Penn State will have a new starting quarterback in 2023. Sean Clifford completed his final game for the Nittany Lions during a Rose Bowl victory. The signal caller had a record-setting career with Penn State and now has his sights set on the NFL. Now it is time for “quarterback of the future” Drew Allar to step into the QB1 position. Clifford took over the starting position from former quarterback Trace McSorley in 2019 when McSorley started playing in the NFL. It has been four seasons of Clifford behind center. For better or worse. Now, it is a fellow Ohio product that will take the snaps. Normally, this would cause Penn State fans to worry about a young quarterback, but Penn State nation is excited. Not only to see what Allar can do but to see how he leans on the young and very talented running backs.
How a Young Penn State Offense Can Thrive in 2023
Penn State already has a few commitments from the transfer portal on offense and defense. Including a wide receiver position that could use some veterans. However, two positions the Nittany Lions don’t really need to look are at quarterback and running back. It might be nice to get some depth at both positions, especially with backup quarterback Christian Veilleux transferring to Pitt, but it’s not necessarily a necessity. This is because Penn State already has its successor at the quarterback position for 2023. Allar will be a sophomore in 2023 and has already played in 10 games in his Penn State career. So while he will be young, he has already played in front of 107,000 fans against many major Big Ten opponents.
Experience At Several Positions
The success of the Penn State offense will start at its experience level. Many skill positions are very young. Allar will be a true sophomore. Star running back duo Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen will also be true sophomores. Finally, the wide receiver room is losing Parker Washington and Mitchell Tinsley. This is a spot that the Nittany Lions are looking for experience in from the transfer portal. These groups may be young, but the offensive line will be veterans if they can stay healthy. Olu Fashanu and Caedan Wallace are both returning. Hunter Nourzad is also returning. As well as several other young guys that stepped in throughout the season and gained meaningful experience. This should be a solid pillar for Allar to lean on in 2023.
In addition to a solid offensive line, Allar should have a few experienced tight ends to throw to. Brenton Strange has already declared for the NFL Draft, however, Theo Johnson and Tyler Warren should both be returning next season. It is possible that Johnson doesn’t, but signs are pointing to his return. Even without Strange the tight end group should prove to be a consistent position for Allar to lean on in 2023, just as Clifford and McSorley did before him.
The Running Backs
Singleton and Allen were very good in their true freshman season in 2022. At the Penn State awards banquet, the duo was awarded Co-Offensive MVPs for the 2022 season. This duo will undoubtedly continue to improve as their careers progress and will be a great strength for Allar in 2023. Singleton finished the season with 156 rushing attempts and accumulated 1,061 rushing yards through 13 games. He ran for 12 touchdowns and added another through the air, rushing for just under seven yards per carry. Singleton led the Penn State offense in rushing yards for 2022.
Allen was right behind him. The fellow freshman led the team in rushing attempts this season with 167. He tallied 867 rushing yards and an additional 188 receiving yards. Allen ran for 10 touchdowns and one more through the air in his freshman season.
Both of these running backs gained a lot of experience in 2022. This will allow Allar to lean on the rushing attack if he needs to in 2023. Further, it will allow offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich to continue the balanced offense that he solidified in 2022.
The Quarterback Himself
Finally, the quarterback himself. The leader of the young Penn State offense. Fans have been waiting for Allar to be the starting quarterback since he committed to play for the Nittany Lions back in high school. Now his time has finally come. This will be his offense in 2023 and he has already gained some meaningful experience in his true freshman season. Instead of having him sit behind Clifford and Veilleux and wait for a chance to play in his four games to preserve his redshirt, the Penn State coaches decided to make him the backup to Clifford.
The decision to burn Allar’s redshirt will likely prove beneficial for the Nittany Lions next season. He played in 10 games in 2022. Allar attempted 60 passes in the second halves of those 10 games and threw for 344 yards and four touchdowns. He had two games with two touchdown passes, one against Ohio and the other against Indiana. In those 10 games and 60 pass attempts, Allar didn’t throw one interception. He kept his stat sheet clean and made good decisions to throw the ball away if nothing was open. Penn State fans and coaches got a look at what is to come from the signal caller and everyone seems to be excited.