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Penn State’s Recruiting Options At Quarterback Moving Forward

Penn State lost its second five-star recruit of the 2018 cycle Tuesday night with Justin Fields’ decommitment.

The Nittany Lions have plenty of time to offer new quarterbacks, put the full-court press on former targets, or even skip signing a signal caller this time around. Here are a few of their options moving forward.

Go After Phil Jurkovec, Quincy Patterson Again

While Fields said he’s still considering Penn State, it certainly looks like an SEC battle for the nation’s No. 2 overall prospect, according to 247Sports. Schools like Florida, Auburn, and his home-state Georgia Bulldogs appear to be in the driver’s seat heading into the summer.

James Franklin and Joe Moorhead initially had four-star Gibsonia, Pa., native Phil Jurkovec atop their recruiting board at the position, but he committed to Notre Dame in May 2016. He seems firm in his pledge to the Fighting Irish, but there’s no question the Nittany Lions will try to give him something to think about.

The same can be said for three-star Virginia Tech commit Quincy Patterson, who camped for the Penn State coaching staff last July and immediately earned an offer. The 6-foot-4, 232-pound Chicagoan at the Elite 11 Finals alongside Fields last weekend, punching his ticket to Nike’s The Opening later this month.

Evaluate The Camp Circuit

Only two of America’s top 15 quarterback recruits this cycle are currently uncommitted, but Franklin has made a living finding diamond-in-the-rough passers.

Trace McSorley and Tommy Stevens flew somewhat under the radar coming out of high school, but now they’re easily two of the best quarterbacks in the Big Ten. While other programs saw a pair of athletes destined to play safety, Franklin and his staff knew the arm talent and leadership intangibles were there. Stevens flipped his commitment from Indiana to the Nittany Lions when four-star Brandon Wimbush jumped ship for Notre Dame.

Penn State’s in the heart of its summer camp schedule, as hundreds of prospects flock to campus in hopes of making a lasting impression. While national showcases are becoming more and more popular, especially among quarterback recruits, the old-school method of attending camps worked just fine for incoming freshman Sean Clifford. The four-star Cincinnati native earned a Penn State offer two summers ago and became a cornerstone of its 2017 recruiting class early in the process.

Turn The Attention To 2019

Franklin has said he wants five scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, and while the Nittany Lions technically do thanks to Billy Fessler’s promotion, that isn’t exactly what he means.

Sure, it wouldn’t be ideal to skip taking a signal caller this cycle, but McSorley and Stevens still have two and three years of eligibility remaining, respectively. Clifford is headed for a redshirt season following a shoulder injury, while Jake Zembiec will handle the scout team duties again in his second year with the program.

It’s still early for regional quarterback prospects to emerge for the 2019 cycle, but the Nittany Lions have already sent out four offers. Penn State extended scholarship tenders to a pair of pro-style passers in Max Duggan and Garrett Shrader. On the dual-threat side, Moorhead pulled the trigger in offering Roschon Johnson and Raymond Woodie III.

About the Author

Ethan Kasales

Ethan’s a senior journalism major who grew up in Lemont, a few minutes from campus. When he’s not covering Penn State sports, you can usually find him golfing or teaching snowboarding at Tussey Mountain. Feel free to email him at [email protected]

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