For the first time since 2015, Penn State will be led out of the tunnel by a quarterback not named Trace McSorley.
After No. 9 played his final game as a Nittany Lion, attention quickly turned to the next quarterback in line, Mr. Tommy Stevens. An offseason surgery meant his heir apparent, Sean Clifford, had the opportunity to push for the starting job. Clifford did exactly that. It got to the point that Franklin couldn't guarantee Stevens the job, and thus Stevens changed course and decided to finish his career at Mississippi State. This left Clifford as the undisputed starter heading into 2019.
After all the dust had settled the burden had fallen upon redshirt freshman Will Levis to lead the second-team offense. Though he arrived on campus as a relatively unheralded recruit who made a name for himself due to his size and athleticism, Levis he's molded himself into a genuine quarterback after just one season with the scout team.
The Levis File
- Class: RS Freshman
- Size: 6'3/234
- Pos: QB
- Hometown: Middleton, CT
- Composite Rating: ★★★
- Composite Rank: No. 652 overall, No. 28 Pro-QB
Levis flew under the radar for most of his high school career, but a strong run of camps directly led to new offers before his senior year. It was clear he impressed at every stop. He came to throw in front of Joe Moorehead in July of 2017 and was offered on the spot. He waited about 12 hours to commit as he pulled the trigger the very next morning.
Levis would arrive on campus the following May, in time for the first summer session. With McSorley, Stevens, and Clifford all ahead of him, he was always destined for a redshirt where he could continue to improve as a passer and learn the intricacies of playing quarterback at a high level.
There were never going to be any questions about Levis' athleticism. In high school, he clocked a 4.80 40-yard-dash and a 4.09 shuttle. For reference, that shuttle time would've tied for 13th of all players at the 2019 NFL Combine. You put all that into a 6-4/224 pounds frame and add a cannon arm and you have a potential star quarterback. It also helps that Levis, physically, could pass for a tight end, linebacker, or even a lean defensive end.
For all the good sides to Levis as an athlete, there's work for Levis to do as a quarterback. He still has some learning to do when it comes to the mental aspects of playing the position and to iron out some accuracy issues. Going into his redshirt freshman season, Levis still has plenty of time to work with the coaches and master all of those intricacies. Hopefully, Clifford can stay healthy and Levis can continue to learn at his own pace. Getting game reps in blowouts should go a long way in helping his development and easing fans minds about quarterback depth.