Welcome to Black Shoe Diaries' coverage of National Signing Day 2015. We're here to make sure that you know exactly who the newest Nittany Lions are, where they come from, and what we can expect of them. Each of these reports will include their vital information, their high school statistics, highlight tape analysis, outlook for their freshmen seasons and more. We sincerely hope you enjoy getting to know the stars of tomorrow. If you've been reading along with our recruiting coverage all year, we appreciate the support and are glad you hung around with us for the ride that was the 2015 recruiting class. If you are a new reader, welcome! We're glad you're here, and we hope you stick around for 2016!
To navigate your way to other members of the 2015 recruiting class, simply head back to our draft board and click on the player of your choice.
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Tommy Stevens was the only quarterback that Penn State chose to extend an scholarship offer to in the wake of Brandon Wimbush's flip to Notre Dame. Stevens, although first declaring that he intended to stick with the Hoosiers, had his mind blown and changed upon visiting Penn State for the Whiteout game. Eventually, he made the decision to become James Franklin's first true quarterback commit at Penn State (O'Connor was essentially O'Brien's). Stevens enrolled early this winter.
Hometown: Indianapolis, IN
High School: Decatur Central
Position: Dual-Threat Quarterback
247Composite Rank: ★★★ (0.8600)
Positional Rank: #21 Dual Threat Quarterback, #11 Player in Indiana
Commitment Date: November 10, 2014
247Sports Crystal Ball:
High School Stats
Aside from quarterback, Tommy also played some safety in high school, as well as handling punting duties as a senior.
|Grade||Passing Yards||Yards Per Game||Passing TD||INT||Rushing Yards||Rushing TD|
Tommy seems almost as if he was built to run the offense the way James Franklin would like. He is a very skilled runner, that much is true, but he is no slouch throwing the football. During his senior season, he made much more of an effort to be a pass-first player, and it showed. That's not to say that Stevens won't have some designed run plays, because it would be wasteful to not take advantage of his athleticism. Although he wasn't able to follow in the footsteps of Indiana high school legends Rex Grossman, Tre Roberson and Gunner Kiel by winning Indiana's Mr. Football Award, his improvement as an overall player was very noticeable during his senior season. He has great size for a quarterback, standing at 6'4", and will not be someone that is easy for a defensive player to take down.
The other valuable part of Stevens' game is his ability to throw on the run, which he is able to do quite well. All of his skills will suit him well to play in the John Donovan offense, and should give him a chance to fight for the starting spot with last year's backup, Trace McSorley, when Christian Hackenberg moves on to the NFL.
From lead SB Nation recruiting author, Bud Elliot: "Very very mobile. Saw him in two Elite 11 settings and the arm is just OK, but the release is lightning quick."
Tommy also self-assessed his game for Black Shoe Diaries, back in early October.
If I had to name my best strengths, being a dual-threat and all that stuff is great, but I think the thing that's not coachable that I have is competitiveness. I always remember when I was real little I would race to the car or I would throw a fit for getting beat in checkers. I've just always had a will to win, I've always hated losing and so I think that's something that's driven me in the right direction. Things I need to work on, and by any means I'm not perfect, nobody is, so I'm always going to have things to work on, but I think the biggest thing for me is developing into more of a passer which I've been working on this year. I've put up a little better numbers than I had last year and I still have some time to go. I definitely want to throw the ball a little bit more because I'm not going to be able to run all over the place like I do in high school because people are going to be a lot faster a lot bigger and a lot stronger. I have to do it for my health too, because if I take the shots I do now at the college level, Big Ten linebackers from Ohio State are going to rip my face off, so I have to make sure I utilize sliding and getting out of bounds and knowing when to throw the ball away.
With Christian Hackenberg still at Penn State and Trace McSorley set to become his backup this season, there really isn't a need for Stevens to not redshirt his first season. More often than not, quarterback is a position where redshirting is more of a necessity than a luxury. Stevens still has some work to do to get himself used to D1 football before he can start at Penn State. Adding strength will the first order of business, which has already begun thanks to his choice to enroll early.
Aside from his strength training, the biggest thing for Tommy will continue working on his mechanics from the quarterback spot. You'd like to see him drive the ball into his receiver a bit more on his shorter throws. He'll need to find a way to balance that added velocity to his already impressive touch pass ability, in order to truly unlock all of his potential. His ability to move around in the pocket will be important, as it will open the field up a great deal, not only for his own passing lanes, but for his running back's lanes as well. The constant threat of a running quarterback is a well-documented thorn in defensive coordinators' sides, so it will be a welcomed addition to Penn State's offense. He'll also provide a quality quarterback for the scout team, to help the first team prepare for the many running quarterbacks in the Big Ten.