Sean Clifford Ranked As 31st-Best Quarterback Entering 2019 by Pro Football Focus

By Nick Polak on August 14, 2019 at 8:00 am
Apr 21, 2018; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford (14) looks to throw a pass during the third quarter of the Blue White spring game at Beaver Stadium. The Blue team defeated the White team 21-10.
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State fans aren't totally sure what to expect from presumed new starting quarterback Sean Clifford in 2019. Though James Franklin isn't even on record confirming the redshirt sophomore as the starter yet, it would be a shock to see anyone else step up and take the first snap under center this fall. Pro Football Focus agrees and placed Clifford at No. 31 in their full rankings of every FBS starting quarterback.

Here's what PFF had to say about Clifford's ranking.


The most unknown among the top 50 quarterbacks, Clifford forced Tommy Stevens to transfer after impressing on his very limited time in the Penn State offense a year ago. The post-Trace McSorley era is in good hands with Clifford as he completed 5-of-7 passes and four of them went as our big-time throws. He can float the ball with perfect touch just as he can punch the ball into tight windows and with a much larger sample size incoming this season, expect big things from Clifford and his pass-catchers.

A lot is expected of Clifford after he showed great promise in a minuscule sample size in 2018, and he'll be expected to elevate the Nittany Lion offense to new heights in 2019. Pro Football Focus seems to agree that big-time success is on the horizon for the sophomore.

For reference, here are where the other quarterbacks in the conference landed in the rankings (out of 130).

  • No. 130 Artur Sitkowski (Rutgers)
  • No. 107 Isaiah Williams/Brandon Peters (Illinois)
  • No. 106 Graham Mertz/Jack Coan (Wisconsin)
  • No. 94 Elijah Sindelar (Purdue)
  • No. 86 Tanner Morgan (Minnesota)
  • *Bonus* No. 84 Kenny Pickett (Pitt)
  • No. 76 Brian Lewerke (Michigan State)
  • *Bonus* No. 63 Tommy Stevens (Mississippi State)
  • No. 54 Peyton Ramsey (Indiana)
  • No. 51 Nate Stanley (Iowa)
  • No. 48 Hunter Johnson (Northwestern)
  • No. 39 Josh Jackson (Maryland)
  • No. 24 Adrian Martinez (Nebraska)
  • No. 16 Justin Fields (Ohio State)
  • No. 13 Shea Patterson (Michigan)

Clifford and Penn State will open up the season against Idaho on August 31. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. ET with the game set to be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.

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