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James Franklin Names Drew Allar Penn State’s Backup Quarterback

He’s here.

NCAA Football: Penn State Spring Game Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Game week is upon us, folks, as James Franklin met with the media today to wrap up some lingering preseason questions. While Tyler Elsdon edging out Kobe King for the starting middle linebacker spot and Jake Pinegar being named the starting placekicker were notable announcements, the most intriguing piece of info Franklin shared was that true freshman Drew Allar won the backup quarterback job.

For those that have followed Penn State football closely this offseason, this is quite the surprise. Everyone’s expectation was that redshirt freshman Christian Veilleux would be QB2, while Allar would take a guaranteed redshirt year with basically no expectation to play unless it was a complete blowout. Although it’s still probable that Allar won’t play past the four-game threshold to reserve his redshirt, it’s certainly no longer a guarantee given that Sean Clifford has not been the healthiest guy over the last three seasons. One Clifford hit goes the wrong way and Drew Allar is Penn State’s starting quarterback.

As mentioned, this is very much a surprising move, but one that makes some sense when you peel back the layers. Most obviously, Drew Allar is a five-star quarterback. I don’t know if you all have followed college football the last four-ish years, but a big key is keeping the five-star quarterbacks happy because that transfer portal is just a click away. Now, I don’t doubt that Allar has impressed enough to have earned the job, but I think it’s safe to say that if it was close between Allar and Veilleux, the edge is going to be given to the most likely starter next season — which is Allar. With that being the case, it only makes sense that you want to put Allar in the best position to succeed as far as his development goes, and getting second-team reps over third-team reps should only benefit him; not just for the 2022 season but, more importantly, for the 2023 season and beyond.