Take a step back in time, if you will. It was January, 2010 and Penn State was just returning from Pasadena, following a loss to USC in the Rose Bowl. Fresh off of news that backup QB Pat Devlin would be transferring, the future at quarterback was foggy, at best. Daryll Clark had another year of eligibility left, but the cabinet behind him was extremely bare.
Then along came Kevin Newsome. One of the top dual threat quarterback prospects in the country, who held offers from schools all over, had noticed the situation at Penn State. Originally planning on attending Michigan, the door had opened at Penn State for a player to come in behind Clark and spend a year learning the Spread HD which he flourished in, before taking over as a three-year starter.
Newsome signed with Penn State on signing day and the future was set in motion. Newsome backed Clark up in 2009, playing mostly in garbage time, completing 8 of 11 passes for 66 yards while gaining valuable experience.
In the meantime, other quarterback recruits took notice. Following the 2009 season, Penn State landed commitments from blue chippers Rob Bolden and Paul Jones. Bolden was one of the top “dual threat” quarterback prospects in the country, while Jones was a top ten “pro-style” quarterback and one of the top in-state prospects. The opportunity to compete for a starting job immediately was enticing to the young signal callers.
In just a year, the quarterback depth chart had gone from incomplete to full of potential. The loss of Pat Devlin all of a sudden looked like a godsend with these three young men set as the future of Penn State football. In the Spring game, early-enrolee Paul Jones stole the show, tossing the only two touchdowns of the game. Still, fans expected the most likely starter to be the lone returner, Kevin Newsome.
Then Rob Bolden got on campus.
The true freshman arrived and immediately began drawing high praise from onlookers. With the least amount of time on campus, the Michigan native beat out both Newsome and Jones to start on opening day when YSU came to town in 2010. That was such a bright day in the future of Penn State football and it’s quarterback position. Paul Jones would redshirt that year as he worked on getting accustomed to handling the combination of collegiate athletics, along with the classroom aspect. Newsome was listed on the depth chart as the backup to Bolden.
That depth chart wasn’t entirely honest.
When Rob Bolden went down against Minnesota, it was a former walk-on quarterback, Matt McGloin, who replaced him in the victory. All of a sudden, the situation became confusing. With a stable of highly recruited quarterbacks on the roster, a guy who held no division=one scholarship offers out of high school was starting for the Nittany Lions.
In January of his freshman season, Rob Bolden wanted to transfer. Just months after being the first freshman to start the season at quarterback in 100 years at Penn State, Bolden wanted out.