Royer leaves Nittany Lions, stays enrolled

Penn State backup tight end Dakota Royer -- a player once ranked by ESPN as the 70th-best prospect in the country -- has left the program for unspecified reasons but will remain a student at the university, according to an email he sent ESPN.

The redshirt sophomore will not transfer, but instead plans to earn his degree in May. He becomes the 10th player to leave since the sanctions were announced.

"Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, I regret to inform you that I felt it necessary to remove myself from the team," he said in a written statement. "I want to thank my teammates for their support and camaraderie, as well as Coach (Bill) O'Brien and his staff for the opportunity."

The 6-foot-1, 228-pound tight end enrolled early at Penn State in 2010, but never lived up to his billing as a top linebacker prospect. He saw no action last season, and O'Brien moved him to tight end this spring. Royer was listed behind redshirt freshman Kyle Carter as Tight End "F" and was expected to battle senior Brian Irvin for some playing time once Kevin Haplea transferred to Florida State. Seven tight ends remain on the roster, however, so the move is not expected to affect the offense.

A two-way player out of Manheim Central in Manheim, Pa., Royer was considered the Class of 2010's second-best prospect -- behind only linebacker Khairi Fortt (ESPN's No. 66 overall player), who transferred to Cal last week in the face of sanctions.