According to head coach Bill O’Brien, Paul Jones is leaving the Penn State Nittany Lions for personal reasons. Jones was a quarterback who had been converted to tight end and is now the 14th player to leave the team since the NCAA handed out its sanctions to Penn State this past summer. Nine players have decided to transfer and Jones is one of five who have opted to remain students at the school, but to leave the football team.
Jones missed practice on Tuesday and reportedly his decision to leave the squad had nothing to do with the sanctions. He indicated to ESPN in August that he had considered transferring to the Pittsburgh Panthers, but finally chose to stick with Penn State as the backup quarterback.
Even if Jones didn’t leave because of the sanctions, that doesn’t change the fact that it hurts the Nittany Lions’ overall depth and versatility. The redshirt sophomore was a great athlete who could play either quarterback or tight end, and even recorded a reception earlier in the season. Due to his participation in a game in 2012, he can no longer play for another team this season. He could, however, move to another school and play in 2013 because of the transfer exemptions for Penn State players due to the sanctions.
There were earlier signs that Jones was not happy with the way things were going on the football field. He was upset about a move to tight end after freshman Steven Branch passed him on the quarterback depth chart. Jones shared with reporters after the Navy game that he was so frustrated with the decision that he quit the team for 20 minutes, only to return shortly after.