James Franklin: Sean Clifford and Will Levis Will Compete for the Starting Quarterback Job

By RLR Staff on July 19, 2019 at 10:30 am
Apr 13, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford (14) throws a pass during the first quarter of the Blue White spring game at Beaver Stadium. The Blue team defeated the White team 24-7. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

James Franklin was right up front during his Big Ten Media Days appearance on Friday morning about who will succeed Nittany Lion legend Trace McSorley. It will be Sean Clifford. Or Will Levis. Or maybe even freshmen Ta'Quan Roberson or Michael Johnson, Jr. In short, nothing is being given, and all four signal callers will compete for the job during camp.

Realistically, it is Sean Clifford or Will Levis' job, with Clifford likely having a significant edge with a year more in the program, and limited action as a redshirt freshman in 2018. But as he has preached since arriving on campus in 2014, Franklin wants his guys to compete for everything, and earn the role. 

Clifford is in his third season with the program, signing with the Nittany Lions as a four-star prospect in 2017 out of the vaunted Cincinnati St. Xavier program in Ohio. After redshirting that year, he saw action in four games in 2018, most of it in mop up duty. He did make a name for himself, however, completing five-of-seven passes for 195 yards, and two touchdowns. In fact, he was a perfect five-of-five in the regular season, including a touchdown vs. Pitt on his first career throw, and a program record 95-yard strike to Daniel George vs. Kent State.

Levis will be entering his second season with Penn State after signing in 2018. The three-star prospect earned his offer with a strong camp performance in July of 2017. He has a big time arm, prototypical size for a QB, and is no slouch as a runner. He has yet to throw a pass in a regular season game, but did go four-of-seven in this spring's Blue White Game for 86 yards and a touchdown.

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