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Trace McSorley Talks College Career, NFL Draft Process On Adam Breneman’s Podcast

Penn State football legend and current Baltimore Raven Trace McSorley appeared on the latest episode of Adam Breneman’s podcast to discuss his recruitment process, former Penn State teammates Tommy Stevens and Christian Hackenberg, and overcoming the odds during the draft process.

McSorley started off by talking about he was originally recruited as a defensive back by James Franklin and his staff at Vanderbilt. It all changed when Ricky Rahne, who was the quarterbacks coach for Vanderbilt at the time, saw McSorley throw.

“They decided they wanted to recruit me as a quarterback,” McSorley said. “From that point on, Coach Franklin wouldn’t even let me talk to the guys on the defensive staff.”

When Franklin flipped to Penn State from Vanderbilt, McSorley decided to follow him. He described it as a “tough” decision, after having been committed to Vanderbilt for more than five months already.

Because of NCAA rules, Franklin wasn’t allowed to reach out to any recruits immediately after his switch. For a couple of weeks, McSorley was left in limbo.

“Me and my parents kind of just sat there twiddling our thumbs figuring out where I was going to go to school,” he said.

When McSorley arrived at Penn State, Hackenberg was the starting quarterback coming off a promising first season. The next two seasons, McSorley learned from Hackenberg before eventually taking over for him once he left. He gave Hackenberg credit for being a mentor for him.

“I think one of the biggest blessings of my football career was being able to sit back and learn from him,” McSorley said. “For me it was huge to be able to learn from him and be able to sit and watch film with him. I would take notice of the types of things he would look at and how he scouted a team.”

After Hackenberg left for the NFL, there was a hard-fought quarterback competition between McSorley and Tommy Stevens. What a lot of people don’t know is how close the competition was, McSorley said.

“It was a lot closer than a lot of people thought. Especially going into that training camp, it was pretty close for the big bulk of it,” McSorley said. “We went back and forth, splitting the first-team reps. We were both doing some good things. It was a good competition. There was a point where I didn’t know how it would conclude.”

In his tenure at Penn State, McSorley became the all-time passing yards and passing touchdowns leader which cemented him as a Penn State legend, leading the team to a No. 5, a No. 9, and a No.12 ranking in three final AP polls.

“My favorite moment at Penn State is going to Indianapolis and winning the Big Ten Championship Game,” McSorley said. “Specifically, when we hit the wheel route to Saquon [Barkley] that put us in the lead and won us the game.”

After his legendary career at Penn State, McSorley entered the NFL Draft. He described it as “an uphill battle”, especially when facing more established quarterbacks, such as Daniel Jones and Drew Lock, at the senior bowl. Offers didn’t come easily for McSorley.

“I was just waiting for someone to talk to me,” McSorley said. “I wasn’t talking to a bunch of teams at the time, I was just kind of standing around there waiting to be approached. I would try to make eye contact with scouts or a coach to let them know that I was here. They would just nod at me and move onto the next guy.”

The big question for McSorley was if he would be willing to compete in a special teams role, like Saints backup quarterback Taysom Hill. McSorley was on board with the idea.

After a strong performance at the combine, McSorley saw being drafted as a little bit more of a reality. He was drafted in the sixth round by the Baltimore Ravens, on what he described as “the longest day of my life.”

You can listen to the full podcast, which includes the possibility of Minnesota hosting College GameDay in two weeks, here

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About the Author

Gabe Angieri

After a four-year career with Onward State, Gabe is now a college graduate and off to the real world. He shockingly served as the blog’s managing editor during the 2022-23 school year and covered football for much of his Onward State tenure, including trips to the Outback Bowl and Rose Bowl. For any professional inquiries, please email Gabe at [email protected]. You can still see his bad sports takes on Twitter at @gabeangieri.

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