Penn State’s depth at defensive end continues to dwindle, as the Nittany Lions have already lost a potential contributor for the year.
Redshirt freshman defensive end Pete Massaro will miss the entire 2009 season after tearing the ACL in his right knee during Saturday’s Blue-White Game, Penn State announced on Monday.
“Massaro will have surgery within the next 2-3 weeks and rehabilitation will take approximately nine months,” Penn State said in a release, citing Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli, the school’s director of athletic medicine.
Less than an hour before the injury, coach Joe Paterno had mentioned the Newtown Square native by name for having a strong spring. But Massaro went down early in Saturday’s scrimmage and needed the help of two people just to get back to the sideline.
He was eventually carted off the field with his right knee heavily iced and bandaged.
Massaro had a good opportunity for playing time in 2009 after ends Aaron Maybin and Maurice Evans left early for the NFL.
Jerome Hayes is still rehabbing from his second torn ACL in as many seasons and Eric Latimore missed the spring game with a shoulder stinger and has some academic issues, according to Paterno.
Promising sophomore Jack Crawford and Hayes are the likely starters on the ends, but coach Larry Johnson likes to use a large rotation of players on the line, and Massaro likely would have been in the mix.
Hayes, Crawford and sophomore Kevion Latham are currently in line be the top three ends for the Lions in the fall.
As of early Monday evening, six more Penn Staters had joined the pro ranks, signing on as free agents.
OT Gerald Cadogan (Carolina), CB Tony Davis (Arizona), DE Maurice Evans (N.Y. Giants), DE Josh Gaines (Philadelphia), WR Jordan Norwood (Cleveland) and S Mark Rubin (St. Louis) have all agreed to terms with their respective teams.
Evans had a year of eligibility remaining but elected to leave early to enter the draft.
Those five join DE Aaron Maybin (Buffalo), WR Derrick Williams (Detroit), WR Deon Butler (Seattle), G Rich Ohrnberger (New England) and C A.Q. Shipley (Pittsburgh), who were all selected in the seven-round draft.
Sto-Rox High School quarterback Paul Jones, who is already rated as one of the top 100 seniors-to-be in the country, reaffirmed his commitment to the Lions this past weekend, according to Rivals.com.
Jones had initially given a verbal commitment to Penn State coaches in January but hinted last month that he may have made his decision too quickly.
The Pittsburgh native stopped by Pitt to check out the Panthers’ spring game earlier this month before heading to the Blue-White Game and solidifying his pledge to the Lions.
“I’m sticking with my commitment,” Jones told Rivals.com on Saturday after taking in the Blue-White record crowd of 76,500. “Just being up here for the spring game and stuff like that, it’s just crazy. It felt like one big family up here.”