Matt McGloin Joins List Of Successful Penn State Quarterbacks In NFL
Penn State is known as Linebacker U and not Quarterback U for a reason. Throughout Penn State’s illustrious football history, we found 17 quarterbacks that took at least one snap for Penn State and at least one snap in an official NFL game, or its historical equivalent. Only nine of those quarterbacks were drafted into the NFL — but don’t tell that to Matt McGloin.
With four starts under his belt for the Raiders, McGloin has already added his name to that short list and has served as a point of pride for Penn Staters on a national stage in recent weeks. With all the talk about King Moxie himself, we started to think about other Penn State quarterbacks that have made an impact in professional football. Here’s what we came up with:
Plum was quarterback of the Penn State football team from 1953 to 1956, leading the team to a 6-2-1 season during his senior campaign. He received help from the then newly-hired quarterback coach Joe Paterno. Plum entered the draft in 1957 and was picked in the second round — 17th overall — by the Cleveland Browns.
Plum played in 129 NFL games and had 103 starts. The only Penn State quarterback with more starts in the NFL is Kerry Collins, but we’ll get to him later.
Plum was a two-time Pro Bowler who played for the Browns, the Detroit Lions, the New York Giants, and the Los Angeles Rams. Going into the 2013 season, he was 145th on the all-time passer rating list. From 1959-61, Plum led the league in completion percentage. Plum concluded his professional career with 122 touchdowns and threw for more than 17,000 yards.
Plum’s name was brought up this season, 53 years later, when Peyton Manning tied him for starting the season with sixteen touchdown passes without throwing an interception, which he accomplished with the 1960 Cleveland Browns.
Also known as “Riverboat Richie,” Lucas led the Nittany Lions from 1957 to 1959. He is best known for his senior season, when he led the Lions to a 9-2 record and its first bowl victory against Alabama in the Liberty Bowl. Lucas almost won the Heisman Trophy during his senior year, but he finished second in the voting behind Billy Cannon of LSU. His success with Penn State was recognized when he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986.
Lucas entered the 1960 NFL Draft and was selected fourth overall by the Washington Redskins.
Lucas decided to sign in the American Football League instead, becoming the first player in the history of the Buffalo Bills franchise. He played for the Bills for two seasons, seeing action at quarterback, halfback, defensive back, and kick returner. He played in 21 games and had four touchdowns along with more than 500 yards. When the AFL held an equalization draft in 1962, Lucas landed on the Denver Broncos and never played again.
Liske had a solid career for Penn State from 1961 to 1963, notching winning seasons each year. In two seasons as starter, he threw for 2,154 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Liske was drafted in both the NFL and the AFL, but ultimately chose the AFL’s New York Jets. After only playing in four games, he went to Canada where he blossomed for four years in the Canadian Football League, once throwing for 4,479 yards and 40 touchdowns in one season. He returned in 1969 to the Denver Broncos where he served mainly as a backup, and then the Philadelphia Eagles from 1971-1972. He would later go on to serve in various administrative roles, including the director of major gifts for Intercollegiate Athletics at Penn State.
Hufnagel served as Penn State’s starting quarterback for three seasons, compiling a 26-3 record. He topped off his collegiate career in 1973 with All-American honors, a sixth place Heisman finish, and a birth in the national championship. Hufnagel also was the first Nittany Lion quarterback to pass for more than 2,000 yards in a season.
Despite his stellar Heisman finish, Hufnagel was taken in the 14th-round by the Denver Broncos, where he would play for three seasons. His real success came in the Canadian Football League, where he played from 1976-1987 and is still a coach for the Calgary Stampeders. Prior to his current CFL coaching stint, Hufnagel jumped around to five different NFL teams, mainly as a QB coach. He was able to coach Tom Brady and Peyton Manning before becoming the New York Giants offensive coordinator from 2004 to 2006.
Fusina led the Nittany Lions in 1977 and 1978. He is best known for his performance during the 1978 season, when he nearly guided the Lions to a perfect record. Penn State went 11-0 in the regular season and was ranked No. 1 going into the 1979 Sugar Bowl, where the team suffered an upset loss to No. 2 Alabama, 14-7.
Fusina was drafted in the fifth round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1979. He played in only seven games in three seasons, ending his career with the San Francisco 49ers. Fusina’s career was revitalized when he joined the United States Football League for the Philadelphia and Baltimore Stars from 1983 to 1985. He led the team to three league championship games and two titles. In 1984, he was named USFL Player of the Year and MVP of the championship game.
Blackledge quarterbacked the Nittany Lions for three years. He is best known for leading the Lions to the 1983 Sugar Bowl, where the Lions victory gave Joe Paterno his first National Championship.
He was a part of a historic “Quarterback Draft Class” where six quarterbacks were selected in the first round. The draft included John Elway, Dan Marino, Tony Eason, Jim Kelly, and Ken O’Brien along with Blackledge.
The Kansas City Chiefs drafted Blackledge 7th overall, and he was the second quarterback taken in that year’s draft. He played with Kansas City for five seasons before finishing his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. While his professional career was plagued with injury, Blackledge threw for more than 5,000 yards and had 29 TDs.
Collins is widely regarded as the most successful Penn State quarterback in school history. He led the Nittany Lions to two bowl victories, most memorably the 1995 Rose Bowl, where Penn State had a perfect season culminating in a 38-20 win over Oregon on New Year’s Day. While most of his records have been broken, Collins still holds the record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass, and his 172.86 efficiency rating is among the best in NCAA history.
He was the fifth overall pick of the NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers and played in the NFL for 16 seasons. Collins was a journeyman in the pros, as he also played for the New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans, and Indianapolis Colts.
He led the Panthers to the NFC Championship game in 1996, their second year of existence, and lost to Brett Favre and the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. He also reached the Super Bowl with the New York Giants during the 2000-2001 season, where he lost to the Baltimore Ravens.
Collins was a two time Pro-Bowler, being named to the team in 1996 for the Panthers and 2008 with the Titans. He also has the second most starts by a quarterback from the Big Ten, behind only Tom Brady. He finished his career with 208 touchdowns and threw for more than 40,000 passing yards, 12th on the NFL’s all-time list.
As you all know, McGloin was Penn State’s starting quarterback (most of the time) from 2010 to 2012 and will be most remembered for his leadership and moxie during his senior season following the NCAA sanctions. He threw for more than 3,000 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2012. McGloin surpassed Daryll Clark’s record for most career touchdown passes in Penn State history with 45 and broke his single-season completion record.
McGloin was undrafted in the 2013 NFL Draft, but was signed to the Oakland Raiders in May, sitting behind three other quarterbacks on the depth chart. Tyler Wilson was eventually downgraded to the practice squad while the Raiders parted ways with Matt Flynn, putting McGloin at the backup position behind Ohio State alumnus Terrelle Pryor.
He saw his first playing time when Pryor went down with an injury late in a game against the Eagles, leading one late-game touchdown drive. He started his first game against the Houston Texans just a few leeks later when Pryor was ruled out with a knee injury. In his first start, McGloin went 18-for-32, throwing for 197 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-23 victory. Since then he has continued as the starter and has thrown for 1,044 yards and six touchdowns through four starts and five games.
Other Penn State quarterbacks who have played professionally include Galen Hall (1959-1961), Jeff Hostetler (transferred after 1980 season), Steve Joachim (transferred after 1971 seas0n), Glenn Killinger (1918-1921), Wally Richardson (1993-1996), Tony Sacca (1988-1991), Bob Scrabis (1958), Tom Sherman (1967), and Kevin Thompson (1997-1999), and Michael Robinson (2006-present, although he has mostly lined up as a wide receiver and a running back in the NFL).
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About the Author
What would you do if someone interrupted your class to make a panini?
“What’s truly important is, obviously, faith, family, and friends, and today we woke up with a great reminder [of that]. If you didn’t go home last night and hug your kids, you should’ve — that’s what I do. At any second, it could be gone.”
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