should win the second tight end position over sophomore Will Dye, who was primarily a blocker last year, while The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Haplea may rotate with converted defensive end Dan Hicks as the second tight end.
Haplea’s father told The Express-Times his son was not guaranteed any particular role within the ‘Noles offense.
Gene Haplea also noted that Florida State was one of his son’s top choices before ultimately committing to Penn State in 2010, and said the kinesiology major will have a “smooth” academic transition.