Penn State head coach James Franklin met with the media on Monday to preview the season opener, and he had a lot to say. Among the many topics of conversation centered on which player will be backing up sixth-year quarterback Sean Clifford on Thursday night against Purdue. Franklin dropped the update in the middle of answering one of the questions thrown his way during his Monday press conference, naming star freshman Drew Allar as the first backup to Clifford.
“Drew Allar is our backup quarterback for week one,” Franklin said. “That’s not a set-in-stone thing for the entire year. That will continue to be a competition and fluid. But Drew Allar is the backup quarterback.”
Allar now sits ahead of sophomore Christian Veilleux as Penn State makes its final preparations for the road game at Purdue this week. Veilleux moved his way up the quarterback depth chart as the season progressed last season. Veilleux filled in for a banged-up Clifford in a November game against Rutgers but was not used in an early October loss at Iowa under a similar situation. Instead, Ta’Quan Roberson got the nod at Iowa, and Penn State’s offense failed to do anything in the fallout.
But as Franklin noted, Allar isn’t necessarily set in stone as the backup option for Clifford this season, although whether or not Veilleux gets another opportunity will remain to be seen. For now, Franklin and the staff are comfortable calling on the true freshman if needed this week.
“Because when we take all of the information, coaches’ opinion, based on their gut and experience, data from everything that we keep track of, that we feel like Drew has earned that opportunity in week one,” Franklin later explained. “Obviously, they are tough conversations to have. We sat down with everybody and did it with each one of the quarterbacks, met with them one-on-one, and communicated how and why.”
Allar was one of the key recruits in Penn State’s loaded Class of 2022. Named Mr. Football in the state of Ohio, Allar accepted an invitation to play in the 2022 Adidas All-America Bowl and participated in the Elite 11. Allar was also named the Offensive Player of the Year in the state of Ohio among his many honors from a decorated high school career.
Quotes courtesy of Penn State Athletics.
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