If you like Penn State and you like quarterbacks, well then do I have good news for you this week.
1. Clifford Is Back, Rebook Those Tickets To Indy, Baby
In case you missed the news last evening, Sean Clifford was back at practice yesterday for all the media to see.
Could this be a touch of gamesmanship from James Franklin for Illinois? Maybe. Despite the fact that Franklin said Wednesday was not Clifford’s first practice this week, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least that Clifford is still held out against the Illini. But — and this is an important but — there’s no way Clifford isn’t taking the field for Ohio State on October 30.
Plus, as far as the gamesmanship angle goes, it’s not like Ohio State is prepping all that differently whether Clifford is out there or not. If Will Levis was still around, I might buy that notion a little bit more. Levis would bring with him a totally different power running game dynamic. But Ta’Quan Roberson or Christian Veilleux? It’s not like the Buckeyes would need specific practices to make it a long night for No. 2 or No. 9.
But man, isn’t it great seeing Clifford back out there? Seeing Penn State squander away a great win against Iowa was one thing, but then having this cloud of mystery surround Clifford was disheartening. It’s one thing for Penn State to come up short in their College Football Playoff pursuit, but it’s another thing when it felt like the Nittany Lions weren’t going to go down swinging — instead, going down with a whimper with No. 14 on the bench.
We’ll see what Clifford looks like when he takes the field — whether that’s against Illinois or Ohio State — because it’s probably safe to say he won’t be 100%. But at least for me, there’s some newfound juice knowing that Clifford will be back out there.
2. Drew Allar Gets His 5th Star, I Am Preparing For My “I <3 Allar” Tattoo
247Sports updated their recruiting rankings yesterday, and guess what tik-tok-lookin’ assassin is the new No. 1 quarterback in the country?
The new No. 1 QB in the Top247 is @PennStateFball commit @AllarDrew— 247Sports (@247Sports) October 20, 2021
Allar is one of 11 recruits to earn their 5th star in the updated Top247.
Full QB rankings ➡️ https://t.co/frQS6Jg0Pc pic.twitter.com/oRpi2UZnql
Perhaps it’s because I just don’t follow recruiting as closely as my younger years, but folks: this is what we’ve been waiting for. We’ve made the comparisons of Penn State to Clemson — the slow build over a number of years. But the thing Penn State has been missing was their Deshaun Watson (note: the player, not the (alleged) person). The quarterback that could elevate them to the next level. The quarterback that would get them over the hump. For a second, it looked like Penn State had that guy — but then he de-committed and ended up at Ohio State.
Allar is everything you want a quarterback to be. Tremendous size at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds. Elite arm strength to make every throw on the field. The arm angles. The touch. And while not an elite athlete, he has some decent wheels that when combined with his size, should make him a real asset when a play breaks down.
Now let me be clear: I am not saying Drew Allar will be Deshaun Watson. That would be ridiculous. I mean, Watson never even won a Heisman Trophy, whereas Allar will likely win at least two, with the third going to fellow 2022 recruiting class five-star Nicholas Singleton. Leinart-&-Bush 2.0? Many people are emphatically saying “yes” and who am I to disagree with the people?