It was news that had been expected for awhile. On Saturday, Torrence Brown made it official.
Penn State’s lone senior defensive lineman publicly announced on social media that he wouldn’t be able to suit up for his final season with the Nittany Lions this fall.
“Due to multiple injuries and surgeries, my career at Penn State has come to an end,” Brown wrote. “It has been tough coming to terms with this news, but I know that everything happens for a reason and God will continue to guide me.
“I will still be a part of the team for this upcoming season supporting from the sidelines. I’m looking forward to graduationg this winter and getting my degree from one of the most prestigious universities in the country.”
Brown, who opened last season as a starter at defensive end, suffered a serious knee injury in the third week against Georgia State and missed the rest of the year. Penn State initially hoped he would be able to return, but prior to the next week’s game against Iowa the team learned otherwise.
After the season, teammates spoke of him as if he had played his last down at Penn State, with fellow end Shareef Miller at one point debating whether to switch permanently to Brown’s No. 19, which Miller wore in honor of him for that Iowa game last September.
Brown is the fifth Penn State scholarship player in the past six weeks to announce a premature end to his college career because of injuries. He was joined by fellow defensive end Ryan Buchholz (back), quarterback Jake Zembiec (shoulder) and true freshmen Nana Asiedu and Jordan Miner, both of whom were diagnosed with heart issues that will prevent them from playing.
Defensive coordinator Brent Pry said at the start of training camp he did not expect to have Brown available.
Miller is in line to return as one starting end with a competition ongoing for the other spot, which was held by both Brown and Buchholz last season.
When Buchholz went down midway through the 2017 campaign, tackle Kevin Givens shifted out to end for stretches of time, though the Lions are thinner in the middle this season and Givens is more likely to start inside.
Sophomores Yetur Gross-Matos, Shane Simmons, Shaka Toney and Daniel Joseph are all candidates for more playing time. The Lions also have two true freshmen at the position in Jayson Oweh and Nick Tarburton.
Brown is a Tuscaloosa, Ala., native who was a late addition to coach James Franklin’s first recruiting class back in 2014. While some of his teammates who made similar announcements in recent weeks have said they are retired from football, Brown is hopeful to pursue a pro career after recovering.
“My career isn’t over, this is just a bump in the road,” Brown wrote. “Thank you to everyone who has and continues to support me.”
Stevens banged up
Penn State held its annual team photo day on Saturday at Beaver Stadium. Most notable was that backup quarterback and all-around offensive threat Tommy Stevens was wearing a walking boot on his right foot and carried crutches with him, according to reporters in State College.
Stevens sat out spring practice to recover from an injury and had worn a walking boot on the same foot at that time as well.
Though he didn’t go into specifics about what had happened then, he did respond on Saturday after pictures of him back in the boot hit social media by writing, “Don’t panic!” on Twitter.
Reach Derek Levarse at 570-991-6396 or on Twitter @TLdlevarse