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Penn State 2011 Recruiting - Quarterbacks

The other day we looked at how many scholarships Penn State should have to give in their next recruiting class. With 12 known scholarship players graduating after the 2010 season, I gave a preliminary estimate around 16-18 scholarships. This is a number that will likely fluctuate as time goes on and players leave the program prematurely for whatever reason. But we'll use it as our starting point in evaluating the needs of the team. Today we will start with the quarterbacks. Let's look at the projected 2010 scholarship quarterback roster. I differentiate between redshirt and true freshmen because I think there is a significant difference there. But I will not differentiate which sophomores, juniors, and seniors had a redshirt year. After a year or two in the program I don't think the difference is that significant.




Redshirt Freshmen


Brett Brackett Kevin Newsome Paul Jones
Matt McGloin Robert Bolden

Now some of you may be saying to yourself, "Brett Brackett quarterback wha?" Calm down, Casual Penn State Fan. Brackett is going to get a look at quarterback this spring. He played quarterback in high school and actually started his Penn State career at quarterback, so it's not exactly new territory for him. Personally, I think it's a good move. He probably won't compete for playing time, but he can be a great asset is summer drills and on the practice field to provide leadership and help the inexperienced guys learn the playbook and tricks of the trade.



When the coaches sit down and plan out their targets for the class they plan to sign in February 2011, they will want to look at what they project their needs will be in 2012. Hopefully, you don't need a kid to come in and play right away. Some positions like running back and defensive linemen lend themselves to seeing early playing time, but you are usually in trouble if you need a player to make an impact as a true freshman. So you plan on a kid taking a redshirt year to bulk up and learn the system so he can step on the field and contribute the following year.

So if you are looking at the chart above, kick out Brackett and move everyone two slots to the left. Jones and/or Bolden may move three slots to the left if they don't redshirt. I suspect Jones will play and Bolden will redshirt in 2010. Jones enrolled last month and will go through spring practice making him better prepared. Also, I think Bolden's skill set is closer to Newsome than Jones's is, so I anticipate the coaches will want to redshirt Bolden to create some separation between him and Newsome. But of course injuries can change everything so we really don't know, but let's assume either Jones or Bolden redshirt, but not both.

In 2012 Penn State should have two senior quarterbacks (Newsome and McGloin), one junior, and one sophomore. So ask yourself, will Penn State need another quarterback on the roster in 2012? In my opinion, the answer is yes. After 2012, there will be only two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, Jones and Bolden. Frankly that frightens me. Nobody has seen what these guys can do yet, so what if they don't work out? One of them is not going to win the starting job in 2012. What if he goes the Pat Devlin route and transfers out of the program to play for two years someplace else. I think they need a contingency plan in case this happens, so I think Penn State will look to bring in one quarterback in this class.

I doubt they will find any four or five-star talent this year. The big name studs want to go to a program where they can play right away. Kids are going to look at this depth chart and pitch their Penn State offers in the trash. None of them will want to ride the bench for three years with the hope of getting one or two years as a starter. So I would look for Penn State to go after a solid three star kid. We can target the big boys, but you don't want to be sitting around on signing day watching them go to Florida, USC, and Notre Dame while you get nothing. We want the kid that has offers from some of the respectable MAC schools that grew up with Rashard Casey posters on his wall. Ask him if he would rather start three years at Central Michigan or one year at Penn State. To a lot of kids that's an attractive offer.

Before you start the "OMG Mike r u serius?" in the comments, I'm not saying Penn State shouldn't go after any five star quarterbacks. I'm not saying Penn State should "settle" for lesser talent. Go ahead and give the five star kids a phone call. Maybe there is some interest there and you can luck out. But be realistic about the situation. Johnny Five-Star most likely isn't going to like our depth chart. So don't put all your eggs in one basket like they did with Terrelle Pryor in 2007. If it comes down to Penn State and some other school where he can play right away, we are going to be standing there empty handed the day after signing day. I would rather see Penn State get a capable career backup player than strike out and get nothing.