Steven Bench transferring from Penn State football

USA TODAY Sports

Bench was the only returning quarterback on Penn State's roster, and now, they have none: the rising sophomore will transfer and be able to play elsewhere immediately. That makes for a strange, but open QB competition in Happy Valley.

Steven Bench was considered to be neck-and-neck for an opportunity to start at quarterback next season for Penn State, he'll transfer instead of continuing to fight for the spot.

Bench also tweeted the news:

It's a bit of a strange justification, considering all indications were that Bench was competing for the starting QB spot -- if not the likely starter. After Rob Bolden transferred to LSU before the 2012 season and starter Matt McGloin graduated, Bench was the only returning quarterback on the Nittany Lions. He was battling Tyler Ferguson, a junior college transfer, for the top spot throughout the spring, although coach Bill O'Brien would not comment on who was the likely starter or allow the players to talk to the media. Bench didn't have much experience -- he'd only played in two games as McGloin's primary backup as a freshman, going 2-for-8 for 12 yards with three carries for 18, but it's more participation than anybody else on the current roster.

Bench will be able to play elsewhere immediately due to sanctions placed on Penn State. He had been the subject of Andy Staples' story for SI about how players on the Nittany Lions' roster were handling the ability to transfer immediately in July of 2012, and it looked like he'd stick around, but apparently he'll pursue his career elsewhere.

That leaves Penn State with relatively few choices at quarterback. Right now, it seems like the only conceivable option would be Ferguson. Behind him is Christian Hackenberg, a highly touted quarterback considered the prize of Bill O'Brien's 2013 class, but he has yet to set foot on campus, so by naming Hackenberg starter, they'd be asking a true freshman who hadn't even played spring ball with the team to take over as the primary signal-caller. It was presumed the Nittany Lions would want the five-star recruit to redshirt and preserve a year of eligibility, but they might need him to play right away. After that, it's Austin Whipple and D.J. Crook, both walk-on freshmen. Some might note that Matt McGloin was a successful quarterback after starting his career as a walk-on, but lightning doesn't always strike twice, and McGloin took four years to become a productive starter for Penn State. Regardless of who wins the starting spot, it will be someone who has never played a snap for Penn State, or even spent a season on the team's roster.

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