Penn State coach Joe Paterno said Tuesday at Big Ten media days that defensive tackle Abe Koroma will be taking the 2009-10 school year off, according to multiple news reports out of Chicago.
Paterno called it “a personal decision” by the junior from Hershey.
“We’re gonna lose Koroma. He’s gonna drop out for a year,” Paterno told reporters at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, where the event is being held.
Koroma already used his redshirt season in 2006, his first year on campus. He would still have a year of eligibility remaining for 2010, though it’s uncertain if he’ll return to Penn State and the football team at this point.
In 2008, Koroma was charged with one count of marijuana possession after a September raid on his on-campus apartment. He was suspended for three games by Paterno before returning for the Big Ten conference schedule, starting in four games.
Along with Jared Odrick and Ollie Ogbu, Koroma was expected to be one of the top contributors in Penn State’s rotation on the defensive line.
With Koroma’s absence, candidates for more playing time in the middle include junior Tom McEowen, sophomores Devon Still and Chima Okoli and redshirt freshman Brandon Ware.
In two seasons for the Nittany Lions, Koroma totaled 33 tackles, 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss while recovering two fumbles.
After serving his suspension in 2008, the Milton Hershey School grad helped make up for the losses of fellow tackles Chris Baker and Phil Taylor, both of whom were dismissed from the team prior to the season.
Paterno also said Tuesday that he expects senior cornerback A.J. Wallace will get his academic issues resolved in the near future and join the team for fall camp, which begins Aug. 10.
According to Centre County court documents, offensive lineman Ako Poti was charged with DUI earlier this month. His status with the team for the 2009 season at this time is unknown.
Fight On State first reported the situation.
Charges were filed against Poti on July 17, according to the criminal docket, which listed his blood-alcohol content as being between .10-.16. The legal limit in Pennsylvania is .08. He was arrested by State College police on an unlisted date.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 2.
On July 21, Penn State announced that wide receiver James McDonald would not be invited back to the squad, a day after he was officially charged with DUI.
Poti, a fifth-year senior, was one of two junior-college recruits Penn State brought in before the 2007 season to add depth to the offensive line. Poti and Nerraw McCormack were the first JUCO players signed by Penn State in 22 years.
But the experiment has yielded few results so far. Poti appeared in four games in 2007 before redshirting in 2008 along with McCormack.
Heading into 2009, Poti is expected to be a reserve at tackle behind projected starters Dennis Landolt and DeOn’tae Pannell.