Our look at Penn State players f04 2014 continues today with backup quarterback D.J. Crook. The walk-on has been around the program for over a year, having enrolled early in 2013, but did not take a live snap during the regular season. Last season, Crook was buried on the depth chart behind Tyler Ferguson and star quarterback Christian Hackenberg.
Crook played his high school ball at Barnstable High School on Cape Code before moving to Worcester Academy for the 2012 season. He is the Massachusetts prep passing yardage leader, throwing for 8,126 yards and 77 touchdowns over his high school career.
Despite a brilliant high school career, Crook wasn’t recruited by any big-time schools and only received a scholarship offer from Holy Cross.
Although the Nittany Lions are set at the starting quarterback position, things are a bit unclear when it comes to who will be the backup this season. Currently there are only three quarterbacks on the roster: Hackenberg, Crook and true freshman Michael O’Connor. Trace McSorley will join the team this summer.
It’s expected that O’Connor, a highly-recruited freshman, will be given a redshirt in order to save a year of eligibility for when Hackenberg is gone. That leaves Crook and McSorley to battle for the backup spot. I expect McSorley to win that battle, but look for Crook to compete over the summer and make the decision difficult for the coaching staff.
While the quarterback position at Penn State clearly belongs to Hackenberg, it’s also important to have a backup at the ready who knows the team and is able to come in and provide production. Crook will be given a shot to compete to be the backup and will want to make the most of his opportunity.