Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, April 24, 2013

Steven Bench

It was a surprise to see news that Steven Bench is transferring from Penn State. He appeared to be in the thick of the quarterback chase to replace Matt McGloin, competing with JC transfer Tyler Ferguson along with walk-ons D.J. Crook and Austin Whipple this spring.

[ Penn State football announces roster change ]

?I have been meeting with all the players this week with my evaluation of where they are at related to football and academics and to discuss what they need to work on this summer,? Bill O?Brien said in a school release. ?After meeting with Steven, he informed me he wants to play elsewhere. We want what is best for Steven. I want to thank him for his contributions to the program.?

Bench played at Virginia and at Purdue last season as a true freshman, hitting 2-of-7 passes for 12 yards and running for 18 vs. the Cavaliers. He was 0-for-1 vs. the Boilermakers.

Incoming freshman Christian Hackenberg will join the competition this summer. He will arrive amid great hype as one of the nation?s most touted quarterback prospects. In the end, I think he will end up being the starter when the Nittany Lions open the season vs. Syracuse on August 31 at in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

It makes sense to scale back the playbook and build around Hackenberg for four seasons. Making that move more plausible is the fact Hackenberg would be surrounded by veteran talent at wideout, running back and the line, along with a batch of great tight ends. It?s a nice situation for a true freshman quarterback.

About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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