Redshirt freshman safety Tim Buckley has left the Penn State football program for North Carolina State, the Wolfpack announced Monday.
Buckley is the first Nittany Lion player to join another program since the NCAA levied major sanctions against the school last week. One of the sanctions allows players to transfer to another school without having to sit out a season.
Buckley, who attended Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh, N.C., begins practicing with the Wolfpack today.
“I am excited to be a member of the N.C. State Wolfpack,” Buckley said in a North Carolina State release. “The opportunity to come here and play at my state university, so close to home, was something I couldn’t pass up.”
The 6-foot, 202-pound Buckley joined the Nittany Lions as a preferred walk-on last year. He was listed as the backup free safety behind Malcolm Willis on Penn State’s summer depth chart. Buckley’s father, Tim, is a Penn state graduate.
The Nittany Lions are replacing four starters in the secondary. The unit also lost projected contributors Curtis Drake (academics) and Derrick Thomas (personal reasons) earlier this summer.
The four players listed as first-teamers on the summer depth chart — Willis, Jacob Fagnano, Adrian Amos and Stephon Morris — are staying at Penn State in 2012. True freshmen Da’Quan Davis, Jordan Lucas and Jake Kiley are participating in summer workouts and could contend for immediate playing time.
Buckley is the second player to leave the program this week. Penn State removed junior quarterback Rob Bolden from the roster on Sunday night.
Sophomore wide receiver Alex Kenney is staying at Penn State this season, a source confirmed to the Centre Daily Times on Monday night.
Kenney, a State College High School graduate, is the leading contender to start at slot receiver. Kenney moved to No. 1 on the summer depth chart when Devon Smith left the team for personal reasons last month.
Multiple major programs were courting the ultra-fast Kenney, who moved from defensive back to wide receiver before the start of spring drills. But Kenney has strong ties to Penn State and State College. His sister, Lauren, is anAll-American javelin thrower on Penn State’s track team, and his father, Larry, is a professor at the University.
Penn State’s other projected starting receivers — Justin Brown and Allen Robinson — are also expected to stay with the team.
No decisions for Redd, Fortt
Junior running back Silas Redd and junior linebacker Khairi Fortt are still mulling their options.
ESPN reported that Redd visited Southern California this past weekend and will meet with Penn State coach Bill O’Brien today. Redd led the Nittany Lions with 1,241 rushing yards last season.
Fortt’s father, Guy Fortt, told the Stamford Advocate that his son will not transfer to Connecticut. The paper reported that Fortt, who is from Connecticut, visited California this past weekend and returned to Penn State’s campus on Sunday. Fortt is competing with Glenn Carson for the starting middle linebacker spot.
Sophomore running back Bill Belton announced on his Twitter account that he will wear No. 1 this season. Thomas and Bolden wore the number last season. ...The Big Ten Network’s bus tour will visit Penn State on Aug. 23. On-air personalities Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith and Dave Revsine are participating in the tour. ... A rally for Penn State players is planned for the team at 6 a.m. today outside the Lasch Football Building. Players begin a regular workout at 7 a.m.
Guy Cipriano can be reached at 231-4643. Follow him on Twitter @cdtguy