With the transfer of veteran Tommy Stevens to Mississippi State, Sean Clifford is the de facto starting quarterback for Penn State. James Franklin won’t announce it quite yet, but expect him to be QB1 for Week 1.
Clifford has been described as a more quiet guy by his teammates to this point. That may be changing now as his role becomes more clear.
Star linebacker Micah Parsons recently spoke to the media about a big moment in which Clifford demonstrated his leadership. Back in April, the team was admittedly taken aback by Stevens’ decision to leave.
Parsons says that Sean Clifford addressed the team, and assured them that the quarterback situation was taken care of, after Stevens’ transfer.
Parsons said that the moment was movie-like, and that the entire team was impressed with Clifford in that moment.
“After Tommy left, we were all in a team meeting,’’ said Parsons, the Lions’ 6-3, 243-pound sophomore linebacker, during a Wednesday media availability.
“(Clifford) stood up and all he said (was), ‘There will be no drop-off in the QB position’.
“So, him doing (that), it was almost like a movie of that leader that just rose to the occasion. … He promised the team in front of everybody. Everybody just rallied to him.”
Clifford has huge shoes to fill, stepping in for starter Trace McSorley, one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in Penn State history. Parsons said that this was a McSorley-esque moment for Clifford, and that the team’s rallied behind him.
“It was one of those special moments where, it was like, ‘It’s go time’, ’’ Parsons said after Clifford spoke to the team.
“He’s always been kinda like quiet. … He’s never done that because, obviously, we had Trace. Trace was always that guy to do that. But in that moment, (Clifford) stepped into the role of, ‘I’m going to be that guy for us’.
“I was like, ‘I respect that’. How many people do that?”
During quarterback battles, coaches often talk about the need for one player to “win the team.” It looks like Clifford is doing just that.