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2023 Spring Position Preview: Quarterback

ALLAR SZN is upon us.

NCAA Football: Penn State at Indiana Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

BSD’s position-by-position preview continues with the quarterbacks. With Sean Clifford having finally used up his full decade of eligibility, Drew Allar presumably takes the reins as the starting quarterback, but don’t sleep on his backup...

Projected Starter

Drew Allar

After spending 2022 as Cliff’s apprentice, it’s now Allar’s turn to take over the starting role. Although he was the backup, Drew saw action in ten of PSU’s 13 games last year, throwing for 344 yards and four touchdowns on 35-of-68 passing. His most notable games were against Ohio University, where he threw a pair of TD bombs in the second half to re-ignite the passing attack, as well as against Indiana, where he tossed a pair of TD’s. He also looked very poised for a true freshman in the season opener against Purdue, when he was suddenly thrust into the game after Cliff had to sit out a series early in the second half, throwing a couple nice balls, including one dime to Tyler Warren that should’ve been a first-down catch.

At this point, we all know about Drew’s ability to sling the rock downfield and accuracy. If he can continue to improve upon his already good pocket awareness as well as learning to take what the defense gives him (I still envision how in the Purdue game, he had nobody within 10-15 yards in front of him on third and long and could’ve easily scrambled for the first down, but was too adamant on making the throw), then the sky is the limit for this kid.

Key Reserves

Beau Pribula

The redshirt freshman and presumptive backup to Allar has been impressing the coaching staff since first setting foot on campus last Spring. He possesses a different skill set from Drew, as he doesn’t have a rocket arm, but certainly has the quickness to go with his solid passing skills. His athleticism, moxie, and wearing of the No. 9 jersey make him easy to compare to Trace McSorley, although he is at least a couple inches than Trace and may also have a better arm. Aside from being the next man up should Allar get hurt, Beau has apparently impressed the staff enough that they plan on working him onto the field at times, not unlike how Tommy Stevens was utilized in the famed LION package as a receiver.

Jaxon Smolik

An early enrollee true freshman, the Iowa native was a one-time Tulane commit before blowing up the Summer before his senior year of high school at the Elite 11 camp. As the only other scholarship QB on the roster besides Allar and Pribula, expect to him to solidify the third spot on the depth chart and to redshirt this upcoming season (unless disaster truly strikes the QB room). Nonetheless, eyes will certainly be on him as he gets his share of run in the upcoming Blue-White Game in a couple of weeks.