While the transfer portal has slowed down a bit since the winter, there is one guarantee in college football: the portal is never closed. That’s certainly the case for LSU transfer quarterback TJ Finley, who is receiving interests from a number of schools — including Penn State, according to two different reports.
Keep an eye on Penn St, Texas & Auburn https://t.co/ti8IwmV6Y7— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) May 14, 2021
Some schools to keep an eye on in the recruitment of TJ Finley: Alabama, Auburn, Penn State, and Texas.— Garland Gillen (@garlandgillen) May 14, 2021
Finley, coming off his true freshman season, saw substantial playing time in five games for the Tigers in 2020. Being a true frosh, it was no surprise that Finley ran hot and cold. The hot: he went 44-of-63 for 536 yards, four touchdowns, and just one interception in starts against South Carolina and Arkansas. The cold: 36-of-77 for 405 yards, one touchdown, and four interceptions against Alabama, Texas A&M, and Auburn.
All things considered, that’s not too shabby for a true freshman quarterback with Finley’s physical gifts: elite height (6-foot-6) and size (242 pounds) with the type of arm you’d expect from a man that size. The issue for Finley though is that LSU is likely to run with Max Johnson, so as quarterbacks do, Finley opted to take his talents elsewhere for the next four seasons.
I imagine the hope within the Penn State fan base is that Finley would push Clifford this coming season, and I’m sure that if Finley transferred to Happy Valley, there would be a competition for the job. Beyond being the 2021 starter though, Finley would help give some depth back to the quarterback room. Finley would essentially replace the departed Micah Bowens, and would fill in as the 2020 recruiting class’ quarterback.
Personally, I’m skeptical that Finley comes here. He’s a Louisiana kid with very legitimate SEC options — that’s a tough one for the Nittany Lions to win. Plus, despite Clifford’s struggle-filled 2020 season, it’s not like Finley would come here and be a lock for the job. In fact, Clifford would assuredly be the favorite. So yeah, tough swing of things for James Franklin and Mike Yurcich. We’ll see if they have the portal magic once again, though.