NORMAN — The Penn State saga might take on a whole new meaning for Oklahoma in the coming days.
OU could find itself part — albeit a small one — of the ongoing tragedy, as a piece of one Nittany Lion's healing process.
Wide receiver Justin Brown has been in contact with Oklahoma coaches and could announce in the coming days that he'll transfer there, he confirmed to The Oklahoman.
Brown said he doesn't have a timetable for a decision, but in all likelihood, he'll make a decision sooner rather than later; Oklahoma begins fall practices Friday morning, and Penn State starts Monday. Current Penn State players were given the option to transfer to another Football Bowl Subdivision school without having to sit out the usual one year.
The transfer option for current players was part of the iron-fisted NCAA sanctions brought down in the aftermath of the Penn State child abuse scandal, which ended with former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky convicted on dozens of charges and former coach Joe Paterno's once-sterling legacy in tatters.
“I'm not close to a decision,” Brown said in a brief telephone interview.
Brown, who has also been in contact with Cincinnati and Illinois, was Penn State's leading receiver last season, grabbing 35 receptions, 517 yards and two touchdowns as a junior in the team's run-first offense.
The new offensive system under first-year coach and former New England Patriots assistant Bill O'Brien, though, could have been better for his skill set, said George Kosanovich, his coach at Concord High School in Wilmington, Del.
“I thought this was going to be his breakout year at Penn State because of the change in offense,” Kosanovich said. “I thought Justin would have a better opportunity to get open and catch the ball, and show what he can do with the ball after he catches it.”
He could have the same opportunity, though, at Oklahoma, where Brown could slide into a wide receiver corps heavy on talent, but light on experience.
Brown might take pressure off junior Kenny Stills, who is OU's only active receiver or tight end with a career Division I reception. True freshman Trey Metoyer looks like a budding superstar, and the other newcomers are getting rave reviews, but having another talented, seasoned pass-catcher would undoubtedly be a boost.
Veteran wideouts Jaz Reynolds and Trey Franks were reinstated Wednesday from their May suspensions — and Kameel Jackson could also be reinstated soon — but they are still going to miss a “considerable” amount of games, coach Bob Stoops said Wednesday.
Brown is 6-foot-3, which would make him tied with incoming junior-college transfer Lacoltan Bester as OU's tallest wideout.
He also has been Penn State's punt returner since arriving on campus, averaging 8.1 yards a return last season.
Brown is on schedule to graduate in January, just three-and-a-half years after starting college classes, Kosanovich said, adding that from their conversations, he doesn't think transferring credits will be a problem.
“He's got some options,” Kosanovich said. “He was never redshirted, so he could go somewhere, practice a year and get his master's.
“I'm pretty sure he's interested in the (NFL), and he's certainly got the tools to do that.”
Brown has played it close to the vest throughout his decision-making process, so Kosanovich said he really doesn't know which way Brown's leaning. During the phone interview Thursday, Brown did say staying at Penn State was still an option he's considering.
“He comes from a very solid family,” Kosanovich said. “His mother and father are very involved with him.
“Whatever they're going to do, it's going to be well thought by the family and himself.”