Penn State Football 2017 Player Profile: Quarterback Trace McSorley

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02: Quarterback Trace McSorley
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02: Quarterback Trace McSorley /

Trace McSorley is one of the top quarterbacks in FBS heading into the new season. 

After serving as the backup to Christian Hackenberg in 2015, there was hope that Trace McSorley would be able to do a solid job as the starter in 2016. It’s safe to say that he not only met, but far exceeded expectations for his first season as the starter at Penn State.

When Hackenberg was injured in the TaxSlayer Bowl, the final game of his collegiate career, McSorley stepped in and showed flashes of what he could do. In nearly three quarters of action he competed 14-of-27 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns. The youngster nearly led the Nittany Lions to an improbable comeback against Georgia, but fell just short.

That performance in the TaxSlayer Bowl, along with his progression during practice earned McSorley the starting job coming out of camp last year. He was fortunate enough to stay healthy and started all 14 games for the Nittany Lions.

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McSorley was plagued early in the year with interceptions and turnovers, but was able to fix that problem midway through the season. He had three lost fumbles and three interceptions in the first four games, but had no more fumbles and just two interceptions the rest of the regular season. He did,however, have a fumble in the Big Ten Championship and three interceptions in the Rose Bowl.

The Nittany Lion offense, under new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, took a while to get cranked up, but once it did it became one of the top offenses in college football. McSorley’s numbers at the end of the year were mind-boggling.

He led all of FBS with an average of 16.13 yards per completion and led the Big Ten in total offense per game with an average of 284.2 yards. His 29 touchdown passes led the conference and put him No. 18 in the FBS. McSorley finished the season with 3,614 passing yards, the best number in the Big Ten and No.13 in FBS.

Aside from just making big plays with his arm, McSorley used his running ability to bring an added dimension to Penn State’s offense. He finished 2016 with 365 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.

Not surprisingly, McSorley earned an impressive list of recognitions for his efforts a season ago. There are too many to name, but he was given a spot on the All-Big Ten second team and was awarded the distinction of MVP for his four-touchdown effort in the Big Ten Championship.

With McSorley, and fellow star, running back Saquon Barkley, Penn State will boast a very prolific offense heading into the 2017 season. With most states back, particularly on the offensive line, look for McSorley to build on last year and once again put up some big numbers in the Penn State offense.