Offensive lineman Nowicki transfers to Illinois

Illinois has landed its first transfer from Penn State.

Head coach Tim Beckman confirmed during Monday’s first practice at Camp Rantoul that Penn State offensive lineman Ryan Nowicki has transferred to the Illini for the 2012 season. Nowicki was born in Elgin, Ill., and was originally recruited by Illinois out of high school. The 6-foot-5, 280-pound sophomore participated in a full practice on Monday with his new teammates.

“This gives (Nowicki) an opportunity to play at the state school of where he lived as a young boy,” Beckman said in a press release. “We are glad to have him on our team for this season, and we are excited to see him compete in Rantoul this week.”

The NCAA and Big Ten handed out sanctions to Penn State in the aftermath of the sex abuse scandal of Jerry Sandusky, and all Penn State players are able to change schools without having to sit out a year. This makes Nowicki the first member Penn State player to transfer within a Big Ten school following the sanctions.

Beckman confirmed reports that eight coaches were in State College last week, though not specifically on Penn State’s campus, after being contacted by some of Penn State’s players with an interest of transferring.

Beckman made no apologizes at last week’s Big Ten Media Days, insisting that he followed all NCAA guidelines. It has not been confirmed if Nowicki was one of the players who reached out to the Illini initially, or if he took part in a meeting last week.

Nine Nittany Lions have left Penn State since the sanctions were announced, including running back Silas Redd and punter Anthony Fera, who have transferred to USC and Texas, respectively.