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Alternate reality: PSU’s transfer barrage continues

Photo by Duke Athletics: Derrick Tangelo

We were told this a couple of weeks ago, and it certainly has proven to be true: “I think we all kind of realize that in the past, for us at Penn State, transfers were not a big part of our overall recruiting process. That will change.”

Those words, spoken by PSU director of player personnel Andy Frank 12 days ago, have proven to be prophetic very quickly.

Along with this word: “Dramatically.”

That’s what James Franklin said when asked how new transfer rules would change recruiting.

For the third time in eight days, the Nittany Lions have added a transfer. This afternoon, defensive tackle Derrick Tangelo announced he’s transferring to Penn State from Duke, where he played the past four seasons.

Tangelo joins cornerback John Dixon (South Carolina) and running back John Lovett (Baylor) as transfers who have picked Penn State over the past week. He was a 3-star recruit coming out of high school in Maryland.

ROSTER RUMBLINGS: Keep track of all the offseason PSU player movement here

Tangelo (6-foot-2, 310 pounds) had 40 tackles (24 solo) for the Blue Devils this season, to go along 2 sacks, 4 tackles for loss, 3 forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. (You can see his career numbers and highlights below.)

Clearly, the days of Penn State not bringing in transfers is over. As Frank said on national signing day, the PSU program almost never did that during Joe Paterno’s lengthy career, and it’s still been a rare occurrence over the past decade.

But times, they are a changing.

The transfer portal is blowing up across college football because players will be able to play immediately without having to sit out a year, thanks to NCAA legislation expected to pass next month.

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Penn State had only 15 commitments in this year’s recruiting class, a very small number, so James Franklin always knew he would have to go out and fill some holes through the transfer portal.

The fact that this has happened so quickly — three in eight days — may seem surprising, but it’s really not when you consider that players and teams alike need to finalize these decisions in a short period of time this winter before the spring semester starts in a few weeks.

These are Tangelo’s career numbers and season highlights, from his Duke bio page:

Career Defensive Statistics
Career Defensive Statistics
Season GP SOLO AST TOT TFL-YDS SACKS-YDS INT PD FF FR BLK
2017 11 4 2 6 2-10 1-9 0 0 0 0 0
2018 13 19 26 45 4-11 1.5-9 0 0 2 1 0
2019 10 11 12 23 2-6 0-0 0 0 0 0 0
2020 11 24 16 40 4-14 2-11 0 1 3 1 0
Total 45 58 56 114 12.0-41 4.5-29 0 1 5 2 0

2019: Played in 10 games with five starts … registered 23 tackles, 2.0 TFL and one QB pressure … posted 2+ tackles in six contests including a season-best six stops against Wake Forest … on the field for 361 snaps.

2018: Played in all 13 games with 12 starting assignments … totaled 45 tackles, 4.0 TFL, 1.5 sacks, two caused fumbles and one fumble recovery … compiled eight games with 3+ tackles including a season-high 10 stops against N.C. Central … had nine tackles versus Virginia … had 1.5 TFL, 1.0 sack and one caused fumble at Miami to help the Blue Devils to their first victory in Miami since 1976 … with the Hurricanes on the Duke 46 yard line with less than one minute remaining in the game and trailing by eight points, sacked Miami QB N’Kosi Perry for an eight-yard loss … first collegiate caused fumble and fumble recovery came at Georgia Tech during a stretch when Duke forced fumbles on three consecutive drives to turn a 7-7 tie into a 28-7 advantage … on the field for 589 snaps.

2017: Played in 11 games … did not see action against Georgia Tech and Wake Forest … totaled six tackles, 2.0 TFL and 1.0 sack … had a season-high two tackles against N.C. Central … logged 1.0 TFL in the win over Baylor … first collegiate sack came in the Quick Lane Bowl victory over Northern Illinois … on the field for 61 snaps.

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Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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