Penn State head football coach James Franklin announced in a media session on Tuesday evening that Penn State defensive end Smith Vilbert will be unavailable to play this season. The reason has not been disclosed for Vilbert’s lack of availability.
Vilbert, a 6-foot-6, 256-pound redshirt junior figured to be a depth piece on Penn State’s defensive line. He has practiced but has not seen any game action.
Vilbert’s lack of availability does come as somewhat of a surprise because he recorded three sacks in last January’s Outback Bowl against Arkansas. He has not been listed on an injury report or has not been reported for violating team rules.
Franklin spoke in detail on his status before their game against Northwestern last Saturday:
“Just not available,” Franklin said. “I would like to sit down with Smith and make sure that we are on the same page. Again, like we talk about all the time, whatever it may be whether it may be injuries or whatever it maybe I don’t like to make announcements here publicly before we have spoken so we’re all on the same page. I’ve got a ton of respect for all the players in our program, and I want to be respectful to all their situations whether its personal, whether its professional, whether its academic whatever it may be. I want to be respectful to all those things.”
He finished by saying “I’m really proud that Smith Vilbert is part of our program, and I will leave it at that for now, but I will back up with you guys now that it’s specifically been asked.”
Vilbert is still a part of the program for now, but it is unknown what his plans are beyond this fall.