Home Illustration Who will be Penn State’s starting quarterback in 2022?

Who will be Penn State’s starting quarterback in 2022?

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Penn State enters the 2022 season with its most intriguing quarterback room under head coach James Franklin. Sean Clifford returns for his sixth season, surrounded by three gifted freshmen, two of whom signed up in January.

Franklin understands the perception that top quarterback rookies don’t sign up early just to bide their time on the scouting team. However, that also doesn’t mean they’ll be ready to bump a potential fourth-year starter.

“Is that realistic? Probably not,” Franklin said, when asked if a real freshman could earn the starting role this season. “But I think [the competition is] it’s going to be good.”

Redshirt freshman Christian Veilleux and real freshmen Drew Allar and Beau Pribula began spring drills by shuffling them to see who Clifford’s No. 2 could be. In the team’s first spring training session, the first rotation was Clifford, Veilleux, Allar, Pribula.

That rotation behind Clifford could definitely change during spring training and training camp, as true freshmen take more reps and become more comfortable on the offense. Still, Franklin made it clear that it was Clifford’s offense.

“The second year with [offensive coordinator Mike] Yurcich and cleaning up some things that we wish we had done better last year, as well as taking the next step in general from an offensive perspective,” Franklin said before the team began spring drills on March 21. “I know Sean is pretty excited about this.”

Franklin said he appreciates that fans are interested in young quarterbacks. They’re the most exciting duo Franklin has brought to Penn State. Allar, who was voted Ohio’s Mr. Football, is the highest-ranked quarterback Franklin has signed. He is the “cornerstone” of Penn State’s recruiting class of 2022, according to John Garcia, Jr., Sports Illustrated’s recruiting director.

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Pribula, meanwhile, is a former Pennsylvania Player of the Year in the state’s highest ranking who got his teammates noticed during winter practices.

“People are going to talk about what they want to talk about, and obviously when you recruit well there’s excitement, which there should be,” Franklin said. “So I think that’s positive. I also think the competition is going to bring out the best in everyone. I think that’s going to be a very important part of that.

“Internally we want that. We want that type of competition. The external things that we can’t control. … But I think the competition, Sean embraces it. I think Veilleux embraces it. I think we we’ve all seen Veilleux come into a game last year and play at a really high level and then we have two young kids who have done great things throughout their careers and put themselves in a position to come to a place like Penn State and compete.

“We’ll see how it goes. I’ll probably feel better after practice six or seven. But obviously depending on how we recruited them and what tools they have, there’s something to be excited about. And whether it’s in the future or whether it’s sooner is still to be determined.”

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AllPennState is the place for Penn State news, views and insights on the SI.com Network. Editor Mark Wogenrich covered Penn State for more than 20 years, tracking three coaching teams, three Big Ten titles and a catalog of great stories. Follow him on Twitter @MarkWogenrich. And remember to subscribe (button on the home page) for more quality content on the SI.com network.