Penn State’s spring practice begins Friday. Brent Wilkerson won’t be on the field for it.
The senior tight end has been suspended from the team indefinitely as he faces charges from an alleged assault on Feb. 13.
According to court documents, Wilkerson was charged on March 8 with misdemeanor indecent assault and summary harassment. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 6.
“We are aware of the charges against Mr. Wilkerson. He has been suspended indefinitely from all football and team activities until we have more information,” Penn State said in a statement. “We will not have any additional comment as this is an ongoing legal matter.”
WJAC in Johnstown first reported the charges against Wilkerson.
Nittany Lions players have faced few legal issues in two-plus years under coach James Franklin. Offensive lineman Anthony Alosi was removed from the team following an assault charge shortly after Franklin took over in 2014.
Other disciplinary issues — cornerback Da’Quan Davis and linebacker Daiquan Kelly were dismissed in 2015 — did not involve criminal charges.
Wilkerson and three teammates had been cited for criminal mischief in 2014 for throwing eggs at a residence hall on campus.
An alum of prestigious DeMatha Catholic High School in Maryland, Wilkerson was heavily recruited by top programs both before and after the Jerry Sandusky scandal threw Penn State’s 2012 recruiting class into chaos.
Wilkerson ultimately recommitted to Penn State and former coach Bill O’Brien, but his career was derailed in the early going by injury. He didn’t see the field until his redshirt sophomore season in 2014, catching a touchdown in the fourth quarter of a blowout win.
His first significant action came last fall, but it was primarily as a blocker. Wilkerson finished the year with six catches for 39 yards.
Without Wilkerson, Penn State enters spring ball with just one tight end with any playing experience. Junior Mike Gesicki was one of the country’s top recruits at his position in high school but was plagued last fall by drops and mental mistakes.
Behind him are Nick Bowers and Jonathan Holland, both of whom redshirted in 2015. True freshman Danny Dalton arrived on campus in January.