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Nittany Lions give QB Ferguson permission to seek transfer

After losing the starting job to freshman Christian Hackenberg, Tyler Ferguson is allowed to speak to other schools.

Penn State quarterback Tyler Ferguson. (Paul Vernon/AP)
Penn State quarterback Tyler Ferguson. (Paul Vernon/AP)Read more

STATE COLLEGE - Less than a year after landing in Happy Valley and being a candidate to be Penn State's starting quarterback, Tyler Ferguson is on his way out.

Ferguson lost the starting job to true freshman Christian Hackenberg and was granted permission to speak with other schools, the team confirmed yesterday. Lions247 broke the news yesterday afternoon that Ferguson was seeking a transfer.

Ferguson saw action in five contests, including playing the third possession of the Nittany Lions' season opener against Syracuse, and completed 10 of 15 passes for 155 yards, and threw a 65-yard touchdown to Allen Robinson in the team's blowout loss at Ohio State on Oct. 26.

Ferguson, who was one of the nation's most touted junior college quarterbacks, transferred from California's College of the Sequoias in January. The 6-3, 213-pounder will have 2 years of eligibility left wherever he lands.

The 19-year-old is the second quarterback to leave the program in 8 months. Steven Bench, the team's backup in 2012, bolted for South Florida in April. The Lions also parted ways with quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher earlier in the week.

For the first time since 2009, Penn State will enter next spring's workouts without any quarterback controversy. Hackenberg, the 2013 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, will look to build on a 2,955-yard, 20-touchdown campaign. The question now is: Who backs him up?

It likely will be a player who lacks collegiate experience. Penn State has three other quarterbacks on its roster: freshmen D.J. Crook, Jack Seymour and Austin Whipple. Coach Bill O'Brien also has one signal-caller, Michael O'Connor, in his 2014 recruiting class. O'Connor, an oral commit from Bradenton, Fla., was tabbed as a four-star recruit by and is set to enroll at Penn State in January.