Tommy Stevens may be the most interesting player on Penn State's roster.
He's shown he is a tremendous athlete, and can flat out play when called upon. But Trace McSorley is entrenched as the starter, he did lead Penn State to a Big Ten title after all. Barring injury, McSorley will be the clear cut number one quarterback through 2018. Therefore, Stevens may have to take a different route to find his way onto the field. We took a look at what his options are for playing time.
- Position Change
Stevens is a large, physical presence who could probably play a few different positions. He lined up for a few plays at receiver last season, capped off by bowling over poor Desmond King for touchdown against Iowa. He looks more like a fullback on the play, and though many fans seem to "love" fullbacks, it doesn't appear they'll be returning to Penn State's offense any time soon. Stevens is long, lanky, and isn't afraid to hit somebody. It is possible he could move to defensive back, but with all the depth in the secondary, it unlikely he could make a large impact. Regardless, Stevens is too talented a quarterback to switch positions at this point in his career.
- Wait For His Time
McSorley is the starter. He won the job in camp last season. He showed he can win in the Big Ten. He showed he can go toe-to-toe with the best quarterbacks in the country. With McSorley only entering his junior year and nobody expecting the NFL to come calling his name just yet, it looks like he'll be around another two seasons. This would mean the next quarterback battle will be in 2019, when Stevens would be a fifth-year senior. If Stevens is willing to wait a few years it's safe to say he will be the front runner to take helm of the Penn State offense.
Transferring is an option. Whatever the reason, it's always tough to see a player leave a school to play elsewhere. For Stevens, that may be the best option to play quarterback earlier than 2019. Stevens has made it clear he has no desire to leave Penn State and that he enjoys being with program. But playing time is something that's hard for many players to turn their backs on. If he completes his undergrad work, a graduate transfer after this season is a possibility. Remember, he enrolled early at Penn State. That would give him two full seasons of eligibility, without having to sit out a year to fulfill NCAA transfer requirements.
- Quarterback Platoon
Oh god, no. Please no.
Tommy Stevens is a tremendous, albeit unproven talent. He has just three career passing attempts, but some fans have dubbed him better than McSorley. For all we know, he may be. But with a bite-sized sample size to go off of, it's tough to just give him the reigns at quarterback when McSorley has proven himself a great talent. Stevens is too good to remain on the sidelines and too competitive to want to remain there. Whether it be a position change, biding his time, filling in for injury, or taking his talents elsewhere, Stevens will make an impact on the college football field before his career is done.