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College football changing

There has been plenty of talk about how NIL and the transfer portal are changing the landscape of college football at the national level.

Here in Butler County, we don’t have too look far to notice such a thing.

Slippery Rock University’s football team is using its long string of success to its advantage these days.The Rock is bringing in 10 transfers to fill holes vacated by departing starters.

These guys are high-quality Division II players who will likely help keep SRU at or near the top of the PSAC West this fall.

In most cases, when players transfer, they want one of two things: Play for a winner or play at a school where they can start. In SRU’s case, some of these transfers will realize both goals.

The transfer portal has reached the point where PSAC players are transfering to other PSAC schools. Three of The Rock’s incoming transfers are coming from California (PA.), Gannon and Bloomsburg, respectively.

Gannon is bringing in seven transfers, including two from Edinboro.

Edinboro’s recruiting class consists of 37 players. California is bringing 35 players in, Clarion 34 asnd Seton Hill 32. Mercyhurst and Gannon have 24 incoming recruits each.

By comparison, SRU is bringing in only 15 high school players. Indiana (Pa.) has a recruiting class of 17, along with five transfers.

Part of the reason for The Rock’s low number of high school recruits goes back to the portal. While SRU is bringing in 10 transfers, it only lost a couple of players itself to the portal. IUP is likely in a similar situation.

When your team is winning and has a shot at conference championships and national playoffs, players don’t want to leave.

By contrast, if your program is struggling to compete and become a contender in its league, players aren’t likely to stay for four years. The transfer portal makes it harder for struggling football progams to rebuild and easier for winning football programs to reload.

In terms of striving for competitive balance, this isn’t a good thing.

SRU coaching shuffle

Rock head football coach Shawn Lutz recently announced the promotion of Joe Marella, former wide receiver and special teams coach, to the position of offensive coordinator.

The move was made necessary by former OC Drew Moulton’s acceptance of a position coaching tight ends for Western Michigan University. The last five SRU offensive coordinators have moved on to the Division I level, headed by Phil Longo, now the OC at Wisconsin.

When you keep winning at the rate the SRU grid program has, other people have interest in your coaches. Lutz has been forced to repeatedly adjust his staff as a result.

But he loves the reason why.

John Enrietto is sports editor of the Butler Eagle

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