Pat Devlin
Penn State's Pat Devlin throws a pass during last spring's Blue-White Game. Devlin intends to transfer, the school announced Wednesday night. (Daily Record / Sunday News -- File)
The Nittany Lions must continue preparing for the Rose Bowl without backup quarterback and prize prospect Pat Devlin, who is transferring.

Devlin, a redshirt sophomore, was involved in a close battle with starter Daryll Clark throughout spring workouts and preseason summer practices. Clark, a redshirt junior, won the starting job, though, and saw nearly all of the meaningful snaps during this fall's 11-1 season.

Clark returns next year - which means Devlin would have returned as the expected backup, again.

A statement released by Penn State officials Wednesday night said, "Sophomore quarterback Pat Devlin has informed Coach Joe Paterno that he intends to transfer. He will not participate with the team in the Rose Bowl. The Penn State football program wishes him well at his new school."

This now elevates seldom-used senior Paul Cianciolo into the top backup spot.

The news apparently filtered through a team workout on Wednesday, catching at least some by surprise.

"We all came to work out today, and somebody said that Pat might be leaving," said Knowledge Timmons, the William Penn High grad who is a Nittany Lion defensive back. "And I was like, 'What is he leaving for?'

"It's still fresh to everybody. ... I guess (he figured) he's not going to be the starter (next season) so he wants some playing time."

When asked about the timing of the possible transfer, Timmons said, "We're doing good, so it is kind of distracting now. I'm kind of surprised about hearing about it."

Devlin's quarterback's coach at Downingtown East High School, Dan Ellis, declined to comment on the situation Wednesday night, and efforts to reach East's head coach, Mike Matta, were unsuccessful.

While Devlin played in most every game this season, he truly made his mark in two - a blowout victory early at Syracuse and the late comeback at Ohio State.

Against Syracuse, he was 8-of-13 passing for 130 yards and two touchdowns.

At Ohio State, he abruptly entered the game in the fourth quarter after Clark suffered a concussion, the Lions trailing 6-3. He promptly threw a pass, which drew a key pass interference penalty, and led the winning touchdown drive, scoring on a 1-yard sneak.

For the season, he was 25-of-47 passing (53 percent) for 459 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions.

It was not much work, considering his past accomplishments and potential.

He came to Penn State after breaking the Pennsylvania high school record for career passing yards (8,162) at Downingtown East. As a senior he threw for 3,300 yards and 35 touchdowns, was named a Parade Magazine All-American and was rated as the No. 4 quarterback prospect in the country by Scout.com.

He initially chose to attend the University of Miami before having a change of heart after the Hurricanes' coaching staff was dismantled following the 2005 season. He picked Penn State shortly after.

He redshirted in 2006 and saw few snaps as the third-string quarterback behind Anthony Morelli and Clark in 2007.

He would be eligible to play in 2009 if he transfers to a Football Championship Subdivision (Division I-AA) school. He would be forced to sit out a year, though, if he enrolls at a Division I-A school.

His departure leaves Clark as the Lions' only scholarship quarterback on roster for next season.

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