The coaching carousel is spinning, the NCAA Transfer Portal is popping and players are deciding their futures as college football's hot-stove season has arrived.
After signing a new 10-year contract, Penn State coach James Franklin likely will address multiple changes to his staff and roster. Expect some coaching moves, decisions on NFL futures and transfers and another dip into the NCAA Transfer Portal.
This is what we're tracking.
Players entering the NCAA Transfer Portal
Des Holmes, a fifth-year senior offensive lineman, entered the transfer portal Dec. 8 and will play his final season of eligibility elsewhere.
Holmes played in 11 games this season, primarily in a reserve role or on special teams. He played in 33 games over his five seasons at Penn State and was among the team's strongest linemen: Holmes had the team's highest bench-press max (425 pounds) during winter workouts.
After playing in 13 games in 2019, Holmes was poised to contend for a starting position in 2020. But an injury limited his availability, and he played in only four games. Rivals.com first reported the move.
Safety Enzo Jennings entered the transfer portal Dec. 2. Jennings, a redshirt freshman from Michigan, did not play this season.
Defensive back Tyler Rudolph entered the portal prior to the regular-season finale against Michigan State. Rudolph, a redshirt sophomore, also did not play this season.
Co-defensive coordinator Anthony Poindexter is staying
Anthony Poindexter, Penn State's co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach, has been a candidate for the head-coaching position at Virginia. Poindexter, inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame this week, was an All-American at Virginia, where he also spent 11 years as an assistant coach.
But on Wednesday, Poindexter told ESPN's Adam Rittenberg that he intends to stay at Penn State.
"Timing is everything for both sides. There will be a day, but I'm going to stay Penn State," said in a text to Rittenberg."
In what role? That's an interesting question. Poindexter could be promoted to full-time defensive coordinator to replace Brent Pry, who left for Virginia Tech. Franklin has yet to announce a new coordinator. We covered some potential candidates to replace Pry.
Will Franklin make any coaching changes on offense?
Penn State's struggling 2021 offense could prompt Franklin to make changes. Coordinator Mike Yurcich isn't going anywhere, particularly with quarterbacks Drew Allar and Beau Pribula enrolling in January, Yurcich has an opportunity to mold his quarterbacks into his offense. Franklin and Yurcich visited Pribula this week.
However, Penn State needs to improve significantly on the offensive line, which has been an eight-year drag on Franklin's rosters. He's on his third line coach (Phil Trautwein) and could be in the market for another. That would be a major change, though, since Trautwein is considered among the nation's top technical coaches and is only in his second year.
In addition, running backs coach Ja'Juan Seider could be eyeing a promotion, as an offensive coordinator or perhaps even as a head coach. Seider is among the nation's top recruiters and would make a splash with a smaller program. Temple has an opening, for instance.
Who's coming, who's going?
Quarterback Sean Clifford, who hasn't discussed his future publicly yet, shared some long hugs with teammates after Penn State's 30-27 loss at Michigan State. He is the primary domino of Penn State's offseason roster decisions, particularly with the freshmen enrolling early and the portal swimming with transfer quarterbacks.
Steve Jones, Penn State's play-by-play host, has said on his daily radio show that the coaching staff wants Clifford to return. One reason: If Clifford does not return, Penn State will enter have just three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster.
Franklin wants to avoid that situation again, so he would be compelled to recruit the portal for a quarterback. Clifford's return helps ease that issue.
Other key players to watch on the return front are linebacker Ellis Brooks, safety Ji'Ayir Brown, center Mike Miranda and kickers Jordan Stout and Jake Pinegar. The running backs room certainly will undergo change; it's unlikely that Keyvone Lee, Noah Cain, Devyn Ford and Caziah Holmes all return with highly ranked recruits Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen set to enroll.
Draft decisions belong to linebacker Brandon Smith and cornerback Joey Porter Jr. Further, who might decline to play in the bowl game? Penn State really hasn't faced this issue before, but several players could opt out, notably potential first-round selections Jahan Dotson and Jaquan Brisker.