James Franklin and the Penn State Nittany Lions are in rare territory heading into the 2019 season. The team has yet to determine a starting quarterback who will lead the team this year.
Speaking to the media this week, Franklin still would not name a starting between Sean Clifford and Will Levis. But he did outline what he’s looking for in his would-be starter.
Per StateCollege.com, he said he wants a quarterback who knows what play to run in situational downs without having to think about it. He wants someone who demonstrates great anticipation as well.
“You want to get to the point where you know the play without even thinking about it, you can identify the defense and have a really good awareness in what the situation is. To me that’s the big step, there is the one step when the game slows down for you and you can start to anticipate what the defense is going to do and the next step in the development is really understanding situational football and really how to manage it.”
Tommy Stevens was believed to be the frontrunner for the job after Trace McSorley graduated. But he ultimately stunned the team by entering the transfer portal and moving to Mississippi State.
His departure left Sean Clifford as the then-likely starter, but he hasn’t yet separated himself from Will Levis.
In Franklin’s five seasons as Penn State, he’s had the luxury of only needing to play two starting quarterbacks – McSorley and Christian Hackenberg. Both of them had been recruited to the school before he even got there.
Franklin’s choice of a quarterback in 2019 might set the tone for the next few seasons.