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Arizona talks to potential Penn State transfers

Rich Rodriguez

Rich Rodriguez answers questions in the group session at Pac-12 Media Day at Universal Studios Hollywood. Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — Arizona wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez, who has deep ties to recruiting in the East, said his coaching staff has talked to a “couple of guys” from Penn State about the possibility of transferring.

Penn State players are able to transfer and be eligible immediately after the NCAA levied major sanctions against the program on Monday.

“We talked to a couple of guys because we knew them,” Rodriguez said at Pac-12 Media Day, adding that the players reached out to Arizona first.

“I don’t know if any of them will come or not, or if it will work out for any of them. It’s kind of emotional for them right now because it happened so quick. The turnaround is going to happen pretty quick, too. The timing is not good for anybody.”

Rodriguez recruited against Penn State while the head coach at Michigan from 2008 to 2010. Three of his Michigan assistants spent last season at Pitt (as did tight ends coach Spencer Leftwich) before joining him at Arizona. Defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel and two other defensive assistants were at West Virginia until heading to Tucson last January.

So, the Arizona staff is well-versed in Penn State’s recruiting territory.

“There are over a dozen guys that our guys know pretty well that are on their roster,” Rodriguez said. “But we’re not talking to all of them.”

Per NCAA rules, Rodriguez can’t comment on a specific player, just like he couldn’t for a high school recruit.

Penn State players can transfer from the school at any time before 2013 preseason practice without penalty, but Rodriguez indicated that anything that happens in regard to Arizona likely would happen for this season. That is where the tricky timing comes in; the Wildcats report to camp Aug. 1, so the coaching staff is trying to do its recruiting due diligence in an extremely condensed period of time.

What kind of player of player would Rodriguez covet as a transfer?

“Anybody fast who can play defense,” he said.

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