Kevin Haplea Transfers From Penn State To Florida State

July 31: Kevin Haplea is no longer listed on Penn State's roster. He is transferring to Florida State.

July 27: The gig is up: several Penn State sites got word that Haplea, profiled yesterday with others (below), is currently visiting Florida State. I'm pretty sure most 'Nole media outlets knew this, but when good sources ask you to hold something, you hold it. Now that the Penn State media outlets found out and published, it is fair game.

July 27: The massive NCAA sanctions resulting from the Jerry Sandusky child rape scandal and subsequent cover-up at Penn State has created the rare situation of college free agency.

Any Penn State player may now transfer at any time during his collegiate career and be immediately eligible. The last part is very important because under normal circumstances, the player would have to sit out a season absent some other hardship.

Many FSU fans have asked in the comments and via email about who Florida State should pursue from Penn State's roster.

The obvious answer is that FSU should pursue any player that could improve the team.

Jimbo Fisher said Monday that it was too early to think about that, but this staff rarely leaves a stone unturned. Fisher also indicated that the Seminoles are at 84 scholarships, meaning they have one open and would not have to forfeit one in the future in a trade for taking a PSU player and going over the limit.

But realistically, it's going to be hard to pull a player without being able to offer him an immediate starting job. That is, unless the player has an existing relationship with the 'Noles.

FSU offered a few players who eventually signed with the Nittany Lions.

That list includes offensive lineman Miles Dieffenbach, Khairi Fortt (though his Rivals' profile says otherwise), tight end Kevin Haplea, defensive lineman/jumbo tight end Kyle Baublitz and offensive lineman Luke Graham.

Florida State's roster is loaded, and of those, I don't think any would have a guaranteed starting job if they came to Florida State. Yes, even the offensive linemen.

Is offering a player during his recruitment a sufficient enough connection to convince the kid to pack up and leave his friends and everything he knows? I'm not sure.

Maybe taking a visit would be.

And there's one player on the list who definitely did take a visit to Florida State and expressed interest in the Seminoles: tight end Kevin Haplea. Others may have, but I do not specifically remember them doing so.

Haplea is a New Jersey kid, which means he was recruited by ace recruiter and tight ends coach James Coley back in the 2010 class. He's now a junior and 6'4 and 248 pounds. Here is his bio from Penn State's media guide:

Kevin Haplea enters the season as the Nittany Lions' most experienced tight end. He worked hard in off-season conditioning and during spring practice to prepare for what could be a season of great opportunity for himself and all the tight ends. The former North Hunterdon High School standout has the size, skills and strength to emerge as a primary target in an offense that will frequently employ multiple tight ends expected to catch, and possibly carry, the pigskin. Haplea finished spring drills No. 2 on the depth chart at the "F" tight end position, which Coach Bill O'Brien has described as "a move guy; a little bit better pass receiver than he is a blocker, with good hands." O'Brien, though, also has stated that many of the tight ends will be interchangeable between the "F" and "Y" positions. With continued progress, Haplea should have some great opportunities to be a significant contributor as a receiver and blocker. Haplea enrolled at Penn State in January 2010 and has a twin sister, who also is a Penn State student. He is among seven Nittany Lion returnees from New Jersey.

Haplea seems to be a balanced tight end. FSU couldn't guarantee him the starting job, but the 'Noles certainly could offer a lot of playing time, particularly because Florida State is looking to run more two-tight end sets going forward.

Currently at tight end is H-Back type Nick O'Leary, and large tight end Dan Hicks, who is playing his first year at the position after transitioning from defensive end. Hicks is athletic, but raw.

Having battled some injuries during his career, Haplea is not necessarily the starter in Happy Valley. That's important, because a player is probably not leaving a guaranteed starting spot for a contributor role in another town.

Haplea would definitely see significant snaps for Florida State. And who knows, if FSU reaches out to him, he likes Florida State and decides to leave his friends and twin sister, perhaps he'll bring along one of his offensive line buddies as well. 'Nole fans can only hope.

Update: Haplea's high school coach spoke with him:

Another player who could be in the market for a new school is North Hunterdon High School graduate Kevin Haplea, who is the most experienced tight end on Penn State's roster after playing in every game during his first two years on campus.

"The difficult part is that it is a shame what happened and you feel bad for the victims, but you also feel bad for the young men on the team who didn't see any of this coming," said North Hunterdon coach John Mattes said.

Mattes said he spoke to Haplea, whose twin sister also attends Penn State this past weekend and the Annandale native's intentions were to wait until after the sanctions were announced and Monday morning's team meeting was held before making any decisions on his future.

"You have to realize where you are academically and how far you are along in your major," Mattes said. "When you are a freshman or a sophomore it's different. You can start over. The fortunate thing for Kevin (football-wise) is he has a redshirt year still, which is important if you decide to go somewhere else. I think it's a family decision and I'm sure his mom and dad will help him. They're both good people."

Haplea has not made a public statement or commented on the sanctions.

PHOTO: Justin Aller, Getty Images

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