Oct 30, 2010; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Matt McGloin (11) passes the ball under pressure from Michigan Wolverines defensive end Ryan Van Bergen (53) in the first quarter at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Michigan 41-31. Mandatory Credit: Rob Christy-US PRESSWIRE

Penn State's Quarterback Preview (Part II): Matt McGloin

Nov 26, 2011; Madison, WI, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Matt McGloin (11) before the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-US PRESSWIRE

This is part II of the VBR Penn State Quarterback Preview.   This post analyzes Matt McGloin’s skill set and his chances at landing the starting spot in O’Brien’s new offense.   In my next few posts, I will analyze the remainder of the quarterbacks on Penn State’s depth chart (and those who may be on it very soon).   To see a general overview of Penn State’s quarterback situation, see Penn State’s Quarterback Preview (Part I).

Background Information

Matt McGloin is a fifth year senior at Penn State majoring in communications.

McGloin played his high school ball for the West Scranton Invaders in northeast Pennsylvania.  He amassed 5,485 yards and 58 touchdowns over his three year career as starter for the Invaders.  McGloin, along with his high school teammates, Eric Shrive (current OL for the Nittany Lions and former four-star recruit) and Hubie Graham (starting Tight End for the Pitt Panthers), were able to lead the West Scranton Invaders to a few deep runs at the State title.

Unlike other All-State quarterbacks, McGloin did not receive a Division 1A scholarship offer.  McGloin did, however, receive plenty of attention from Division 1AA schools and could have accepted a full scholarship to schools such as Lehigh University, receive a top notch education, and have no student loans to pay back when he graduated.  Instead, McGloin took a chance.  He believed in himself and made a decision that many questioned.  McGloin decided to become a preferred walk-on for the Nittany Lions.

Well, that risk certainly paid off, as he was offered a scholarship after only one year in a Nittany Lion uniform.  Despite having to overcome the adverse perceptions that often comes along with being a walk-on, Matt impressed his coaches and his teammates in his first two seasons and put himself in a position to earn the starting job going into his red-shirt sophomore year.  Leading up to the 2010 season, Matt was the projected starter.  But, one day before Penn State’s opening game against Youngstown State, it was announced that Rob Bolden would start rather than McGloin.

But, that would not be the last time we would see Matt McGloin.  A few weeks later, a Bolden concussion gave Matt the chance he needed to show the world that he was for real.  He did just that by tossing two touchdown passes and leading the Lions to a victory over the Golden Gophers.  In addition, only one week later, with a win over Michigan, McGloin was able to show (and tell) Kirk Herbstreit and the rest of the Gameday staff, that he was not to be ignored.

Performance and Statistics

In his junior season, McGloin threw for 1571 yards, 8 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, and completed 54.1% of his passes.

In only 7 of 13 games of his sophomore season, McGloin threw for 1548 yards, 14 touchdowns, 9 interceptions, and completed 54.9% of his passes.   Take those stats and project them to a full 13 game season, McGloin was on pace to throw for 2875 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions.   These numbers are akin to the Daryll Clark’s best season as a Nittany lion, where in 2009, he threw for 3003 yards and tossed 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.  Pretty impressive.

The big concern I have with McGloin’s statistics through two years is the low completion percentage.  McGloin will need to work hard to get his completion percentage over 60% in order to ensure that our offense will be able to sustain long drives that end in touchdowns, rather than field goals.

McGloin has even been able set some records since he has set foot on campus.  First, by merely earning the starting job, Matt became the first former walk-on to start at quarterback for the Nittany Lions.  Matt is also the only quarterback in Penn State history to throw for 300 yards in back to back games, an accomplishment that Kerry Collins, Todd Blackledge, Michael Robinson, and Daryl Clark were not able to do in their tenure with the Lions.

Tangible and Intangible Attributes

Despite being undersized, McGloin brings many tangible and intangible attributes to Penn State’s offense.  First, McGloin has a strong arm.  Many people mistakenly underestimate McGloin’s arm.  But, Matty can really sling it.  He can make all the throws, sideline comebacks or outs, throws into tight spots down the middle of field, and deep over the shoulder throws.  There isn’t a throw in the playbook that McGloin cannot execute.  Second, McGloin has a quick release.  He gets the ball out of his hands quickly, which prevents the opposing secondary from anticipating where he is going with the ball.  Moreover, his quick release allows him to avoid being sacked.  Third, McGloin is a very accurate passer.  As long as he maintains his normally good mechanics, which started to stray a bit at the end of the season last year, he puts the ball on the money.  Fourth, McGloin has exceptional pocket-presence and elusiveness within the pocket.  McGloin has an uncanny ability to move defenders with subtle head nods, pump fakes, and foot placements, which buy him just enough time to deliver a strike down field.  Finally, McGloin is a leader.  He refuses to admit defeat and always believes that he and his teammates will be victorious.  McGloin’s leadership and confidence is infectious and can inspire a huddle to play beyond themselves.


Overall, McGloin’s experience, determination, grit, pocket-presence, decision-making, and underrated athletic ability make McGloin an appealing option for quarterback this season.  When all is said and done, I believe McGloin will be our starter heading into Penn State’s first game against Ohio.

Some may be skeptical of McGloin’s abilities and unsure whether he can lead Penn State to a Big Ten title and BCS appearance.  Some believe that one of the other quarterback’s on Penn State’s depth chart should be the starter for Penn State this upcoming season.

These doubts are not anything new for McGloin.  He has heard this type of stuff his entire career.  These doubts do not deter him or frustrate him.  They fuel him.  They drive him.  Thus far, McGloin has been able to consistently prove his doubters wrong.

So, do you really want to bet against him?  I know I don’t.

For the latest on the Penn State Nittany Lions, follow VBR Staff Writer, Chris Chuff on Twitter.

Does Matt McGloin have what it takes to lead Bill O'Brien's Nittany Lions? photo by Mary Langenfeld-US PRESSWIRE


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