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Trace McSorley Is A Winner

“Trace is like a beacon of hope.”

Defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos put it best when asked what Trace McSorley has meant to this team. In three years at the helm of the Penn State offense, McSorley has surpassed every expectation, and stayed hungry and humble in the process.

After the win over Maryland on Saturday, a Penn State legend left the field for the last time in his career.

Trace McSorley came to Penn State lacking much in the way of attention from elite programs. In fact, McSorley was committed to Vanderbilt before flipping to Penn State when Franklin made the move up to Pennsylvania. The future starting quarterback in Happy Valley was ranked No. 571 nationally as a recruit.

In his freshman year at Briar Woods in Virginia, McSorley led his squad to a state championship. He would go on to win state championships in his sophomore and junior years, too. As James Franklin put it, “The guy has been winning since he was in diapers.”

McSorley entered the Taxslayer Bowl, as a redshirt freshman, for Christian Hackenberg after the senior suffered an injury. At the time, seeing a 6’0″, dual-threat quarterback replace NFL-bound Hackenberg wasn’t an impressive sight for some.

Still, McSorley went 14-27 through the air for a couple of touchdowns and nearly pulled off an improbable comeback, falling just short as a last-second pass was batted down by a Georgia defender.

“I think I’m probably the same person,” explained McSorley after he was asked about his first appearance for the Nittany Lions. “When I came into that game, no one would’ve thought that I would’ve been able to do anything or expected much out of me. ‘Hopefully, this works out,’ was probably the sentiment back then.'”

The very next year, McSorley led Penn State to a Big Ten Championship, reversing the narrative of Penn State as a program riddled in controversy and crippling sanctions to a program capable of competing at the highest level. Plus, he did it in high fashion while winning the nickname “The Wizard of Camelot.”

Since that Taxslayer Bowl loss, McSorley has become the winningest quarterback in program history. No. 9 has also become the program leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns, while placing himself sixth in rushing touchdowns. In a program with a storied history, McSorley has placed himself among the very best offensive players to ever play in Beaver Stadium.

And, he put up those numbers with a certain warrior mentality that made him especially endearing. After suffering a knee injury against Iowa, McSorley did everything he could to remain in the game. You could tell that the injury was serious after an emotional post-game interview with Todd McShay, but Trace played through it.

McSorley never missed a start in his three years as the starter, despite taking big hits on a consistent basis as a guy who likes to tuck it and run. After the victory over Maryland, he even said that he felt healthy enough to make a block downfield. 

“I’m 100% appreciative of everything, and will probably never really be able to express how appreciative I am,” McSorley said about the Penn State fans.

The senior even took the time to pen an open letter to the Penn State community, thanking the fans for their support during his career. He got the ovation he deserved on Saturday, and he was doing everything he could to take in the moment.

“It was, for us, just to reminisce about everything that we’ve been through,” McSorley said when asked about his final lap around Beaver Stadium. “We fought hard every single day, worked our butts off to bring this program back and bring it to a spot where it can be competing for championships.”

As a senior at Penn State, it’s hard to fully describe the impact that I’ve seen McSorley have in Happy Valley. He helped make Penn State cool again and did it with an amount of class that sets him apart from his peers. 

Trace McSorley makes me proud to go to Penn State. Not only does he win, but he is happy to sacrifice everything in the process. Happy Valley needed someone like that to lead this football program.

Thank you, Trace.

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About the Author

Derek Bannister

Derek is a senior majoring in Economics and History. He is legally required to tell you that he's from right outside of Philly. Email Derek compliments and dad-jokes at [email protected]

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