Not every quarterback in the portal is a fit for Penn State Football

LSU Tigers quarterback TJ Finley (Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports)
LSU Tigers quarterback TJ Finley (Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports) /

Penn State Football currently only has three scholarship quarterbacks on their roster but not every quarterback who enters the portal is a potential target for the Nittany Lions 

As head coach James Franklin accurately predicted their has been a wave of activity in the transfer portal post spring practice, and an intriguing name popped up yesterday in LSU quarterback TJ Finley.

The six-foot-six and 242 pound Finley played in five games in last year’s disappointing season for the LSU Tigers, throwing for 941 yards with five touchdowns and five interceptions. The freshman was eventually replaced by Max Johnson who played well and orchestrated the teams upset victory over the Florida Gators.

The former three-star recruit out of Ponchatoula High School in Louisiana is a raw talent who many figured who be a factor the three way quarterback battle for the Tigers this offseason with Johnson and last years opening day starter Myles Brennan, however it seems Finley must have fallen to the way side of that fight through spring practice.

Penn State Football has held back no punches that they are in the market for a quarterback this offseason, not even so much for someone who can come in and push Sean Clifford as the starter, but provide valuable depth as they have only three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster. Two of which have never completed a pass at the collegiate level in Ta’Quan Roberson and freshman Christian Veilleux.

Franklin has made it clear though however that they will not add a quarterback just to add a body, it has to be the right fit for the offense and for the program. New offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich was brought to Happy Valley to be a quarterback whisperer, so could Finley make sense as a project for the Nittany Lions?

Penn State Football fans are excited about the five transfer players the team brought in this offseason, and rightfully so as they all figure to play a rather significant role in 2021, however the reality is with the portal, especially at the quarterback position, those players are on the market for a reason.

Finley has prototype size, a big arm and is full of raw talent, but is a project in every sense of the word. He will most likely find a home at another power five school, being a freshman with four years of eligibility remaining, however this is not the NFL, you can not take a flyer on a player on a one year deal, bringing in Finley is a commitment.

He undoubtedly wants to play at his next stop, and bringing in the former Tiger could have adverse effects on the quarterback room. What would Robersons next step be? would he then enter the transfer portal?

Finley is not the answer.

He’s also not the type of quarterback that provides stability behind Clifford is he was to suffer an injury or have to be sat down for poor play. Penn State Football needs a quarterback with experience, who would be okay with coming in and accepting that role of mentor/backup who pushed QB1 but is not going to have long term effects on the position. Especially when Penn State Football is set to bring in two quarterbacks in the 2022 class in Beau Pribula and Drew Allar.

Clifford may not be the quarterback who can lift this program to new heights (the playoffs or a national championship) but he has proven that at his best, he can have them playing with anyone. It was not long ago the Nittany Lions were 8-0 in 2019, ranked fourth in the first unveiling of the college football playoff rankings by the selection committee.

Behind him is Ta’Quan Roberson who was a highly thought of four-star recruit out of New Jersey who although has no real experience, possesses those same raw skills as Finley and untapped potential as the former Tiger, so why take a swing at a quarterback from another program when you have that or better sitting in your locker room?

It is understandable that every big name quarterback that enters the portal will draw intrigue from Penn State Football fans, especially as the hopes of the 2021 season fall on the shoulders of a quarterback who was benched in 2020.

However, the grass is not always greener on the other side, and Finley is a name to let go by and if the right fit comes available, look for Franklin to pounce, but for now the quarterback room is in better shape then some think.