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Tommy Stevens To Use Athleticism, Versatility To Battle For NFL Roster Spot

Former Penn State quarterback Tommy Stevens had a unique career in Happy Valley.

After spending four seasons at Penn State as Trace McSorley’s backup and the Nittany Lions’ utility man, Stevens reunited with Joe Moorhead at Mississippi State last fall for his final season of college football.

Now just weeks away from the 2020 NFL Draft, Stevens likely hopes to use the experiences he had as Penn State’s “Lion” as his ticket to a professional roster.

The Indiana native was featured in an article by IndyStar earlier this week. In it, Stevens said that he feels he can be an athletic addition to any NFL team’s offense. Quarterbacks who can play multiple positions and add value on different phases are becoming increasingly popular in the league, as seen in players like the New Orleans Saints’ Taysom Hill, who caught six touchdowns in 2019 and ran for one more.

Hill has taken snaps at quarterback, running back, laid down huge blocks, and even played on special teams for the Saints. Stevens is trying to prove that he can play a similar role for any offense. According to the article, the Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Saints have shown interest in Stevens.

The quarterback redshirted during the 2015 season at Penn State and mainly played fringe time as McSorley’s back up in 2016. In 2017, though, offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead began to use Stevens as a running back and wide receiver in several offensive packages. The 6’5″, 235-pound athlete had his most productive campaign in Happy Valley that season and rushed for 190 yards, scored four touchdowns, and added another two through the air.

After that season, Moorhead left for the head coaching position at Mississippi State. Stevens didn’t find the same success in Ricky Rahne’s offense in 2018, though, and recorded a career-high in rushing attempts but gained just 118 total yards on the ground.

That set up what would’ve been a battle for the starting job against Sean Clifford for Stevens’ senior season in 2019. However, he entered the transfer portal in April and eventually joined Moorhead at Mississippi State. Stevens played in nine games at quarterback for the Bulldogs and had an average stat line of 1,155 yards passing for 11 touchdowns. He also found the end zone four times on the ground.

Stevens’ short-lived career at Mississippi State is hardly anything to gawk at, but the proven athletic ability and strength that he showcased in Happy Valley could help him sign with any team.

According to CBS Sports, Stevens is the 26th-best quarterback in this year’s draft pool. Still, the former dual-threat, three-star recruit isn’t finding himself mentioned in many mock drafts. Stevens’ path to the NFL certainly won’t be conventional, but not much of his collegiate career was, either.

In a league that is beginning to find value in quarterbacks who can play all over the field, Stevens may just be able to find his niche on a roster.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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