Penn State Football Position Preview: Quarterbacks

Story posted October 23, 2020 in

Quarterback is the most important position in football, and Penn State has had some great ones over the years.

Todd Blackledge, Kerry Collins, Michael Robinson, Daryll Clark, Matt McGloin, Christian Hackenberg, and Trace McSorley are all great quarterbacks who played for the Nittany Lions.

Penn State believes they have a guy right now who can add his name to that list very soon.

Sean Clifford is entering his second as the starting quarterback for Penn State. Clifford’s first year as the starter has to be considered a success, as he completed 59.2% of his passes and had 2,654 passing yards.

Clifford also added 23 touchdowns and only threw seven interceptions. Clifford also hurt defenses with his legs, rushing for 402 yards and five touchdowns.

All of these stats are great for Clifford, and he continued to grow as the season progressed.

Clifford’s most important stat is his record as the starter. Clifford led the Nittany Lions to an 11-2 record and a Cotton Bowl victory over Memphis.

Most thought Penn State would take a step back with the loss of Trace McSorley, but Clifford was able to take control of the Penn State offense and help continue the team’s success of the McSorley era.

Clifford is going to face his biggest challenge this year. Clifford has a lot of new faces around him, most notably new offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca.

Ciarrocca comes to Penn State with a lot of hype, as he just helped lead Minnesota to one of their best seasons ever.

Ciarrocca helped Tanner Morgan become one of the top quarterbacks in the country, and Penn State hopes he can do the same with Sean Clifford.

An obstacle that Penn State was forced to deal with was how the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the off-season this year. Ciarrocca and Clifford were unable to have a full camp to get to know each other.

If the two can get on the same page and run an effective offense, then Penn State could have one of the top offenses in the Big Ten.

Penn State also has some depth at the position and it starts with backup quarterback Will Levis.

Levis is a great athlete and has great size. Standing at 6’3” and 229 pounds, Levis  is hard to bring down and has become an extremely effective runner.

Levis did end up getting to play last year as Sean Clifford was injured in the Ohio State game. Levis entered the game and helped Penn State erase a 21 point deficit to make the game 21-17.

Penn State ultimately ended up losing the game, but Levis showed what he is capable of. Levis also started Penn State’s game against Rutgers, and had a solid performance.

Levis had 81 passing yards, 108 rushing yards and one touchdown in Penn State’s 27-6 victory over the Scarlet Knights. Clifford is clearly Penn State’s number one guy, but Levis has proven that he has the ability to be a starter if they need him.

James Franklin has done a great job attracting talent to Penn State, and he seems to have a quarterback room that has the ability to lead Penn State to their rightful place at the top of the Big Ten.

Adam Sheetz is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email ads360@psu.edu

About the Contributors

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Adam Sheetz

Freshman / Broadcast Journalism

Adam D. Sheetz is a freshman from Reedsville, Pennsylvania majoring in broadcast journalism. I am a writer and on-air personality for the CommRadio sports department. His writings include Heisman Watch articles, Around the SEC, Around the ACC and Penn State football content. He was an intern doing color commentary for baseball, football and field hockey for WCHX 105.5 in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. If you’d like to contact him, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).