Redshirt Reintroduction: Sean Clifford

By Matthew Filipovits on June 28, 2018 at 8:45 am
Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford
Adriana Lacy - Roar Lions Roar

According to Barton Simmons of CBS Sports, Penn State has one of the best quarterback rooms in all of college football. The crazy thing about that piece is, Simmons doesn't even mention redshirt freshman Sean Clifford.

Clifford committed to Penn State very early in his recruitment, becoming the first member of Penn State's 2017 class. Nearly two years before arriving on campus to be exact. Similar to fellow Ohio native Mike Miranda, Clifford continued to climb recruiting boards but remained overlooked in his home state.

The Clifford File

  • Class: RS Freshman
  • Size: 6'2/216
  • Pos: QB
  • School: Saint Xavier (Oh.)
  • Composite Rating: ★★★★
  • Composite Rank: No. 8 Pro QB

Clifford was probably never going to play as a true freshman with McSorley and Stevens ahead of him, and a shoulder injury suffered in late in his high school senior season. But, he did beat out Jake Zembiec for the third string job, despite arriving on campus nearly a year and a half later. An off-the-field hand injury in the fall ensured a season on the sidelines. 

Sean Clifford is exactly the kind of quarterback James Franklin looks for. He's a smart kid with a big arm and a ton of athleticism. He has the ability to stand in the pocket and deliver a ball but he also can get out of trouble with his legs. Like McSorley, he's a natural leader and has done nothing but win all throughout his high school career.

Clifford's first real shot to start won't be until 2020, but that doesn't mean he be important this season. When you run your quarterbacks, they will sometimes get hurt. Sometimes a few of them will get hurt (i.e. 2014 Ohio State, 2017 Maryland). Sean Clifford adds a security blanket Penn State has not had in some time. Clifford's availability should allow for a lot more Tommy Stevens. Joe Moorhead didn't unleash Stevens in some big games, maybe to keep him healthy if Trace went down. With another quarterback ready to go, Ricky Rahne can be a bit more fearless with how he uses Stevens. 

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