Offensive lineman CJ Thorpe said his time at Penn State has come to an end.
Thorpe played in six games and logged three starts last season. The redshirt junior earned distinction as an All-Big Ten academic selection in December. He played in 13 games for the Nittany Lions in 2019.
“These past 4 years at Penn State have taught me unforgettable lessons. There have been trials and tribulations that helped me to grow into the person I am today. For all of these things, the good and the bad I am thankful,” Thorpe tweeted on Thursday.
Thorpe arrived at Penn State in 2017 as a four-star prospect from Central Catholic High in Pittsburgh. He committed to Penn State in April 2016. He redshirted in 2017, and made his collegiate debut one year later against Appalachian State. He played in 13 contests during his redshirt freshman season in 2018.
Thorpe briefly played on Penn State’s defensive line in 2018 before moving back to the offensive line in 2019. He said he will return to the defensive line at his transfer destination.
“I will be entering the transfer portal as a defensive lineman, leaving at the end of the spring as a graduate transfer,” Thorpe said.
Thorpe didn’t play in Penn State’s last three games of the season this fall because of what Nittany Lions coach James Franklin described as a “medical decision.”
The 6-foot-3, 313-pounder is the third player to enter the NCAA transfer portal since Penn State’s regular-season finale on Dec. 19. Defensive tackles Judge Culpepper and Antonio Shelton have also left the program.
On Wednesday, Shelton announced Florida as his new collegiate destination.
“Different animal, same beast. #GoGators,” Shelton tweeted on Wednesday.
Culpepper on Thursday shared he will transfer to Toledo.
The Nittany Lions roster tracker has changed often this offseason with new arrivals and departures.
Penn State’s young secondary will be infused with veteran leadership next season as senior cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields last weekend announced he would return for another season.
“Where the heart is willing, it will find a thousand ways. A firm believer in everything having its season,” Castro-Fields tweeted.
Outside of Castro-Fields, then-redshirt junior Donovan Johnson was the only other upperclassman cornerback Penn State carried on its roster in 2020. Joey Porter Jr. (rising redshirt sophomore), Daequan Hardy (rising redshirt sophomore) and Marquis Wilson (rising junior) played significant minutes last season. Porter Jr. did so as a Week 1 starter.
Castro-Fields has dealt with injuries over the past two seasons that caused him to miss significant time. He was sidelined for six games in 2020. As a junior in 2019, he battled injuries throughout the season.
When healthy, however, he has done his part to help bolster Penn State’s secondary. He earned third-team All-Big Ten accolades in 2019 and he was named an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection in 2020.
Penn State’s already added four transfers via the NCAA transfer portal in John Lovett (running back/Baylor), Arnold Ebiketie (defensive end/Temple), John Dixon (cornerback/South Carolina) and Derrick Tangelo (defensive tackle/Duke). Franklin in December said defensive back will be a position of interest this offseason.
“When you talk about transfers, we’re going to be looking at defensive ends, and we’re going to be looking at defensive backs from a transfer perspective in a second recruiting cycle,” Franklin said.