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Report: Arizona pursuing Penn State redshirt freshman linebacker

Ben Kline

Penn State linebacker Ben Kline enters the stadium prior to the home game against Nebraska last season. Photo by Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

Arizona Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez said Tuesday he has been in contact with a “couple of guys” from Penn State about transferring, and one of them is linebacker Ben Kline, according to the York Daily Record.

KIine’s high school coach from Dallastown (Pa.), Kevin Myers, told the newspaper that the redshirt freshman is being recruited by Arizona, Arizona State, Purdue, Northern Illinois, Bowling Green and others.

Rodriguez said the kind of player he would want to target from Penn State is “anybody fast who can play defense.”

Rodriguez and many of his assistants have previous relationships with Kline.

Kline visited the Michigan campus twice and, according to a March 2010 story on Rivals.com, was offered a scholarship as a junior when Rodriguez was still the head coach of the Wolverines. Four former Michigan assistants from that time are also now with the Cats.

West Virginia was also recruiting Kline. His lead recruiter, Bill Kirelawich, is the new defensive line coach for Arizona. Former Mountaineers defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel now holds that same spot at UA. Kline told WVSports.com in April 2010 that “Kirlav (Kirelawich) is something else. He’s special. I enjoy being around him.”

With all those connections to Kline’s recruitment out of high school, it makes sense that there would at least be some dialogue between Arizona and the linebacker.

Rivals.com rated Kline as a three-star recruit out of Dallastown, ranking him as the 27th-best inside linebacker in the nation. Scout.com had him as a three-star prospect at outside linebacker.

Kline (6-2, 224) was known for his speed in high school, also participating as a sprinter on the track team; he played running back and receiver in addition to linebacker.

Penn State players are free to transfer without penalty in the wake of NCAA sanctions handed down Monday. With the program facing a four-year bowl ban, a Penn State redshirt freshman could never play in the postseason or in the conference championship game.

Any team taking a Penn State transfer is allowed to go over its scholarships limits — 25 in a year and 85 total. If that happens, then the school’s scholarship limits for the next season is reduced by an equal amount.

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