Penn State Football: Way too early offensive position group rankings

Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Parker Washington (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)
Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Parker Washington (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) /
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With a ton of returning talent on that side of the ball Penn State Football is primed to be explosive offensively next season.

The snow continues to fall in the northeast as we trudge through the dog days of winter. With still over six months until we see Penn State Football back on the field, it is never too early for a way too early look at the Nittany Lions‘ offensive position groups.

Former Oklahoma State and Texas offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich will take over the play calling duties in State College, and will do so with nine offensive starters back from last season’s finale against Illinois.

Outside of tight end Pat Freiermuth, who missed the second half of the season due to a shoulder injury, all of the Niitany Lions skill position players will be back in the blue and white and if Yurcich can get the quarterback situation solidified and steadied, this could be one of head coach James Franklin‘s best offenses during his tenure in Happy Valley.

Penn State Football has also brought in two transfers on the offensive side of the ball, guard Eric Wilson and running back John Lovett who should both provide solid depth and experience at their respective positions.

Let’s take a deeper dive into positional depth charts and rank the Nittany Lions offensive position groups as they currently stand for 2021.

5) Quarterback

It is certainly less than ideal for quarterback to be ranked last on this lift for Penn State Football headed into a crucial 2021 season.

With the inconsistent play at times from Sean Clifford, especially early in the season which led to him being benched, and the simple fact that they currently only have three scholarship quarterback son the roster, it is hard to have this group any higher.

Clifford showed marked improvement over the final four games of the season, a big part of why Franklin’s squad ended the year on a four game winning streak. He was much sharper and made quick decisions with the ball and stopped turning it over at the rate he was through the first four games, looking much more like the quarterback we saw in 2019 that led them to an 11-2 season and a Cotton Bowl victory.

The intrigue in this offseason lies in the question of whether or not redshirt freshman quarterback Ta’Quan Roberson can steal the job away from Clifford this offseason. The former four-star recruit out of New Jersey has only attempted one pass in his collegiate career to this point, put has the upside and makeup of a quarterback that could potentially excel in Mike Yurcich’s system.

Do not expect a Joe Burrow type of leap from either quarterback in the new system, however a more spread attack with more high percentage throws could benefit a guy like Clifford who is good at getting the ball out accurately. Clifford is a good leader and is also sneaky athletic, running for over 350 yards last season.

With the transfer portal really thin on legitimate starting options, at least for the time being, Roberson and Clifford look to be the two that will battle it out over this coming spring and summer for the starting job.

Look for Clifford to have an edge just based on his experience of having started 20 games, especially with the gauntlet of an early season schedule awaiting Penn State Football in September.