Top Five Penn State Quarterbacks of the 2010s

By Matthew Filipovits on January 6, 2020 at 9:15 am
The top five Penn State quarterbacks of the 10s, led by Trace McSorley
Nick Polak - Roar Lions Roar
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With the 2010s in the rearview mirror, we're ranking the top-five players at each position of the decade, as voted on by the Roar Lions Roar staff. All of this will lead up to the RLR Team of the Decade. We will only be taking into account seasons from 2010-2019, so players like Evan Royster and Devon Still have solely been judged on their seasons during that time frame.

To kick things off, let's take a look at Penn State's top five quarterbacks of the decade.


honorable mention - Rob Bolden

  • 2010-2011
  • Passing stats: 2045 yards, seven touchdowns, 14 interceptions
  • Other stats: 27 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown

Rob Bolden had an interesting Penn State career, to say the least. One of the top quarterbacks in his class coming out of high school, he never fully took control of the offense, battling for two years with walk-on Matt McGloin. He would eventually go on to transfer to LSU, before ending his career at Eastern Michigan.

No. 5 - Tommy Stevens

  • 2015-2018
  • Passing stats: 304 yards, four touchdowns, one interception
  • Other stats: 506 rushing yards, 8 rushing touchdowns, 14 catches, 62 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns

Although he never started a game at quarterback during his time in Happy Valley, Tommy Stevens captivated fans with his athleticism and versatility. He never threw the ball all that much, but he did give the Penn State offense some unique wrinkles with the "Lion" package. He transferred to Mississippi State ahead of his senior year, helping the Bulldogs get to their 10th straight bowl game. Now eligible for the NFL Draft, there are sure to be at least a few teams interested in Stevens as a Taysom Hill-type.

N0. 4 - Sean Clifford

  • 2017-Present
  • Passing stats: 2,849 yards, 25 touchdowns, 5 interceptions
  • Other stats: 399 rushing yards, 5 rushing touchdowns

Clifford showed a lot of promise in his lone season as Penn State's starter. He's very smart with the football and is able to make pretty much every throw. With two more seasons of eligibility, Clifford could easily find himself high on the list of best quarterbacks of the 2020s.

No. 3 - Christian Hackenberg

  • 2013-2015
  • Passing stats: 8,457 yards, 48 touchdowns, 31 interceptions
  • Other stats: -242 rushing yards, 6 rushing touchdowns, 1 reception, 14 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown

One of the people mainly responsible for holding Penn State together during the worst of the sanction years, Christian Hackenberg was better than he gets credit for. He was able to break a few of Penn State's passing records while playing behind some pretty atrocious offensive lines. Even through crippling sanctions and a mid-career shift in coaching philosophy that never quite fit his skillset, the Nittany Lions never had a losing record with Hackenberg at the helm.

No. 2 - Matt McGloin

  • 2009-2012
  • Passing stats: 6,390 yards, 46 touchdowns, 19 interceptions
  • Other stats: -57 rushing yards, 7 rushing touchdowns, 1 reception, 16 receiving yards

A former walk-on, few players in program history are remembered as fondly as Matt McGloin. He was the leader of Bill O'Brien's first offense in Happy Valley, winning the Burlsworth Trophy in 2012, giving annually to the nation's best player to begin their career as a walk-on. He was one of the key pieces in keeping Penn State together after the sanctions and was a real fighter. McGloin went on to play four seasons in the NFL and is set to quarterback the New York Guardians of the XFL.

No. 1 - Trace Mcsorley

  • 2014-2018
  • Passing stats: 9,899 yards, 77 touchdowns, 25 interceptions
  • Other stats: 1,697 rushing yards, 30 rushing touchdowns

Was there any doubt? McSorley is the best to ever do it in a Nittany Lion uniform, rewriting the Penn State record book while compiling a 31-9 record as a starter. He combined arm strength that improved every year with great decision-making abilities to pick apart Big Ten defenses for three years and bring Penn State back to national relevance. A sixth-round pick by the Baltimore Ravens, he made his NFL debut in Week 17 of the 2019 regular season.

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