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Penn State's Devlin says he'll transfer

The ex-Downingtown East QB won't even go to the Rose Bowl.

Pat Devlin lost a tight preseason competition for the Nittany Lions' starting-quarterback job to Daryll Clark.
Pat Devlin lost a tight preseason competition for the Nittany Lions' starting-quarterback job to Daryll Clark.Read moreCHRISTOPHER GARDNER / For the Inquirer

Pat Devlin has given up on Penn State.

Devlin, the all-time passing leader in Pennsylvania scholastic history who stayed in-state to play college football, is transferring, the Nittany Lions announced last night.

The former Downingtown East star lost an off-season competition for the starter's job to Daryll Clark. Devlin was a seldom-used backup this season.

"Sophomore quarterback Pat Devlin has informed coach Joe Paterno that he intends to transfer," Penn State's statement said. "He will not participate with the team in the Rose Bowl. The Penn State football program wishes him well at his new school."

A message left with Devlin was not returned.

According to a source close to Paterno, Devlin, along with his parents, Mark and Connie, visited with the 81-year-old coach on Monday to express their displeasure over their son's situation. The Devlins brought with them a list of issues they had about Penn State's handling of their son.

By the end of the meeting, Pat Devlin had informed Paterno that he was leaving, the source said. With one game to play, however, Devlin's decision over whether he would play in the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl against Southern Cal was left dangling.

Yesterday, according to another source close to the team, Paterno asked Devlin if he had reached a verdict. The sophomore said he had not. Paterno made the decision for him, and by the end of the day, Devlin's locker was cleaned out.

Mark Devlin said last night that he was unaware of his son's plans to transfer.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Devlin said. "You'll have to get a comment from the sports information department at Penn State."

Without Devlin, fifth-year senior Paul Cianciolo will move up to the second team as the Big Ten champion Nittany Lions prepare for USC. Earlier this season, Devlin, who was primarily used in mop-up duty, was called upon in Penn State's game against Ohio State after Clark left the game in the fourth quarter with a concussion.

The Lions were trailing, 6-3, but Devlin guided the offense to a go-ahead touchdown and later an additional three points as Penn State won, 13-6, to improve to 9-0. He scored the winning touchdown on a 1-yard run.

"He was riding high," a source close to Devlin said.

But Devlin continued to experience rough patches and doubts over his future, because Clark, a junior, is slated to return next year. The source said Devlin was never comfortable with quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno and relied more on the advice of wide receivers coach and former Penn State quarterback Mike McQueary and offensive coordinator Galen Hall.

"The relationship was never forged with him and his quarterbacks coach," said Mike Matta, Devlin's coach at Downingtown East.

A message left with Jay Paterno was not returned last night.

During the off-season, the Devlins were assured that their son was receiving an equal opportunity in his competition with Clark. Several days before the season opener, Joe Paterno announced that Clark was his starter.

Devlin admitted that he had thought briefly about transferring, but that he decided to stay and continue to compete for the job.

"We believe in Jimmy V," Mark Devlin said after the decision, referring to the late, inspirational basketball coach Jimmy Valvano. " 'Don't give up. Don't ever give up.' And Pat believes in Jimmy V, too. . . . Sooner or later it's going to work out."

Clark had a great season as the Lions went 11-1. He threw for 2,319 yards and 17 touchdowns, with just four interceptions. Devlin threw for 459 yards and four touchdowns against zero interceptions.

Devlin does not have a destination. He will likely move onto a Division I-AA school so he will not lose a year of eligibility. The source close to Paterno said that the coach would likely release Devlin from his letter of intent. The source close to Devlin said that Richmond or Delaware could be likely landing spots for the former blue-chipper.

Devlin came to Penn State a decorated prep player. He originally committed to Miami but switched to the Lions just before signing day. His father and mother are both alumni.

Aside from Clark and a few walk-ons, Penn State does not have another scholarship quarterback in the system. The Lions have aggressively pursued several recruits for next year and still have Kevin Newsome, a mobile quarterback from Chesapeake, Va., on their radar. He paid an official visit to State College this past weekend but has yet to commit.